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After the murder of a young Dalit man, Pranay in Miryalaguda, there emerges another horrific attempted murder by a father in Hyderabad trying to kill his own daughter for marrying outside their caste.
After the murder of a young Dalit man, Pranay in Miryalaguda, there emerges another horrific attempted murder by a father in Hyderabad.
Madhavi, a young woman in Hyderabad, battles for life in hospital after her father tried to kill his own daughter. Her ‘crime’? Marrying outside the caste.
The reality is that most Indians still hold deep-rooted notions of caste and superiority. The marriage of an upper-caste woman to a Dalit man in particular, is seen as ‘our girls’ being taken away outside the fold.
Children, and girl children especially are seen as the ‘property’ of their parents. So a girl daring to choose her own boyfriend or spouse is in itself a matter of shame to many. If she does, the expectation is that she should choose someone within the comfortable boundaries of caste, language, class…
The woman who goes outside of these boundaries is considered shameless, and ‘ungrateful’ to the parents who raised her – as though any child asked to be born and as if the only reason for parents to raise a child well is to receive a dividend in the form of unquestioned obedience.
No matter how we try to hide this ugliness (how often do you hear, “Caste doesn’t matter anymore!” “No one knows your caste in urban India”), the reality is that it does. Many of us who read the news about these horrifying murders sit smug, thinking of how ‘broad-minded’ we are, how not casteist, but the reality is there is plenty of caste in our own families and neighbourhoods which we ignore. We continue to excuse casteist behaviour like using separate utensils for ‘those people’, using words like hygiene and safety. We are comfortable with ‘those people’ cleaning our homes and the very utensils we eat from, but will not offer them the same.
We are comfortable with people from some communities doing manual scavenging work and dying for it. It doesn’t bother us, and we don’t even see its relationship to caste – how deeply entrenched in India is the relationship between caste and physically dangerous or dirty work.
The one thing most upper caste people have internalised – is the dirty bit; that castes lower down on the hierarchy than us, and in particular Dalit castes – are deeply inferior to ‘people like us’ and that intimate contact with them, like in the case of marriage, will demean us. It’s not just inter-caste marriage that is still a problem in India, but in particular, inter-caste marriages that involve a person from a Dalit community.
So much so, that a father would rather see his daughter dead, than married to a Dalit man. That he would rather kill his daughter’s husband and leave her soon to be born child without a father, than call a Dalit man his son-in-law.
Every day, the price of this deep-rooted hatred we carry is high, and as always, it continues to be paid mostly by Dalits, by young people, by those without power.
Image Source – TOI Video
Founder & Chief Editor of Women's Web, Aparna believes in the power of ideas and conversations to create change. She has been writing since she was ten. In another life, she used to be read more...
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Rajshri Deshpande, who played the fiery protagonist in Trial by Fire along with Abhay Deol speaks of her journey and her social work.
Rajshri Deshpande as the protagonist in ‘Trial by Fire’, the recent Netflix show has received raving reviews along with the show itself for its sensitive portrayal of the Uphaar Cinema Hall fire tragedy, 1997 and its aftermath.
The limited series is based on the book by the same name written by Neelam and Shekhar Krishnamoorthy, who lost both their children in the tragedy. We got an opportunity to interview Rajshri Deshpande who played Neelam Krishnamoorthy, the woman who has been relentlessly crusading in the court for holding the owners responsible for the sheer negligence.
Rajshri Deshpande is more than an actor. She is also a social warrior, the rare celebrity from the film industry who has also gone back to her roots to give to poverty struck farming villages in her native Marathwada, with her NGO Nabhangan Foundation. Of course a chance to speak with her one on one was a must!
“What is a woman’s job, Ramesh? Taking care of parents-in-law, husband, children, home and things at work—all at the same time? She isn’t God or a superhuman."
The arrays of workstations were occupied by people peering into their computer screens. The clicks of keyboard keys were punctuated by the occasional footsteps moving around to brainstorm or collaborate with colleagues in their cubicles. Most employees went about their tasks without looking at the person seated on either side of their workstation. Meenakshi was one of them.
The thirty-one-year-old marketing manager in a leading eCommerce company in India sat straight in her seat, her eyes on the screen, her fingers punching furiously into the keys. She was in a flow and wanted to finish the report while the thoughts and words were coming effortlessly into her mind.
Natu-Natu. The mellifluous ringtone interrupted her thoughts. She frowned at her mobile phone with half a mind to keep it ringing until she noticed the caller’s name on the screen, making her pick up the phone immediately.
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