11 April, 2021

‘Caste Works Cunningly Vis-A-Vis Food’

‘Caste Works Cunningly Vis-A-Vis Food’

Rajyashri Goody, a Pune-based artist, has compiled 80-odd recipes from 10 Dalit literary works, mainly autobiographies. For the past few years, her practice has centered on narratives of food and caste. In a conversation with Lachmi Deb Roy, she talks about Dalit food and literature. Excerpts:

What does Dalit literature say about food?

Dalit literature encompasses a rich variety of writing by Dalit communities across the country. I am just scratching the surface with my reading. Besides, new Dalit writing is coming out all the time. In many, if not all the books, food and hunger have been important themes, perhaps because one of the most significant ways that oppression is felt is through one’s stomach, whether one has enough to eat or not. Caste operates cunningly through restrictions, including on access to food.

What is Dalit food?

The food of Dalits is the same as that of other communities in the region they are from, but what makes it different is the...

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