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Beyond PartitionGender, Violence, and Representation in Postcolonial India$
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Deepti Misri

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780252038853

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252038853.001.0001

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Atrocious Encounters

Atrocious Encounters

Caste Violence and State Violence

(p.87) 3 Atrocious Encounters
Beyond Partition

Deepti Misri

University of Illinois Press

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.

Keywords:   caste atrocity, encounter killing, Arundhati Roy, The God of Small Things, chronobiopolitics, atrocity photographs, state violence

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