by Thenmozhi Soundararajan, foreword by Tarana Burke, afterword by Dr. Cornel West
North Atlantic Books
"Dalit" is the name that we chose for ourselves when Brahminism declared us "untouchable." Dalit means broken. Broken by suffering. Broken by caste: the world's oldest, longest-running dominator system... yet although "Dalit" means broken, it also means resilient.
Caste--one of the oldest systems of exclusion in the world--is thriving. Despite the ban on Untouchability 70 years ago, caste impacts 1.9 billion people in the world. Every 15 minutes, a crime is perpetrated against a Dalit person. The average age of death for Dalit women is just 39. And the wreckages of caste are replicated here in the U.S., too--erupting online with rape and death threats, showing up at work, and forcing countless Dalits to live in fear of being outed.
Dalit American activist Thenmozhi Soundararajan puts forth a call to awaken and act, not just for readers in South Asia, but all around the world. She ties Dalit oppression to fights for liberation among Black, Indigenous, Latinx, femme, and Queer communities, examining caste from a feminist, abolitionist, and Dalit Buddhist perspective--and laying bare the grief, trauma, rage, and stolen futures enacted by Brahminical social structures on the caste-oppressed.
Soundararajan's work includes embodiment exercises, reflections, and meditations to help readers explore their own relationship to caste and marginalization--and to step into their power as healing activists and changemakers. She offers skills for cultivating wellness within dynamics of false separation, sharing how both oppressor and oppressed can heal the wounds of caste and transform collective suffering. Incisive and urgent, The Trauma of Caste is an activating beacon of healing and liberation, written by one of the world's most needed voices in the fight to end caste apartheid.
"...a tour de force for caste annihilation. Thenmozhi deftly weaves through personal story, ancestral resistance, and political histories to illuminate vital truths, shatter myths, world-build transnational solidarities, and uplift courage and love through this embodied text.... This work is intellectually fierce, profoundly necessary, and a compelling must-read for us all." -- Harsha Walia, author of Undoing Border Imperialism and Border and Rule
"Thenmozhi Soundararajan is the most profound and prophetic Dalit American voice of her generation. The Trauma of Caste is a trailblazing and pathbreaking work that rips the veil of Brahmin supremacy in the South Asian diaspora within the United States as well as across the world.... I urge everyone to read this book and pass it forward, for these are the genocidal times that try our souls. Let the fire of resistance free all our oppressed peoples." -- Professor Cornel West, New York Times best-selling author of Race Matters, Democracy Matters, and Black Prophetic Fire
About the Author:
Thenmozhi Soundararajan is a Dalit American artist, community organizer, technologist, and theorist. She is the co-founder and ED of Equality Labs, the largest Dalit civil rights organization. Her work has been recognized by the White House, The Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center, The Museum of Contemporary Art and The Sorbonne.