Showing posts with label Women. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Women. Show all posts

Justice For Victims Of Violent Scottish Witch Hunts




    The tragic, factual history of Scotland's horrifying witchhunts is now revealed, as well as why the victims of these heinous murders must always be remembered. 



    Efforts are underway to offer pardons and apologies to the thousands of people slaughtered during Scotland's 'Satanic Panic,' which peaked in the 1600s. 

    Professor Julian Goodare, Scotland's preeminent witchcraft historian, chats with our Writer at Large Neil Mackay to learn more about what occurred and why we should remember these heinous crimes. 


    If a campaign led by the organization Witches of Scotland succeeds, some of the region's most maligned people may be forgiven. 


    Gary Knight, proprietor of History and Horror Tours in Blackford, is fascinated by the darker side of history. 

    Gary is aware with several other incidents of local residents being charged with witchcraft and condemned to death under the Witchcraft Act, which was in effect from 1563 until 1735. 

    "There is a request to pardon over 4000 people, according to some estimates, who were detained, tortured, and compelled to confess before being brutally killed," he stated. 

    Strathearn was not spared from the mayhem. 


    "I won't argue whether Maggie Walls was a real person or not. 

    I won't address our most famous instance of Kate McNiven, who was burnt to the north of Knock Hill in 1615 — there are some contradictory dates as to the date of Kate's execution. 


    "There are other unfortunate victims who need to be recognized as well." 



    Violet Mar, who resided near Muthill, was one of the first people to be accused of witchcraft under the Witchcraft Act. 

    “ Violet appeared in front of local landowners accused of employing witchcraft against the Earl of Mar in 1577. 






    There seems to be no record of Violet's fate, although she admitted that things did not appear to be going well for her. 



    Violet would have most likely been tied to an upright stick of wood, with flammable stuff put around her feet, and burnt alive - if given any compassion, she would have been strangled first, if not, she would have been burned alive." 

    "Another is The Warlock of the Kirkton in Auchterarder," Gary said. 

    This case is unique in that it concerned a man named Alexander Drummond who was tried in 1629. 

    Alexander had been under the church's cautious observation as he utilized his talent to heal humans and animals. 


    "He cured 'all sorts of diseases by sorcerie and witchcraft, and ane consulter with the devill and seiker of responses from him; havin also ane familiar spreit attending him to give him instructions in the practeis of all his diabolical and unlauchfull cures," 

    according to the charges leveled against Alexander. 


    Alexander was sent to Edinburgh, where he was tried and killed on the city's Market Cross. 

    "Dunning had some convicted witches sentenced to death; in Perth, witches were burned on the North Inch." 

    John Mcllvorie stood before four commissioners in Crieff after being implicated by another person accused of Witchcraft – it seems John was also a healer and had attended witches meetings or Sabbaths in 1643. 


    In 1662, the Crook of Devon had a widespread witchcraft panic. 


    Agnes Murrie, Bessie Henderson, Isabella Rutherford, Robert Wilson, Bessie Neil, Margaret Lister, Janet Paton, Agnes Brugh, "At the time, the Laird of Tullibole and his son were present at these people's trial. 


    When they were found guilty, they were strangled and burned by a common hangman. 


    The present owners of Tullibole Castle planted a labyrinth with 11 stones in 2003 as a tribute to the victims of this heinous crime. 

    "Access to this laudable attempt to commemorate and apologize for one of our darkest eras in history is unfettered and free to everybody," they said. 

    In a superstitious and prejudiced age, a formal pardon for those accused of witchcraft is long overdue, in my view." 


    We are pleading with the Scottish Government to help right what we regard as Scotland's historical wrongs, and we are trying to get legal pardons and public apologies for the estimated 3837 persons accused as witches, two-thirds of whom were hanged and burnt. 


    And, if successful, it may mean justice for people like nursemaid Kate McNiven, who was condemned to death by strangulation and burning on the Knock of Crieff, and Maggie Wall or Walls, a Dunning witch who was the subject of one of Scotland's earliest witch monuments. 

    A discussion is raging in Scottish culture – like a mystical potion simmering in a burning cauldron – about how we come to terms with one of our country's worst chapters: the execution of around 2,500 individuals, primarily women but some males, as witches. 



    Claire Mitchell and Zoe Venditozzi are pushing for pardons for all individuals imprisoned in Scotland for witchcraft, the great majority of whom were women, as well as a monument to those who have been forgotten by history. 




    "Approximately 4,000 individuals were accused of witchcraft in Scotland between the 16th and 18th centuries," said Mitchell, a lawyer who formed the advocacy organization Witches of Scotland. 


    In all, almost 2,500 persons were killed in Scotland for witchcraft, with four-fifths of them being women. 

    After making confessions that were typically extracted under torture, they were generally strangled and then burnt. 

    "People would take turns interviewing them, keeping them awake for days and days and She went on to say that the victims were made to admit that "they were dancing with the devil, having sex with the demon." 

    "And the Scottish courts exploited such admissions to punish these women for witchcraft." 


    A tiny column dubbed the "Witches' Stone" marks their location in the wind-blown 16th-century graveyard. 



    Flowers and cash are often left by passers-by as a homage to individuals who have been killed, including Grissel Jaffray, who was strangled and burned in 1669. 


    A mosaic representing a cone of flames on a city center roadway honors Jaffray, the lady regarded as "Dundee's last witch." 

    Mitchell formed Witches of Scotland on March 8, 2020, International Women's Rights Day, after learning about the horrors of the Witchcraft Act. 

    This legislation, which was in effect until 1736, allowed the death penalty for persons found guilty of witchcraft. 


