chapter  6
Rethinking Agency, Re-signifying Resistance
Pages 18

In this chapter I will analyse an exorcism narrative with a focus on the issue of resistance. In this story jesus exorcises a man who is possessed by a demon identified as Legion. Though the selected exorcism account appears in slightly different forms in all the three synoptic gospels (Matthew 8:28-33, Mark 5:120 and Luke 8:26-39), I will focus predominantly on the Markan version of the exorcism in this chapter. Similarities exist between the Markan and the Lucan texts, except that Mark additionally identifies the area as the Decapolis (ten cities). Matthew differs from both Mark and Luke. There is no mention of ‘Legion’ in the comparatively shorter and less vivid Matthean version of the exorcism, where two demoniacs are mentioned and the country of the Gadarenes is identified as the locale for the exorcism. The story helps us to focus on the issues of Dalit agency and resistance, both of which are related to the form of Dalit praxis. It especially helps us to illuminate the Dalit context of resistance and engage with issues which are of relevance to Dalit theology and praxis, like a) the role of symbolic resistance in Dalit struggles and the issue of translation of ‘symbolic resistance’ to pragmatic political action, b) the issue of ‘collaboration’ and ‘collusion’ with the oppressors, which is a big impediment for Dalit emancipation, and c) opposition to the assertive and resistive strategies of the Dalits.