FeministReads #1: “Caste is Not a Rumour” & “No Outlaws”

#FeministReads by FemPositive

#FeministReads is a flagship project started by FemPositive in April 2015 with the aim to promote and archive Indian feminist literature and marginalized narratives through a weekly book recommendation on social media. This crowd sourced project features texts around the themes of feminism, women’s histories, gender, sexuality, caste, patriarchy and sexual violence. They may be in the form of fiction, non-fiction, poetry, character portraits or historical accounts of movements against oppression, with a particular attention to women’s movements in India and contemporary issues in Indian feminisms.

They post a new book every Friday on their social media handles. Follow them for updates.

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NOGG Final Cover

No Outlaws in the Gender Galaxy – Chayanika Shah, Raj Merchant, Shals Mahajan, Smriti Nevatia

The constructed “naturalness” of a world made up of two sexes, two genders, and heterosexual desire as the only legitimate desire has been continuously questioned and challenged by those marginalised by these norms. This forces us to ask some important questions: How is gender really understood and constructed in the world that we inhabit? How does it operate through the various socio-political-cultural structures around us? And, most crucially, how is it lived?

No Outlaws in the Gender Galaxy attempts to understand gender through the lives of queer persons assigned a female gender at birth. The lived realities of the respondents, echoing in the book through their voices, help to interrogate gender as well as provide clues to how it can be envisioned or revisioned to be egalitarian.

The authors examine how gender plays out in public and private institutions like the family, educational institutions, work and public spaces and explore the multiplicity of ways in which people live gender. The book testifies that even if there are gender laws, in a just world there can be no gender outlaws.



#Caste Is Not a Rumour: The Online Diary of Rohith Vemula – Edited by Nikhila Henry

“I tried to be calm and cool, but my history won’t let me”

Student leader Rohith Vemula, who killed himself on January 17, 2016, was a prolific writer on Facebook, where he discussed everything from caste to cows.

Through 2008, when Vemula started posting on Facebook, to his last posts in January 2016, he was on a wild, lively journey, etching, as he travelled, the contours of his self where politics, philosophy, activism, academics, romance and science were entwined.

His words reveal the struggles and growth of a young Dalit student leader and academic who, when he was 20, left a small life in Guntur district, Andhra Pradesh to join a central university in Hyderabad. His writing is a commentary not just on his life but on the lives of several others for whom caste discrimination is not a ‘thing of the past’ but a lived reality. A life where, as Vemula tagged all his posts on the subject, #CasteIsNotaRumour. His words hold a mirror to the working of caste in modern India. His writing tells us what it means to live Dr B.R. Ambedkar’s final words, ‘Educate, Agitate and Organise’.

Buy it on Juggernaut Books: http://books.juggernaut.in/#/details/dee262f4f9aa453d956cb0727844f6cc

Read excerpts on TheNewsMinute: http://www.thenewsminute.com/article/life-romance-and-beer-rohith-vemula-who-talked-love-stardust-and-dewdrops-48014

Rohith Vemula
Rohith Vemula, 26, was a brilliant research scholar and a student leader at the University of Hyderabad who strongly believed in Dr B.R. Ambedkar’s crusade to annihilate caste. He became the face of a larger protest against Dalit discrimination after he committed suicide on January 17, 2016.


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