    Scotland's King James VI, who later became King James I of England in 1603, was a strong supporter of witch hunts. 


    William Shakespeare's "Scottish drama," which features three witches who lead Macbeth to his demise, gave expression to his preoccupation. 


    Mitchell's group wants three things: a pardon for all people convicted of witchcraft, an official apology from the government, and a national memorial to the victims. 

    Despite growing up in Fife, a hotspot of executions, co-campaigner Zoe Venditozzi, 46, claimed she knew "nothing" about the witch hunts until lately. 


    She noticed that "anyone may be implicated," and that those who couldn't speak up for themselves or were seen as unusual in some manner were "usually regular people, typically impoverished people."


     "Back then, people believed in the devil a lot," she claimed, adding that women were seen as "vessels" that the devil could use. 



    Natalie Don, a member of the Scottish National Party, the pro-independence party in power in Edinburgh, plans to present a bill in the Scottish Parliament to grant all individuals convicted a pardon. 




    "People are still convicted and punished for practicing witchcraft in various nations throughout the globe" . 


    "Scotland should take the lead in recognizing the atrocities of our past and ensuring that these individuals are not remembered as criminals." 

    According to Julian Goodare, retired professor of history at Edinburgh University, who has supervised the construction of a database to chronicle witch hunts, Scotland was especially prone to them. 

    He claimed at Edinburgh Castle, the site of numerous public executions, that the rate was roughly five times greater than the European norm, with 2,500 people hanged in a population of two million. 

    Scotland's movement away from the Catholic Church during the Protestant Reformation, which witnessed widespread "fear of ungodliness," exacerbated following an alleged plan to bewitch King James in the 1590s. 


    "There's nothing we can do to undo the past, but we can learn from it," he says of a memorial commemorating this history. 


    According to a historian, women who were labeled witches and murdered in Scotland over 300 years ago had Lymes disease. 


    Dr. Mary Drymon, a US professor, believes people suspected of possessing the Devil's mark were most likely bitten by a tick. 

    It comes as Nicola Sturgeon plans to pardon hundreds of people convicted of witchcraft between the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries. 




    The Witchcraft Act was passed in 1563 and stayed in effect until 1736. 


    The First Minister has backed a members bill introduced by Natalie Don MSP, and when it is enacted next year, she is likely to deliver a public apology. 

    "I have looked at the concept of the Devil's mark and the Witches teat, as it is described in the literature," Dr. Drymon, 70, said. 


    The Devil's mark seems to be the bull's eye rash of Lyme disease, while the witch's teat appears to be lymphocytoma, which may develop after a tick bite. 


    People have reported discovering pins lodged in their flesh that magically vanish over time. 

    After a bloodmeal, an attached tick that looks like the head of a handcrafted 17th century brooch slips off." The lecturer believes Anne of Denmark's perilous sea journey to Scotland prior to their marriage triggered King James VI's obsession with witches. 

    "I believe that the level of Lyme disease in Scotland ebbed and flowed dependent on land usage and climate, notably during King James' reign and after his bride's arduous sea trip provoked his acute witch obsession," Dr. Drymon stated. 


    The Little Ice Age brought not just cold, but also damp and dry weather, crop failures, and famines. 

    Droughts tend to concentrate ticks along streams and rivers in rural regions, where sheep, deer, and mice drink water. 

    "Those are the locations at most risk for Lyme infection—in the past and now." 




    "The Scottish idea to pardon suspected witches is helpful because it sheds focus on a tremendous historic injustice," she continued. 


    Claire Mitchell QC and teacher and writer Zoe Venditozzi, who manage the Witches of Scotland Campaign, want the Scottish Government to offer a formal apology to all people who were convicted as witches and for an official apology to be made. 


    Women made up 84 percent of the victims, who were strangled before being burnt at the stake. 


    Mitchell and Venditozzi have both been invited to the petitions committee of the Scottish Parliament. 

    "This is a fascinating concept and not one I've heard before," remarked Miss Venditozzi, 46. 


    Some of the examples could make sense, but we also know that many of the so-called "witch's markings" might be as random as a birthmark, scar, or mole. 

    "I knew there was a perception that looking for marks was scientific, and that it was a source of income for certain individuals." 

    The petitions committee is in charge of the campaign. They want to hear from me and Claire.



    When it came to witch-hunting, Scotland was the most ruthless country in Europe, murdering considerably more individuals per capita than any other country. 


    Today, apologies and tributes for those who died are being discussed. 

    With legislation to pardon victims, the Scottish Government seems to be on track to confront this legacy of the past. 


    Catalonia has just pardoned people who were killed as witches centuries ago. 


    But, beyond the facts, what do we in Scotland actually know about this horrible period of our history? 


    The actual narrative of the Scottish witch hunts is much more incredible than we imagined, shattering conventional beliefs and demonstrating that much of what we believe to be true is just fiction. 


    We contemporary Scots, like our religious forefathers, are perplexed by witches in certain ways. 


    Professor Julian Goodare of Edinburgh University has been tapped by The Herald on Sunday to uncover the truth about what happened in the 16th, 17th, and even early 18th centuries. 

    He is the director of the Survey of Scottish Witchcraft and the author of Scottish Witches And Witch-Hunters, Witchcraft And Belief In Early Modern Scotland, and The European Witch-Hunt, all of which are about the "Satanic Panic" that engulfed the nation from the end of the 1500s. 


    SURPRISINGLY, there was no "craze" for witch-hunting throughout the Middle Ages, or medieval era. 

    The hunts did not truly take off until the late-16th and early-17th centuries (far into what historians refer to as the early modern era). 

