Caste Violence and State Violence
This chapter studies two often-intersecting forms of violence peculiar to the postcolonial Indian state: the “caste atrocity” and the “encounter killing.” It begins with Arundhati Roy's novel The God of Small Things, where the Dalit man Velutha is lynched by the state police acting to preserve caste boundaries in Kerala of the 1960s. The novel's nonlinear temporal architecture reorganizes the heteronormative, forward-looking telos of caste as a form of the so-called “chronobiopolitics”—namely, the sexual arrangement of the time of life of entire populations. The chapter also explores two recent “atrocity photographs” of beaten and killed Adivasi women, asking how this genre of photography constitutes public understanding about caste atrocity as a form of violence.
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