Singing/Thinking Anti-Caste by Yogesh Maitreya
Panther’s Paw Publications Essays on Anticaste Music and Text
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Non-dalits may find it unbelievable, but death for Dalits is metaphorical. An “untouchable” never existed as a person worthy of respect from society or recognised as a mind. He was simply invisible, except when his labour was extracted, exploited and used for free. Thus it was not very difficult for Dalits from a few generations ago to understand how it feels to remain invisible. This reality has not ceased to exist even today, although it’s forms vary. Not existing for others, not being recognised by others, is a condition of simply not being extant. It is in this sense that death is metaphorical for Dalits. Yet, this is not a normal reality. It is an abnormal condition, an ecology, to use a broad term, that has been constructed by brahmins and all other castes who follow them.
Yogesh Maitreya is a poet, writer, cultural critic, and a translator. He is a PhD scholar at TISS, Mumbai. He has published three books, The Bridge of Migration (poetry, 2017), Flowers on the Grave of Caste (short stories, 2020) and Of Oppressor’s Mind and Body (literary essays, 2020). He has translated three Marathi books in English, Ambedkarite Movement After Ambedkar by JV Pawar (2016, political history), Broken Man by Loknath Yashwant (2017, poetry) and We The Rejected People of India by Sunil Abhiman Awachar (2019, poetry). He has contributed more than a hundred essays on literature, language, and music across various print and online platforms such as First post, The Indian Express, Scroll, Centre for Stories, Roundtable India, Indian Cultural Forum, EPW, The Seminar, The Baroda Pamphlet, Buzzfeed, and The Punch Magazine. He is a founder of Panther’s Paw Publication that publishes only Dalit-Bahujan authors.
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