    However, the medieval period laid the groundwork for future persecution. 

    Several heresies erupted in Europe during the 1400s, including the Lollards in England and the Hussites in Bohemia, both of whom attacked the Catholic Church. 

    As a result, "there's a lot of fear about heresy and heretics" on the increase throughout the Middle Ages, according to Goodare. 

    Then there's Luther and the Protestant Reformation, which focuses on adhering to the Bible's teachings to the letter. 


    Anyone caught behaving in a way that contradicts the Bible might face harsh consequences. 


    Importantly, the witch hunts coincided with a "growth in state authority – and religion was part of that political power," according to Goodare. 

    As European culture progressed, there was simply "more government," and rulers' decisions were based on the Bible. 

    As a result, the reformation and "big government" clashed, resulting in a situation in which "state officials were seeking to show they were holy... This is where hysteria may arise. 

    If you drew a graph depicting the increase of witch-hunting and the rise of governmental authority, they'd be nearly parallel." Religion was also open to the public. 

    Everyone was a devout Christian, and if you strayed from the path, "you'd be in trouble." 

    The Kirk Session in Scotland was in charge of maintaining control, and it could summon parishioners for interrogation and punishment for "fornication" or "breaching the sabbath," with punishments included modest fines and public shame. 

    Goodare notes that accusing persons of witchcraft was "far unusual." 


    The Kirk Session, on the other hand, was primarily responsible for initiating witch trials, since it was administered by local ministers and elders, most of whom were affluent tenant farmers. 

    "They are the ones who acquire the first data."

     They might question the subject or gain information from their surroundings." 

    Torture was utilized as well. 


    When the Kirk deemed someone to be a witch, the accused was sent to "secular criminal tribunals." 


    The "village witch" and the "demonic witch" are the two categories of witches attacked, according to GOODARE. 


    He explains, "The village witch is someone who is supposed to have charmed their neighbors." 

    The village witch is generally caught in a situation like this: two neighbors fight, insults and threats are exchanged, and one of the neighbors' cows or even their kid dies as a result. 

    Suspicion falls on their "adversary" as a witch right away. 

    "There are a lot of instances like that in witchcraft trial records," Goodare explains. 

    This cause and effect equation made perfect sense to the typical person in the 1600s: Person X despises Person Y; something horrible occurs to Person Y; thus, Person X must be a witch. 

    The authorities were more interested in the demonic witch — "someone who has struck a contract with the Devil." 

    The famed North Berwick witches, suspected of scheming with Satan to assassinate King James VI of Scotland, subsequently James I of England, are a notable example. 

    It was a phenomenon in 1590, and it fueled the witch hunt. 

    The episode is said to have influenced Shakespeare's creation of the witches in Macbeth, a play written for James, who was interested by the subject. 

    When someone was accused of being a village witch, it was quite simple for the case to escalate into the much more severe charge of being a demonic witch. 

    If someone is brought before the Kirk for bewitchment, the authorities will investigate if the accused is involved in anything more hazardous, such as collaborating with the Devil. 

    As a result, questions are asked, and torture is utilized... 

    Inevitably, convicts admit to having met Satan. 

    To appreciate how scary the thought of a Satanic alliance may be, Goodare suggests seeing ourselves in the shoes of a typical 16th-century peasant. 

    They were adamant about demons, and the idea of other humans cooperating with the Devil was a "horrific prospect" for them. 



    In the Middle Ages, there was no such dread of a "subversive plot in collaboration with the Devil." However, as this new concept gained traction, it quickly devolved into widespread terror. 


    In 1597, King James wrote a book called Daemonologie. 

    Consider what would happen if a politician today authored a best-selling book identifying a "enemy within," and what the consequences would be. 

    It was said that witches were murdering and consuming newborns. 

    Goodare compares the "Satanic Panic" of the 1980s, when false charges of persons engaging in ritual child abuse were made all across the globe. 

    But, as Goodare points out, the witch-hunters were "sincere, not cynical" — they weren't fabricating accusations, and they really felt they were battling evil. 

    Many victims are thought to have been unjustly implicated by their opponents on purpose. 


    What better way to humiliate a competitor than by accusing them of witchcraft? 


    That concept, however, does not hold up under investigation, according to Goodare. 

    Persons who accused others of being witches thought the people they were accusing were in cahoots with Satan or doing black magic. 

    There has also been a long-held conviction that many of the victims were practicing pagans rather than devil-worshippers, and that religious authorities mistook one for the other at the time. 

    According to Goodare, this is not the case. 

    "The notion that these individuals were knowingly heathen has no foundation in fact." They all pretended to be Christians." 

    "You do find folks who, despite the fact that they claim to be Christians, do what I'd call'magic,'" he says. 

    These are what we may refer to as "folk healers." People like that can be found in most traditional European civilizations in the early modern era." Ironically, the charms they made would often include petitions to God. 

    These healing practices were not a big deal in the Middle Ages, but after the Reformation in the late 1500s, "the people trying to clean up Christianity were going, 'wait a minute, the Bible doesn't tell you to do that, this is wrong.'" 


    GOODARE believes that greater research by psychologists and historians into the mental states of both accusers and accused during the witch hunts is needed. 


    Although he claims that he doesn't detect proof of autism in court records, he thinks that autistic persons may confess to crimes they didn't commit. 

    However, it is hard to verify this in hindsight. 


    Some of the accusers may have had additional mental health issues. 


    Mental illness is linked to obsessive-compulsive behavior. 

    Christian Shaw, a rich 10-year-old girl from Renfrewshire, was stated to be "vomiting coal and bent pins" in 1697. 

