Title: Mapping Margins within Margins: Engendered Minorities in Mahasweta Devi's Shanichari and Dharmabhai Shrimali's The Hell


Neha Purohit

Department of English, Swami Keshvanand Institute of Technology, Management & Gramothan Jaipur-302017, (INDIA)

Pages: 89-91


The neologism 'Kyriarchy' and the feminist sociological theory of intersectionality envisage the notions of gender, race, class, disability and other axes of identity as intersecting frames of marginalization, often operating on simultaneous terrains and thus contributing to systematic social hierarchies. The socio-cultural matrix of oppression confirms the presence of a multilayered and multidimensional frame for defining the social order. The notions of gender and caste, in particular, seem to uphold a shared space when analyzed through the lens of the hegemonic powers, but intersect each other when investigated individually as there are margins within margins. In the present paper I seek to investigate the two tier hierarchies with a specific attention to the Indian social order comprising the mainstream v/s the marginalized as Dalits and Tribals; and the marginalized v/s the marginalized within these communities. With the focus on Mahashweta Devi's 'Shanichari', a translated Bengali short story about a tribal girl, fettered with virtual slave trade in the fa├žade of democracy and the betrayal by her own community, and 'The Hell' a Gujarati Dalit short story of an untouchable woman Ratan, forced into the repugnant and nauseating task of public toilet cleaning, the present paper proposes to excavate the gendered causes for their socio-political exploitation. It argues that their intersectional identity as women and belonging to a minority community leads to their double victimization from outside and within their own communities. The paper refers to the theories of intersectionality and feminist Marxism together with other short stories about such minorities in support of its argument.