chapter  7
Different Dalit women speak differently
Unravelling, through an intersectional lens, narratives of agency and activism from everyday life in rural Uttar Pradesh
ByRadhika Govinda
Pages 28

This chapter unravels narratives of agency and activism from the everyday lives of ex-untouchable women in rural Uttar Pradesh (UP) with this aim, and explores whether the category of 'Dalit women' might be passe as Ciotti has suggested. It offers author's reflections on political category of 'Dalit woman'. In order to effectively raise awareness about their 'Dalit identity' among the ex-untouchable women whom Vimukt Mahila Samuh (VMS) mobilised and to carry out work on caste/religious harmony by mobilising Muslims, it was decided at the review that henceforth the organisation would only hire employees from ex-untouchable and Muslim backgrounds. VMS's activist ex-untouchable women are proud of their new-found subjectivity as 'Dalit women activists'. But they speak openly of their sense of inferiority in relation to their higher-caste colleagues and critique the negative stereotypes they encounter in their work life. The chapter examines narratives of ex-untouchable women who stand on the cusp of Dalit social activism as well as Dalit electoral politics.