The Trauma of Caste: A Dalit Feminist Meditation on Survivorship, Healing, and Abolition

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Equality Labs founder and longtime movement leader Thenmozhi Soundararajan sounds like a call for awakening and action toward deconstructing the harmful system of caste apartheid against people of Dalit origin in South Asia and the diaspora. Caste discrimination is anchored in the belief that a person’s worth and fate are determined at birth, and people born into a lower caste are spiritually polluted. Dalit is the reclaimed term among caste-oppressed people that originally meant “broken people” or “untouchable.” Soundararajan offers meditative and embodied practices toward knowledge- and community-building to confront the harms of a damaging belief system that perpetuates persecution and violence. The words of support offered by feminist leader Tarana Burke and renowned scholar Cornel West link Soundararajan’s life work in ending Dalit caste oppression to the Black liberation movement.

The author writes persuasively by enumerating data about discriminatory practices and violent acts against Dalits and sharing anecdotes of heart-breaking stories of people concealing their true identities. Reading the book from my point of view as an immigrant to the U.S., the latter hit the hardest. It was difficult to fathom concealing one’s family name and hometown for fear of being outed as a Dalit. Soundararajan’s offering is a gift to those committed to fighting caste trauma by building collective, political, and institutional power to ensure dignity and liberation for Dalit peoples.

Reviewed By:

Author Thenmozhi Soundararajan,Tarana Burke,Aishah Shahidah Simmons
Star Count /5
Format Trade
Page Count 256 pages
Publisher North Atlantic Books
Publish Date 15-Nov-2022
ISBN 9781623177652 Buy this Book
Issue January 2023
Category Spirituality & Inspiration