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Caste and Patriarchy

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Priyanka Sisodiya

Write a brief essay on the interaction between caste and patriarchy in India.

A khap panchayat in Haryana ‘declares’ that mobilization of women(of a particular age gap) should be monitored(in reality restricted). Marriage by choice or outside one’s caste or inside one’s gotra is forbidden and those who challenge it, become a story in themselves. Young girls(at few incidents boys too) fall prey to moral policing. A high court judge asks the ‘wives’ to learn to adjust. In spite of abolition of caste in public life, manual scavenging is practiced by the untouchable caste(but of course , most of us will refer to it, an activity by “free will”. These examples are just a few from the never ending list. All these examples, focus on two major identities of an Indian- caste and gender. On of the most fascinating adjectives given to these identities is what is called ‘natural’ or simply acquired by birth. The moment one attaches the word natural to it, it appears inevitable and beyond human reach. In colonial India the naturallity of these institutions, especially caste was challenged by many thinkers. Every layer of caste system came under scrutiny. But unlike these thinkers, our nationalist leaders were ashamed and uncomfortable of discussing on these ‘not so important issue of caste and gender’. Though Gandhi , did acknowledge the various faults of the ongoing caste system (e.g. untouchability), but he never accepted the eradication of it, rather he was a believer of the ‘vedic’ caste system. It was Ambedker, who brought the caste argument in relation with many other socio-economic-cultural identities. For Ambedker caste was a lens to see the more precise and accurate nature of Indian society. So, as he and many thinkers who proceeded him, made it very clear that caste was nothing but a human creation (brahmanical creation to be specific, though word human could be used, as the lower caste was considered non human by the producers of caste), so...

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