Now the Powerless Speaks: A Study of Bama’s Sangati and Baby Kamble’s ‘The Prisons We Broke’ From a Dalit Feminist Standpoint


In context of the powerful and the powerless in the social formation of India, caste system has been a matter of immense debate and discussion. Continuing for centuries, (presumably from the time of the Aryan invasion) caste system has been a parasitical condition prevailing, thriving and continually reforming, throughout India. Being an Indian one cannot but face its grips from the birth. Moreover, due to the recent phenomenon of reservation on the basis of caste categories, huge debates have erupted more frequently than before. The conference aims to explore why and how the vast networks of power relations get formed into various institutions of state, legislature and religion, and affect the society. But at the wake of the growing influence of dalit studies we need to look at those who are at the lowest stratum of the society. Our perspective therefore calls for a representational analysis from the standpoint of the lower caste people who get affected by the ‘power’ the most. For this paper, I have chosen Bama’s Sangati and Baby Kamble’s The Prisons We Broke, two seminal novels written by dalit women writers, in order to discuss whether and how dalit women are affected by the power dynamics functioning not only through the upper caste people (both men and women) but also through lower caste men. This paper, thus, would aim to explore different but intersecting power structures that affect dalit women and how they respond to these atrocities through their writings.

Author Information
Anandita Pan, Indian Institute of Technology, India

Paper Information
Conference: ACAS2015
Stream: Indian and South Asian Studies

This paper is part of the ACAS2015 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon