Race, Ethnicity and Politics

Interrogating the Projection of Fiction-as-Facts: Appropriation of the Spaces of Caste in Sindhi Short Stories and in Everyday Politics in Pakistan

Ghulam Hussain Quaid-i-Azam University
This paper is an attempt to understand the intersected nature of the appropriation of the spaces, events and acts of oppressed castes (and gender) in the ‘Progressive’ Sindhi short stories and in everyday politics. I specifically discuss the three popular short stories that are projected as having exceptional emancipatory potential for the Dalits and women. Mounting the Ambedkarian critique of the Progressive writers’ political agenda premised on Sindhi nationalism, I interrogate the short-story writer’s caste location and the content of short stories having empirical consequences for Dalit (women) in everyday life. I contend that even these seemingly pro-Dalit and pro-woman fictional narratives and their empirical interpretations, do not pass the test of Ambedkarian epistemology as they do not show any commitment to the annihilation of caste/casteism and gender disparities, and rather suggest objectification of Dalit bodies instead of emancipation through Dalit agency.
Supplementary weblinks
‘Dalits are in India, not in Pakistan’: Exploring the Discursive Bases of the Denial of Dalitness under the Ashrafia Hegemony
This paper is an attempt to investigate the discursive bases of the categorical and identity-based choices available to the Dalits under the Ashrafia hegemony, and the resultant denial of Dalitness prevalent among the Dalits and the Sindhi civil society in, Pakistan. Informed by the Ambedkarian (subaltern) perspective, I analyse the conversational interviews conducted with the Dalit activists (mostly Scheduled Castes), and with their Ashrafia class counterparts. Interrogating the superior status of Sayed caste(s), I contend that the the denial of casteism, the opposition to the use of the ‘Dalit’ identity marker and the negation of the Dalitness seemed to have as much to do with the belief in Ashrafia values as it had with the normative sanction of the Savarna values.