    Seven individuals were hanged for allegedly bewitching her. 

    "There's quite apparent psychopathology of some type surrounding Christian Shaw," Goodare adds. 


    Janet Douglas, a little girl who was a part of Glasgow's "Pollock Panic" in the 1670s, displayed evidence of "what professional psychologists today would label catatonic mutism," according to Goodare. 


    According to Goodare, the most plausible choice for a disorder that afflicted both the accusers and the accused is sleep paralysis. 

    It may lead to delusions and out-of-body experiences. 

    It was called "hag-ridden" in the 1600s, as if your sleeping body had been possessed by a witch. 

    Accused witches have claimed that the Devil visited them while they were sleeping. 


    THERE IS a definite link between this and the present occurrence of persons claiming to have been visited by aliens in their beds. 

    According to Goodare, people may "understand sleep paralysis in cultural terms." So, someone who now legitimately thinks they have been abducted by aliens may have thought they were meeting Satan 400 years ago. 

    In all cases, however, the cause was just sleep paralysis. 

    When asked whether they encountered the Devil, some individuals declare, "Well, I didn't meet the Devil, but I did meet the Queen of the Fairies," according to Goodare. 

    According to Goodare, these folks seemed to think they had encountered fairies. 

    He explains, "It sends us back to hallucinations." 

    "Some folks are experiencing hallucinations today and claiming to have been kidnapped inside spacecraft." 

    I see nobody in the 17th century say ‘I was whisked away in a spaceship’ but I do see people claim they were transported to fairyland.” 

    The difficulty was that if these folks who honestly felt they had encountered fairies – either because of sleep paralysis or some other ailment – made such statements to their interrogators they were still digging their own graves. 


    Meeting fairies rather than demons wouldn't assist them with witch-hunters who believed fairies were merely devils in disguise, according to Goodare. 

    Witch-hunting was "primarily a lowland phenomena," according to the author. 

    In the Scottish Highlands, it doesn't have much momentum, and only a few Gaelic speakers are hanged for witchcraft." There's a suggestion that the witch hunts would have been even more vicious if Gaelic-speaking areas didn't believe in fairies. 

    Interestingly, Gaels attributed poor luck to fairies rather than neighbors accused of witchcraft. 

    "That might effectively eliminate hunting before it occurs," adds Goodare. 

    In Gaelic communities, the protestant church, with its Kirk Session and reforming zeal that spilled over into witch-hunting, "doesn't have traction on the ground." 


    WOMEN MADE UP APPROXIMATELY 85% OF VICTIMS IN SCOTLAND, WHICH COMPARED TO APPROXIMATELY 80% IN EUROPE. 



    Women have suffered the brunt of persecution for a variety of reasons. 


    For starters, society assumed that witchcraft was more likely to be committed by women. 

    If men were to do evil, they would do it by acts of violence rather than curses. 

    "The perception was that women would utilize shady tactics," Goodare adds. 

    The Margaret Barclay case from 1618 in Irvine is a good example. 

    Barclay had a sour relationship with a local sea captain who had slandered her. 

    "She walks out to the quayside in front of everyone and points her finger at him," Goodare recounts, pleading with God to "let the crabs devour him." The ship sinks, which is unfortunate for Barclay. 

    "All it took was for her to be identified as a witch and executed." As the hysteria increased, more people were implicated and burnt. 

    "These are the kinds of encounters that happen in a community on a daily basis." Goodare compares the bigoted belief that women were more likely to be witches to current events, in which ethnic minorities are more likely to be frisked by police. 


    Women, on the other hand, were more likely to accuse other women. 


    Women were involved in many "village-level quarrels." So this isn't just a case of guys belittling women. 

    It's just as probable that a woman would protest, claiming that "someone else enchanted me." 

    Although it may be uncomfortable to comprehend now, most women in this time sought to "conform to patriarchal standards."

    "Trying to seem like a nice, married lady, nourishing your family, and defending your family from magical assault – and that means women will regard other women as witches," she said. 


    "Witchcraft separates women," Goodacre says. 


    WHY were the witch hunts in Scotland particularly harsh in comparison to the rest of the world? 

    The witch hunts in Scotland lasted from 1563 until 1736, when the Scottish Witchcraft Act was repealed. 


    In a population of around one million people, over 2,500 individuals were burnt as a result of roughly 4,000 charges. 

    "My gut impression is that number is too low, and the true amount is likely to be higher," Goodare adds. 


    In European terms, Scotland ranks nearly five times higher than the norm. 

    If Scotland hanged the normal amount of people, it would result in roughly 500 deaths - I regard this as a measure of the reformation's vigor." 

    Simply said, Scotland was more fanatical, and as a result, more prone to panic and witch-hunting. 

    Consider how, while protestant reformers in England were unable to "ban" Christmas, the Kirk was able to do so in Scotland, demonstrating the Kirk's power. 



    "A contributory factor" was also King James. 


    His book Daemonologie (which he coined) "draws attention to the entire phenomenon." 

    He gets things started, gives them legitimacy, politicizes them, and makes it acceptable for high-level government officials to be interested in these issues in a way that they might not have been otherwise.



    The scientific revolution ushered in "new ways of thinking about the physical world," putting an end to the witch hunts. 


    "The fall is well under way" by the time of the Enlightenment. 

    The abolition of superstition was aided by scientists and philosophers such as Sir Isaac Newton and RenĂ© Descartes. 

    "When they look at anything, they assume it's made of tangible substance. 

    That's cool – it's something new. 

    That is state-of-the-art research." 


