Wednesday, Sep 28, 2022
×
Outlook.com
×
75 Years Of India's Independence

We The People: A Personal Cry For Freedom From Conforming To Society

Vijay, a Dalit, queer student wants freedom from casteism to judgement on queer fashion, and more

Vijay, Dalit Queer Student

How does one define freedom? I feel that I often end up defining it in opposition to something like many speculative writers before me who imagined dys/utopias; freedom from something, freedom to be. Would freedom be experienced and thought of the same way if not in our world? Freedom and the experience of it differs from person to person, however there must be some freedoms that need to be fundamental in order to foster an equitable society.

As I write this, there’s a part of me that fears, that I am being watched always, mostly online  because digital surveillance is normalised and not talked about enough in our society. Which thought and action of mine could land me in prison? Or will the State and its agents let it slide if the actions are of low impact in a world of internet and social media, where fake news fed to us leads to systemic spreading of hate, violence on bodies, minds, knowledge and spirit, oppression, xenophobia, ruin of democracy and environment. I feel I am not as brave and resilient as those who are in prisons across the country on bogus charges, for doing the right thing, to stand up for the world we deserve, for being who they are.

But I am no stranger to surveillance. Caste takes many forms. Surveillance is one of them.. like my sister in school is being asked whether she can speak Tambram Tamizh (Tamil spoken by Tamil Brahmin), to her classmates who denounce certain cuisines…

To quote Anthony Bourdain, ‘let’s call what it is, racism’. Here it is more about casteism. Being forced to fit into Savarna stereotypes or to pay the price for not conforming to them. Caste dictates one’s thoughts, feelings and living in general. I do not want someone walking up to me in class asking, ‘why are you wearing nail paint?’, someone staring at my pretty painted toes while I collect the courier of my STI (sexually transmitted infections) home-test kit, then whispering loud enough for the delivery partner to notice it, wondering out loud what my profession could be. My parents being worried about what the world will think of my sexuality and the family, me trying to fit into norms of bodies, sex, of gauging my actions, performance, intellect, abilities in a meritocratic way rather than a structural way that robs my communities of dignity?

I want freedom from all these and more.

Liked the story? Do you or your friends have a similar story to share about 'ordinary' Indians making a difference to the community? Write to us. If your story is as compelling, we'll feature it online. Click here to submit. 

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement