CENTRE FOR THE STUDY OF SOCIAL EXCLUSION AND INCLUSIVE POLICY (CSSEIP)
SCHOOL OF SOCIAL SCIENCES, JAWAHARLAL NEHRU UNIVERSITY
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Repressed Caste Guilt and Remorse: Understanding Caste Violence in India
Dr. L. David Lal
Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Indian Institute of Information Technology Guwahati (IIITG), Bongora, Guwahati
This research paper delves into the profound complexities surrounding caste-based atrocities in Uttar Pradesh with a specific focus on the interplay of hostility, guilt, and collective responsibility among Dalits and upper-caste individuals. Drawing upon court cases as primary sources, this study thoughtfully addresses pivotal questions related to the origins of animosity between these communities, the moral detachment observed among upper-caste perpetrators, the gradual erosion of guilt in those involved in heinous acts, and the pervasive avoidance of collective guilt. Informed by the critical theories of the Frankfurt School, notably through the perspective of Theodor Adorno, and enriched by psychoanalytic insights from Anna Freud, this research underscores the urgent necessity to confront both individual and collective guilt within the upper-caste demographic. This approach, aligned with Claudia Leeb's concept of "embodied reflective judgments," strives to create a harmonious integration of rational cognition and emotional sensibilities. The study not only revisits past atrocities but also offers a profound examination of the potential of guilt, both individual and collective, in averting the recurrence of future acts of violence, ultimately seeking to comprehend and address the intricate aftermath of such atrocities.