    Society starts to "lost sight of the devils" whenever science takes center stage. 


    Likewise, the legislation changed. 

    "Judicial skepticism was essential," Goodare says. 

    Judges begin to require "the highest standards of evidence" and become "anti-torture." 

    Because so much of the witch hunts were focused on class – with those in authority dictating the parameters of the argument - the terror only subsided when "the elite's ideas changed." 

    In the 1600s, Europe had similarly bled itself white in brutal religious battles, and there was a feeling that "this has got to end." Goodare compares the shift to the post-World War II era, when the people concluded "we can't do it again." 

    They fled into myth, mythology, and amusement after the witch hunts were over. 


    Until Goodare's generation of historians came along and began examining social and cultural history, historians tended to disregard the awful atrocities that had occurred. 


    As a result, the big question remains: how do we remember this period of our history and lives? 


    Goodare is a believer in apologies and pardons. 

    He does, however, want a memorial to the victims of the witch hunts, similar to the one in Norway. 


    "I'd want to see a monument stimulate more dialogues; more people would see it, speak about it, and learn from it — that's what I'd like to see." 


    Understanding and reflecting on the true history of the witch hunts, according to Goodare, would be the greatest testament to those who perished. 


    He advises that we learn certain hard facts, such as the fact that the witch-hunters didn't do what they did "because they were bad." 

    They did what they did because they believed their intentions were "logical" and "good." 

    "I want people to ask themselves, 

    'Would I have done any better in their shoes?'

    " I'd want people to consider how we pre-judge others and believe we're right and others aren't because we despise them, and that if we despise them, we can do anything we want to them. 

    Those are universal issues that haven't gone away. 

    If something comes up in the discussion, I won't feel like I've wasted my time."


    ~ Jai Krishna Ponnappan

    You may also want to read more about Feminism and Activism here.



    References & Further Reading:


    Goodare, J., 1999. State and society in early modern Scotland. Clarendon Press.

    Goodare, J., 2016. The European witch-hunt. Routledge.

    Goodare, J., 2004. The Government of Scotland 1560-1625. OUP Oxford.

    Goodare, J. ed., 2002. The Scottish witch-hunt in context. Manchester University Press.

    Goodare, J., 1998. Women and the Witch‐hunt in Scotland. Social History, 23(3), pp.288-308.

    Goodare, J., Martin, L. and Miller, J. eds., 2008. Witchcraft and belief in early modern Scotland (p. 35). Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

    Goodare, J., 2005. The Scottish witchcraft act. Church History, 74(1), pp.39-67.

    Goodare, J. and Lynch, M. eds., 2022. The Reign of James VI. Birlinn Ltd.

    Goodare, J. ed., 2013. Scottish witches and witch-hunters. Springer.





    Dalit Feminism At The Crossroads Of Difference, Solidarity, And Dual Patriarchies.

     


    The concept that the 'dalit woman,' its major constituency, is positioned at the intersection of caste and gender, lies at the heart of Dalit Feminism. 

    Dalit women are not homogeneous groups that can be cleanly classified as 'women' or 'dalits.' 

    Caste and gender are two separate and mutually incompatible characteristics that define 'women' and 'dalits' in mainstream Indian Feminism and Dalit Politics, respectively. 

    As a consequence, dalit women and their issues are obliterated or obfuscated. 

    Urmila Pawar notes, "The Dalit movement is a movement for whole human freedom." In a brief understanding of the dalit women's condition and its prospective resolution, Urmila Pawar says, "The Dalit movement is a struggle for total human freedom." 

    However, it does not seem to give enough attention to the women's issue. 

    The women's liberation movement should also be a component of this human emancipation movement. 

    It isn't the case. 

    There is a popular misconception that, unlike Brahmin women, Dalit women are not bound by suffocating constraints. 

    In this position, the grief of the Devadasi, the forsaken lady, and the Murali is overlooked.... 

    Dalit educated women should also shed the misconception that they can only succeed in the world with the support of males. 

    Both as dalits and as women, these women must struggle for their rights. 

    Pawar's speech highlights two critical analytical omissions: gender in Dalit politics and caste in mainstream Indian feminist thought. 

    Dalit Feminism, according to Pawar's remark, is an interventionist approach that aims to address the multifaceted aspect of dalit women's identities. 

    The gap between Dalit Feminism and mainstream Indian Feminism and Dalit Politics is therefore expressed via the concept of intersectionality. 

    Intersectionality is a theoretical framework for looking at how oppressive regimes interact with one another. 

    Intersectionality first appeared in the legal academia in the late 1980s and early 1990s, with Kimberlé Crenshaw's seminal work 'Mapping the Margins: Intersectionality, Identity Politics, and Violence Against Women of Color.' Its main goal has been to provide a paradigm for analyzing power that takes gender, class, and race-based subordination into account and links them.

    The concept of intersectionality emerged from the theorization of triple oppressed black women by feminists of color. 

    Using black women as an example, Crenshaw demonstrates how intersectionality rejects the single-axis paradigm espoused by both feminist and anti-racist researchers, instead examining "the different ways in which race and gender interact to determine the multiple aspects of black women's... 

    lives." By identifying the multiplicities and diversity within categories like "woman" and "black," intersectionality calls into question the homogeneity of these categories. 

    By presenting an approach that identifies various axes of oppression impacting black women and challenges the homogeneity assumed by both feminist and anti-racist discourses, intersectionality offers an enabling technique for feminist analysis. 

    Leslie McCall's theorization of intersectionality via inter-categorical and intra-categorical techniques is particularly relevant in this situation. 

