Caste(ing) Bodies And Desires Of The Oppressed

Queerness of a Dalit body, manifestations of such are many- a body that tills the land, a body that cleans, a body that sweeps, a body that tempts, a body that feeds, a body that ruptures, body that swears, a body that’s forbidden, bodies that are murdered.

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To talk about desires of an ‘untouchable’, a Dalit, a body of the ‘margins’, an outcaste…A point of rupture- to transcend and transpire… What are the desires of one that’s not considered ‘worth’ a touch?

Dark, dirty, sweaty, smelly, muddy, greasy, broken, stereotypes, stereotypes, stereotypical…

…What is the desire of a body that’s fetishized, exposed to violence, subjugated, discriminated, violated, oppressed- Lynched? The body of ‘sins’- exposure of which, make other bodies cringe…

The “impure”

How is the body of Dalits? Body viewed by self, body peered by others? Single body, collective bodies, a body within a body, bodies of ancestors, bodies of future, bodies that are denied the present. Body of a mind, insane body, body that’s wise, body that knows, ignorant body, body with shades, body that’s pale..

Body of Dalit infant? Dalit young boys and girls? Dalit women’s? Dalit men’s? Dalit queer’s? Of the dead?

Queerness of a Dalit body, manifestations of such are many- a body that tills the land, a body that  cleans, a body that sweeps, a body that tempts, a body that feeds, a body that ruptures, body that  swears, a body that’s forbidden, bodies that are murdered… A body as a marker, body, merely as a body. Genitalia without the body, body without senses, body without dreams, body that’s empty, challenged body, submissive bodies, aggressive bodies, dark bodies, bodies with stench, bodies that are raped, bodies that are hung, bodies that are avenged, bodies with fire, warm bodies, cold bodies, bodies that chills, body without fire, body with darkness, trapped bodies…

Body that fights, body that cries, scared body, stunned body, body that violates, body in control, body that controls, soft, vulnerable, body in love, harsh, rough, lustful body, body that predates, body on hunt, body that waits…

To articulate experientiality of a body that’s desired- sadistically, masochistically, voyeuristically, shunned, cramped, tied, in shackles, a body that has broken all the chains? Body at a receiving end, a site, body as an event, body as a moment. Erotic body, body that loves, body that hurts, body that pleases, satisfied body. Body that craves, body in embrace, body in pleasure, body devoid of basics, exotic body, mysterious body, stunted body, skinny body, body without bones, body that’s loathed…

…Bodies as history, bodies as geography.. bodies that are studied, bodies that are celebrated, bodies that are written about, bodies that are delved upon…

Lynched, sold, bought, enslaved, bonded, beaten, caressed, penetrated, made love to, subjective bodies, detached, unspoken, distanced bodies. Bodies. Bodies. Bodies…

A paragraph from this piece has been published in ‘Break the Silence’, by Rights Collective UK and can be accessed here.

About the author

Jyotsna Siddharth

Jyotsna Siddharth is an actor, anti-caste activist and writer based in Delhi. She is a founder of Project Anti-Caste, Love and Co-founder of Sive. She has conducted workshops with colleges in Universities in India on Questions of Social Identities in Romantic Relationships. She has a Masters in Development and Social Anthropology from School of Oriental and African Studies and a recipient of Chevening Scholarship (2014).
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