ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Exclusionary Spaces


This is in response to the article “Dominant Bodies and Their Ethical Performances: Violence of Caste Embodiment in Higher Educational Institutions” by P Thirumal (EPW, 18 January 2020). It aims to understand “how HEIs [higher education institutions] have the dispo­sition to discriminate based on caste-based identities and situate this institutional disposition within the Brahminic sense-making” (p 38). The author has succeeded in bringing forth the first objective, but falls short in rendering justice to the second objective. The author has identified bodies, styles of thinking and arts of living as three contributive factors to explore the subtleties of caste-based discrimination in HEIs towards Dalit Bahujans.

The normativity of the established hegemony within HEIs has been explained through the cases of Anita, Payal Tadvi and Rohith Vemula. The author seeks to provide an explanation on how HEIs have become a place and space for the reproduction of caste-based discrimination. An interesting dynamic known as “caste-plaining” (p 39) was used to explain the widespread phenomenon of exclusionary governance of HEIs. The non-verbal and body languages of the upper-caste people in HEIs and their deep implications on the perceptions of Dalit Bahujans and other lower caste groups are reinforcing Marx’s concept of alienation. The attitude to alienate Dalit Bahujans within the corridors of HEIs is deeply entrenched and has percolated into the minds and hearts of the upper castes. This has severely affected the idea of the university as an ideal place to nurture young minds.

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Updated On : 31st Jan, 2020
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