    The inter-categorical approach recognizes "relations of inequality among social groups and changing configurations of inequality along multiple and conflicting dimensions," whereas the intra-categorical approach "interrogates the boundary-making and boundary-defining process itself," maintaining a critical stance toward categories that are primarily seen through a single axis of identity. 

    Theorists of intersectionality have harshly critiqued political formations centered on a single axis of identity. 

    The issue with identity politics, according to Crenshaw, is not that it fails to transcend difference, as some detractors argue, but rather that it often conflates or overlooks intra-group distinctions. 

    She claims that black males and white women acquire prominence in minority politics such as anti-racism and Western Feminism, obscuring black women who endure both racist and sexist oppression at the same time. 

    As a result, one of identity politics' key flaws is its incapacity to view individuals via different axes of identification and comprehend the multifaceted aspects of oppression. 

    Through its recognition of diversity, intersectionality is considered as an enabling tool in this more nuanced strategical option. 

    Black Feminism uses the notion of diversity to problematize the category of 'woman' in Western feminist politics. 

    Women in general were seen as a'minority group' by White Feminism, who saw them as a homogenous category in which oppression is tied to gender. 

    'Woman' was portrayed as a single subject that transcended race, class, and ethnicity as a result of this universalization. 

    In an effort to homogenize feminist politics, such an epistemological postulation emphasises a unitary form of patriarchal oppression and a universalized experience of womanhood, culminating in the erasure of diversity among women. 

    As a result of the categorization of the category 'woman' and its subjective experience, women from minority groups, such as women of color, become structurally excluded. 

    While the feminist notion of sisterhood aids in the formation of a collective resistance, it empowers only some groups of women while marginalizing others, according to black feminists. 

    This Bridge Called My Back by Moraga and Anzalda raises concerns about the Feminist constituency of 'woman,' emphasizing its diversity. 

    Moraga highlights in her prologue to the second edition that this book departs from Feminism's nearly exclusive emphasis on sex connections, instead focusing on relationships between women.' 

    They encourage a feminist voice that highlights the divisions within the category of woman. 

    This book began as a response to White Feminism's bigotry and has evolved into a celebration of the emergence of unity among feminists of color. 

    As a result, according to Baca Zinn, "many women began to argue that their lives were affected by their location in a number of different hierarchies: as African Americans, Latinas, Native Americans, or Asian Americans in the race hierarchy; as young or old in the age hierarchy; as heterosexual, lesbian, or bisexual in the sexual orientation hierarchy; and as women outside of Western industrialized nations, in subordinated geopolitical contexts." These arguments demonstrated that women were disadvantaged not just because of their gender, but also because of historical and systematic denials of rights and benefits based on other characteristics. 

    The knowledge that general issues are far distant from the reality of many women's life illustrates the power dynamics that generate gender hierarchy. 

    It becomes clear that a singular and exclusive emphasis on gender emphasizes concerns affecting a single group of women while diverting attention away from other structures and systems, such as race, which are vital in sustaining the oppression of other categories of women. 

    As a result, women of color have challenged Western Feminism's sisterhood concepts, contending that it is white middle-class-centric. 

    They claim that concepts of gender and women's oppression fundamentally disregard marginalized women, and that efforts to attain a universal politics often result in a single point of view being prioritized. 

    In interventionist politics like Black Feminism, recognizing diversity becomes vital in order to avoid the effects and traps of prevailing structural paradigms and construct a more effective politics. 

    Intersectionality emphasizes not just the diversity of black women's experiences, but also their similarities. 

    This intracategorical difference is noticeable between white women and black males. 

    The Combahee River Collective's 'The Black Feminist Statement' describes how they realized that "as children... 

    we were different from boys and that we were treated differently, for example, when we were told to be quiet both for the sake of being "ladylike" and to make us less objectionable in the eyes of white people." As a result, Black Feminism reveals the complexities and uniqueness of race and gender oppression of black women that both antiracists and White Feminism overlooked. 

    According to black feminists, black women are either portrayed as victimized objects by black male authors or are featured as tokens by white feminists out of guilt. 

    Furthermore, as Kimberly Springer points out, Black feminists have been accused of inauthentic blackness by the black community because of their gender issues. 

    According to the Sandy Springs transcript, black women also had to be wary of white feminists who labeled them "the worst sort" of black women for allegedly betraying their race. 

    Both black nationalist and white feminist assessments of black women's racial authenticity thought that a really revolutionary black woman valued her racial oppression above her gender. 

    In this debate, white feminists, like black males, refused to acknowledge the complexities of racial and gender oppression. 

    Instead, they opted to perceive black women as just that: black. 

    As a consequence, black feminists learned that "the master's tools will never deconstruct the master's home." They may allow us to defeat him at his own game for a while, but they will never allow us to effect meaningful change.'

    Black Feminism and Dalit Feminism share an emphasis on the significance of acknowledging diversity in building an understanding of oppression and resistance in connection to diverse forms of power. 

    While Black Feminism looks for black women at the junction of race and gender, Dalit Feminism looks for dalit women at the confluence of caste and gender in establishing and informing feminist politics. 

    Similar to how Black Feminism articulates its politics in opposition to White Feminism and anti-racism, Dalit Feminism uses intervention to distinguish itself from mainstream Indian Feminism and Dalit Politics. 

    Despite the fact that the phrase was not invented or used in India, Nivedita Menon points out that the practice of intersectionality has long been prevalent among India's oppressed communities. 

