Othering the ‘Other’: Critiquing P. Sivakami’s The Grip of Change


  • Suraiya Shahin M. Phil Research Scholar English Literature Jamia Millia Islamia University New Delhi. 110025 India


‘ Literature from the margins’ enables us to have a look on the persisting monopolized system of powerful upper class people where dalit men in general and dalit women in particular are thrashed socially, politically as well as economically. Such a literature brings forth all the resistible, silent and suppressed voice of silent tongues questioning can such marginalized body be able to resist against the painful attacks?

My paper aims at interpreting the frequently tortures, subjugation and marginalization of dalit women via P. Sivakami’s masterpiece The Grip of the Change (2006) that is a semi-autobiographical novel. Sivakami delineates the undergone victimization and atrocities inflicted on a dalit widow (Thangum) by upper caste men. It reflects the monopoly of a polygamous society where this dalit woman appears puppet in the hands of upper caste men. The novel revolves around a dalit widow ‘Thangum’ whom patriarchal system crushes through all means.  She is a dalit widow whose husband leaves the world in his early stage of life. After the death of her husband she became the victim of sexual attacks in the hands of her in-laws. The difficult circumstances and hardship compel her to work in the field of upper caste owner Udayar. Now, her body becomes instrument of sexual-pleasure for her field owner Udayar who forgets casteism while establishing sexual intercourse with her but on the contrary he unhesitantly accuses her to be a whore when the relationship becomes public. What could a dalit woman like Thangum do who neither belonged to her home nor to world? She hurriedly arrives to Kathamuthu, a dalit village- panchayat, carrying her complaints to overcome her tortures but there also somewhat she had to encounter the same patriarchal mechanisms.


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