Ok, y’all know it’s been a while. In my defence, I’ve been working on a massive two-parter on Dalit Feminism & this is the first half!
Admin note: The audio of this ep is a little funky in some places (&, yes, we’re working on it) so consider yourselves warned!
In this edition, I talk to researcher, professor and writer Vijeta Kumar, who is just as delightful and wise as her wonderful essays & writing. Her blog Rum Lola Rum & her column for @thirdeyesocial reveal a passionate, principled & extremely talented artist that you all should read! We talk about art, about process and purpose and what it means to be an artist in these times and in this life. Because, after all, what is liberation work but the construction of new worlds, new ways of being & connection with one another?
While Vijeta’s name is the one that appears on the episode ft., throughout this 50+ min exploration of Dalit Feminism, we’re gonna hear from a multitude of Bahujan women and non-binary people - Riya Singh, Thenmozhi Soundarajan, Sanghapali Aruna Lohitakshi, Seema Hari, Dr Roja Singh, Dr Shailaja Paik and my own sister! This really is the heart of Dalit Feminism, a multitude, diverse in thought & background, but all tilting towards collective liberation.
We also talk about the limitations and dangers of feminism of the 1% or liberal (white) feminism which at home is called savarna or sari-bindi feminism. I come from 2 Indias, you see, one full of monstrous fools & the other stocked full of cowardly hypocrites. But I digress.
I also shamelessly took the opportunity to fanboy about my recent literary obsession - Ursula Le Guin’s extraordinary writing, and casting her works in conversation with political theory has been absolutely enlightening. It has brought my own life so alive to me.
The Ambedkar text that I refer to is his The Untouchables: Who They Were & How They Became Untouchables. It’s a lucid systematic text that is ostensibly a historical exploration but in reality defies the boundaries of academic discipline and genre. Rather like Ambedkar himself.
Ultimately, Dalit Feminism is an essential lens that we all can and must use. It echoes and re-creates Ambedkar’s own politics of futurity, but you have to know where you’ve been to know where you’re going.
Expert: Vijeta Kumar
The phenomenal episode art is by my frightfully talented sister @walnutgirl03
Opening theme: @jide_oj_
Production: @cartel.contra & @sansfuccs
I pulled the Shailaja Paik lecture from a talk organised by the University of Pennsylvania's Centre of Advanced Study of India
“DOES THE WALKER CHOOSE THE PATH, OR THE PATH THE WALKER?”
- Sabriel, Garth Nix
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