    She expresses reservations about using intersectionality as a theoretical framework to analyze and comprehend "the Indian experience," arguing that "theory must be located" and that "the practice of validating any study on the "non-West" by reading it through a "Western" theory should be challenged." Menon emphasizes that intersectionality is a 'buzzword' that got popularity owing to the significance of the site of its birth, and that intersectionality is unsuited in the Indian context due to the various layers of identities that already exist in India. 

    Menon focuses on caste, community, and sexuality in particular to show how they continue to split the category of "woman" and destabilize feminist politics. 

    In India's marginalized politics, such means of recognizing and tackling difference are already in practice. 

    'How does intersectionality feature in this analysis?' Menon wonders. 

    She criticizes the exact discipline from which intersectionality emerges, arguing that law has been the most limiting vehicle for binding and fixing identities according to convenience. 

    As a result, going to law and looking for solutions is pointless. 

    Furthermore, Menon points out that Crenshaw believes that identities are a-priori when he proposes the concept of intersection of identities. 

    Mary E. John revisits Menon's piece to discuss intersectionality, which allows all disadvantaged voices to be heard rather than prioritizing one over the other. 

    John points out that Crenshaw and other intersectionality theorists do not claim to have invented the concept. 

    They often reference Black Feminism, which dates back to 1851, when Sojourner Truth delivered her now-iconic speech, 'Ain't I a Woman?' As a result, John contends, intersectionality should not be seen as a new phenomena, despite the fact that it has become a catchphrase. 

    John goes on to say that, although emphasizing difference, Indian Feminism has not always dealt with intersecting identities. 

    With the exception of community, Feminism in India is still focused on sex differences rather than the 'unequal patriarchies' that are responsible for the creation and perpetuation of hierarchies among women of various classes, castes, and communities. 

    Instead of rejecting intersectionality outright, John thinks that it should be used to analyze current identities and politics and generate unity. 

    As a result, intersectionality has the ability to serve as a jumping off point for dialogues. 

    Dalit Feminism examines how conventional Indian Feminism and Dalit Politics erase or disregard dalit women, and how the constructs of 'woman' and 'dalit' privilege savarna women and dalit men. 

    Invoking intersectionality, Dalit Feminism confronts these erasures and additions. 

    As previously stated, Dalit Feminism's relationship to the notion of difference may be traced by recognizing its constituency, the "dalit woman," as intersectional and hence unique from "woman" in mainstream Indian Feminism and "dalit" in Dalit Politics. 

    We are concerned that dalit women in India suffer from three oppressions: gender, as a result of patriarchy; class, as members of the poorest and most marginalized communities; and caste, as members of the lowest caste, the 'untouchables,' according to the National Federation of Dalit Women's (NFDW) VIII National Convention on June 26, 2009 in New Delhi. 

    This proclamation highlights three overlapping variables of gender, class, and caste, demonstrating that inequality and difference exist not just between those in the rich/poor, upper-caste/dalit dichotomy, but also between women and men within the dalit community. 

    The Dalit Mahila Samiti notes in a 2008 report, "The national objective of the women's movement is still defined by middle-class women's ideas....  Identity politics and objectives are challenging to include into the national movement, and mainstream Indian feminists must include other groups' politics and values. 

    For example, national women's organizations decided that the emphasis of Women's Day festivities would be violence against women, while access to water was a significant concern for local women. 

    This signals a change away from enforcing uniformity and toward acknowledging diversity in terms of how various systems, when combined with gender, influence diverse groups of women in different ways. 

    Catharine MacKinnon, commenting on the relevance of particularity in intersectionality, points out that particularity does not imply seeing information derived from a particular group's experience as limiting, stagnant, or restrictive. 

    Instead, specificity is used to provide a more nuanced understanding of systems. 

    Intersectionality, according to MacKinnon, "reveals the simple falsity of the standard post-Enlightenment opposition between particularity and universality not only by exposing that particularity is universal but also by making a universally applicable change—including men—by embracing, rather than obscuring, denying, or eliding, particularity." Dalit Feminism, meanwhile, develops as an intersectional politics since it accounts for differences within and across communities, transforming the frameworks of mainstream Indian Feminism and Dalit Politics in the process. 

    According to DMS's report, We recognize that from a feminist viewpoint, dealing with a broad variety of concerns has been necessary, although our perception of a movement is fairly limited. 

    The 'enemy' (patriarchy) has various forms and so may be found wherever. 

    It is not a monolithic construction that can be demolished. 

    As a result, the definition of a movement must be broadened to include the whole range of actions and processes that a feminist group striving for fundamental change must engage in in order to establish a movement. 

    This remark underlines the need of incorporating diversity into mainstream Indian Feminism and Dalit Politics. 

    While autonomy has always been seen as the most important element of Dalit Feminism, dalit feminists have fought against the ghettoization of Dalit Feminism into a politics practiced only by dalit women. 

    According to the DMS study, a dalit feminist movement is not separatist. 

    In DMS, the women 'ask the males to become sathi dars, or supporters.' Even though "the call for a separate platform" by dalit women's organizations like NFDW "could be interpreted as a divisive move by both dalit men and non-dalit women," Ruth Manorama clarifies that "the proponents of such a special forum emphasize that their initiative must not be mistaken for a separatist movement." 'Rather, they claim that if their shared goal of social, economic, and political equality and justice for all is to be fulfilled, strong coalitions between the dalit movement, the women's movement, and the dalit women's movement are required,' she continues.

    In truth, this demand for solidarity isn't limited to dalit males and upper-caste women joining hands with dalit women. 

    As stressed during the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995 and the World Conference Against Racism in Durban in 2001, the need for solidarity goes beyond international societies. 

