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Title: ‘Your Mother, You Bury Her’: Caste, carcass and politics in contemporary India
Authors: Kapoor, Shivani
Keywords: Caste; cow; animal bodies; India
Issue Date: Nov-2018
Publisher: Indiana University Press
Citation: Kapoor, Shivani (2018) ‘Your Mother, You Bury Her’: Caste, carcass and politics in contemporary India. Pakistan Journal of Historical Studies , Vol. 3, No. 1, Animals Without Borders 5-30
Abstract: The paper examines a single moment of defiance by the lower-caste leatherworking castes against the violence perpetuated against them by the Hindu Right groups in India on charges of killing and consuming the holy cow. The paper argues that when these lower-caste groups deliberately threw cattle carcasses into the public, instead of ‘cleaning’ them up as ritually required, they inaugurated the carcass as a political subject. In constituting itself around death, the animal carcass complicates the idea of the sacred animal put forth by the Hindu Right, thereby introducing a distinct kind of affect into the political public—the affect of rot and decay. By throwing these carcasses out from the slaughterhouses, abbatoirs and tanneries into the full public sensorium, the leatherworking castes introduce caste, with all its sights, tastes and odours, into the political public. The paper thus argues for considering the carcass as a specific kind of malodourous political subject.
Appears in Collections:JGU Research Publications

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