Chhadi Lage Chham Chham, Vidya Yeyi Gham Gham (The Harder the Stick Beats, the Faster the Flow of Knowledge)

Dalit Women's Struggle for Education

Authored by: Shailaja Paik

Gender and Education in India A Reader

Print publication date:  June  2021
Online publication date:  June  2021

Print ISBN: 9781032043579
eBook ISBN: 9781003191612
Adobe ISBN:


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This paper focuses on the specificities of Dalit experiences of access to and the processes in formal institutions of education. 1 Caste, class and gender as issues related to education have not received enough attention from scholars. I venture to untwist this ‘trinity’ in educational processes by engaging with some experiences of Dalit women in Maharashtra (India). Dalit girls 2 are often discouraged for attending distant schools, attending technical schools, which are male-dominated, by the problem of gender streaming in education; however, central to my enquiry are the more subtle operations of power in the Dalit context. By Dalits (literally translated to mean ‘crushed’, oppressed’ and ‘downtrodden’), I refer to India’s Untouchables or ‘erstwhile untouchables’, variously also described as magasvargiya jati, achhuts, panchama, Harijans and Scheduled Castes (SCs). Dalits, who comprise about 167 million Indians, have been historically prevented from accessing education as they were socially ostracised. The term ‘Dalit’ is also a term of militant self-assertion, a mark of identity: social, cultural and political identity.

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