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Title: A pox on your house: Exploring caste and gender in Tulsi Ram’s Murdahiya
Authors: Kapoor, Shivani
Keywords: Caste
Dalit autobiography
Issue Date: 5-Jul-2019
Publisher: Routledge, New York
Citation: Kapoor, S. (2019). A pox on your house: Exploring caste and gender in Tulsi Ram’s Murdahiya. In Judith Misrahi-Barak, K. Satyanarayana, Nicole Thiara (ed.), Dalit text aesthetics and politics re-Imagined, (pp.138-150.), New York: Routledge.
Abstract: Laura Brueck has suggested that Hindi Dalit autobiographical literature largely constructs a hegemonic ‘male, urban, middle-class Dalit identity’ through its narratives. However, Tulsi Ram’s two-volume autobiography – Murdhaiya and Manikarnika – provides us with a counterfactual to the canonical Dalit male/masculine figure. The pox-marked Tulsi Ram is certainly not a great figure for Dalit masculinity – he has been stained by the angry goddess Sitala Mata. It is this mark of the female/feminine on the autobiographical Tulsi Ram that the chapter explores. Tulsi Ram brings out beautiful affective histories of women in what would otherwise be considered a ‘male’ autobiographical narrative. In doing so, his writing raises a methodological question about writing ‘one-self’ – can a Dalit male autobiography ever have a strong female/feminine presence? Or will this presence threaten to fundamentally alter the nature of self-referential writing itself? This chapter examines Tulsi Ram’s writings in the light of these questions and seeks to interrogate the social and political mores of Dalit male/masculinity through the women of Murdhaiya. These women not only disrupt the maleness of a male Dalit autobiography but also challenge the dominant image of a rational, autonomous, coherent self, which accompanies the conventional autobiographical genre.
ISBN: 9780367149031
Appears in Collections:JGU Research Publications

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