SVD Chandrasekhar graduated in BA (Hons) Economics at PGDAV College, under the University of Delhi during 2014 – 2017. During the course of their graduate degree, they were selected to be a part of the UGC funded year long Innovation Project titled ‘Jan Dhan Yojana and Financial Inclusion’ under the aegis of the University of Delhi. They proceeded to study MA Development Studies at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai during 2017 – 2019. Currently, they are a Junior Research Fellow (Sociology) studying MPhil Women’s Studies at Jadavpur University. Their research interest areas lie in Queer Studies and its intersection with the development paradigms.
The Subaltern Can Speak. Will the Cistem Hear?
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This paper seeks to understand how the hegemonic monolith of ‘woman’ constructed by the Brahmanical cisgender heteronormative ‘cistem’ is being destabilised and challenged by Dalit transgender women and their increasing assertion in the face of a rabid Hindutva that questions their right to self determination and belonging.
It is argued that Dalit trans women face exclusion in multiple ways. First, in the operation of a Brahmanical governmentality that refuses to recognise their right to self determination. Second, exclusion is further propagated in the queer spaces which are dominated by Savarna upper class cis gay men. Third, the neoliberal international development paradigm and its attendant funder politics perpetuates the hegemonic category ‘woman’ suppressing the voices of Dalit trans women who could have benefitted from an intersectional understanding of development.
Against all odds, Dalit trans women are exercising their agency and resisting in a context of virulent Brahmanism in several spaces, both online and offline all at once. I study their resistance in the emerging anti-caste Ambedkarite assertion and alternate spaces and organisations which are providing a fertile ground for dissenting voices and reimagining their collective futures. The subaltern can speak and is speaking. Is the cistem ready to hear them?
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