From Individuality to Universality: A Critical Exposition of ‘Self’ of Women in Dalit Movement and Literature in India
Keywords:Dalit Women, Selfhood, Individuality, Universality, Intersectional Feminism, Subaltern Studies, Collective Consciousness, Autobiographies, Patriarchy, Caste System, Human Rights Discourse, Social Justice, Marginalized Narratives, Gender-Class-Caste Intersectionality, Global Feminist Movements
This scholarly research article delves into the conceptualization of ‘Self’ of women in the Dalit movement and literature in India, providing a critical analysis that bridges the gap between individuality and universality. It initiates a discourse on the often-overlooked narrative of Dalit women in a predominantly patriarchal and caste-dominated society, underscoring the experiences they encapsulate, extending from personal narratives to shared universality. Through the examination of an assortment of primary sources, including autobiographies, literary texts, speeches, and interviews of Dalit women, this study unveils the complexities in their identities, informed by the intersection of caste, gender, and class. It further explores how these experiences, entrenched in oppression and resistance, shape the ‘Self’ and communal identity of Dalit women. The article advances a unique theoretical framework that combines intersectional feminism and subaltern studies to decipher the nuances of Dalit women’s selfhood. The framework enables a systematic exploration of the convergences and divergences in the perception of ‘Self’ amongst Dalit women, aiding in the understanding of their position within the wider socio-political discourse. In unearthing the shared collective consciousness arising from individual struggles, the research sheds light on the universality of Dalit women’s experiences. Simultaneously, it exposes the evolution of the Dalit women’s movement from a regional force to a global voice, forging an essential link between local experiences and universal human rights discourses. This study conclusively asserts the need for broader recognition and comprehension of Dalit women’s narratives, not as a marginal story but as a central one that intersects with various global feminist and human rights movements. It proposes that the understanding of Dalit women’s ‘Self’ is pivotal in moving towards an inclusive and equitable society, thereby contributing to a more comprehensive understanding of social justice in India and beyond.
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