An online forum of Dalit, Adivasi and Bahujan women seeks to challenge caste violence

As violence towards the marginalised communities continues to surge, even as the mainstream media turns an invisible and prejudiced eye, a small group of Dalit, Adivasi and Bahujan women are holding conversations to highlight, nuance and complicate the discourse.

Being conducted from an online space called ‘Savari’, the group recently launched an ‘anti-violence forum’ to “document, analyse, expose and protest” the solid relationship between caste and violence.

“Caste violence is one of the most powerful weapons with which resistance to caste is controlled and the caste order is kept in place. A caste society is a society that sanctions violence at all levels, in a top-down fashion. This sanctioned societal violence heavily impacts Adivasi, Bahujan and Dalit women, every minute and day, lasting throughout our lives and across generations,” states the forum.

While being fully aware of the vulnerability of women to caste violence, Savari acknowledges that upper caste violence impacts lower caste men, women and children unequivocally.

The forum seeks to address not only upper caste men’s violence towards Dalit, Bahujan and Adivasi men and women but also white women, or South Asian upper caste women or privileged women’s violence towards marginalised women that takes place through various forms of economic, sexual, domestic, verbal and workplace exploitations. It questions their active participation in upper caste men’s sexual abuse of Dalit and Adivasi women, as well as participation in acts of public sexual humiliation such as in witch-hunting, stripping and parading naked women.The forum intends to tackle topics of dishonour killings, caste violence directed at children in schools, links between prostitution and caste and lastly, the dominant notion of womanhood circulated by mass media, based on the social location of the upper caste woman. This marginalises and stereotypes Dalit, Adivasi and Bahujan women, thereby de-legitmising them as women and legitimising all sorts of violence on them.

The mission statement of the forum is an evolving document and is expected to be supported by various formats of poetry, prose, plays, fact-finding statements, analyses of news reports, audio and video productions and reproduction of conversations in the social media, on the website.

Guided by gender justice and anti-caste perspectives, the name ‘Savari’ has been “inspired by our foremothers, the free spirited, knowledge bearing, community healers of the Saura people.” It invites responsible and aware conversations that go towards building an equal world.

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