    Ruth Manorama recounts how her involvement in a cross-cultural research comparing African-Americans in the United States and dalits in India in 1986 helped her recognize the need of having talks between dalit and black women in an interview with Meena Kandasamy. 

    Shailaja Paik argues, "Despite the seemingly vast differences in the history and contemporary politics of India and the United States, by focusing on the interlocking engagements between feminist work and histories of colonialism, nationalism, law, culture, the nation-state, capital, labor relations, religion, human rights, and struggles around sexuality, [practicing solidarity] helps to rethink and revitalize feminist theory and praxis. 

    It demonstrates how understanding specificities and differences, as well as forging a common cause between dalit and African American women, is critical for building solidarity, laying out certain political possibilities, and combating various forms of Brahmanism in India and white supremacy in the United States. "

    Dalit Feminism emphasizes discussion rather than antagonism by stressing the possibility of solidarity across gender and ethnicity without eliminating specificities and disparities. 

    Comprehending Dalit Feminism in terms of the notion of difference allows us to illustrate how understanding the intersectionality of caste and gender may lead to more fruitful intellectual debates, rather than just highlighting the flaws in mainstream Indian Feminism or Dalit Politics. 

    In Dalit Feminism, the notion of difference extends beyond distinguishing 'dalit women' as distinct from 'women' and 'dalits,' and includes the development of an affinity-based politics that acknowledges the potentials of the unique. 

    The identification of two patriarchies: brahmanical and dalit patriarchies is another key contribution of the notion of difference in Dalit Feminism. 

    The acknowledgment of brahmanical and dalit patriarchies has been crucial in exposing the reality that Indian women's subjugation is multifaceted. 

    Brahmanical patriarchy, according to Uma Chakravarti, is "a system of laws and institutions in which caste and gender are intertwined, one molding the other, and women are vital in sustaining caste borders." The caste system may be repeated without compromising the hierarchical order of closed endogamous circles, each unique from and higher and lower than the others, thanks to patriarchal norms in this framework. 

    Furthermore, brahmanical norms for women varied depending on the caste group's position in the caste structure, with the most strict control over sexuality reserved for the highest castes. 

    Finally, it incorporates both an ideology of valued chaste wives and pativrata women, as well as a system of norms and institutions that sustain caste hierarchy and gender inequality via the manufacture of consent and the use of compulsion. 

    The beliefs of brahmanical patriarchy are structurally intertwined into the caste system, providing separate sets of laws for upper-caste and dalit women in terms of sexuality, marriage, and labor, as codified in brahmanical prescriptive writings like as the Manusmriti. 

    54 Because the word 'brahmanism' permits multiple sorts of repressive qualities impacting different groups of women, interpreting patriarchy as brahmanical patriarchy becomes an enabling aspect of dalit feminist politics. 

    In their memoirs Karukku and The Grip of Change, Dalit women authors like Bama and Sivakami explain how institutional oppression of caste and gender act in simultaneity, with dalit women facing sexual and physical assault not just from upper-caste people but also from dalit males. 

    Dalit Politics has sought to dismiss any such claims by claiming that there is no such thing as dalit patriarchy since all dalits are oppressed. 

    Even if there are evidence of patriarchal oppression, they argue that brahmanical patriarchy is to fault for presenting dalit males with models of dominance. 

    Kancha Ilaiah connects women's subjugation to brahmanical ceremonial practices in Why I Am Not a Hindu, pointing out that women in dalit communities do not face the same patriarchal domination as their upper-caste counterparts. 

    A Dalitbahujan lady is not required to conduct padapuja (worshiping the husband's feet) to her husband in the morning or evening, according to him. 

    She is not required to address her spouse in the same manner as she would a superior. 

    In a conflict, word for word is the socially visible standard, and abuse for abuse is the socially visible norm. 

    Although Patriarchy as a system exists among Dalitbahujan, it is far more democratic in this regard. 

    While Ilaiah acknowledges that patriarchy exists in dalit communities, he emphasizes that it is emancipatory in comparison to upper-caste patriarchy. 

    As a result, dalit women are only acknowledged in connection to brahmanical patriarchy in order to emphasize their distinction from upper-caste women. 

    In his essay, Gopal Guru highlights this point: 'Dalit males are recreating the same methods against their women that their high-caste rivals used to oppress them.' The unexpected absence of scholarly interest in this subject also reflects a widespread belief that it does not exist. 

    Challapalli Swaroopa Rani, on the other hand, believes that the concept of a democratic patriarchy in dalit culture is untrue. 

    She writes,If we come now to the subject of patriarchy, as the saying goes, ‘the size of the tree dictates the fury of the wind’, indicating that a man would mistreat those who rely upon him to the degree that his authority permits. 

    Because a dalit man lacks the same resources as an upper-caste landowner, he practices tyranny within his own boundaries. 

    However, under that patriarchal structure, democracy does not exist. 

    Dalit women are 'cruelly humiliated in public areas,' according to Swaroopa Rani, and they also experience domestic abuse and physical ailments. 

    She labels the subjugation of dalit women as "brahmanical" and "patriarchal." She refutes this 'democratic' portrayal of the dalit society by stating that a dalit man "carries out tyranny within his own bounds." 

    Furthermore, dalit patriarchy not only exists in a forceful form, but it often acts from inside, cloaked by the wider image of the dalit as a sinuous, fixed category in which caste becomes the only deciding element of analysis. 

    Dalit Feminism focuses on the junction of caste and gender and the necessity to confront them concurrently by conceiving patriarchies in all of its forms and establishing Brahmanism as the main cause. 

    The notion of feminism is also altered as a result of this research of patriarchy in its many forms.


    ~ Jai Krishna Ponnappan

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