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Caste Atrocities and Social Media

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The high frequency of atrocities occurring particularly against the Dalits tragically underscores the enigma about which B R Ambedkar had spoken several decades ago. He had questioned why atrocities occurred against the untouchables only. The enigma repeats itself today with greater gravity. Atrocities have acquired the form of a carnival that involves stages, where an atrocity is produced and witnessed with vicarious pleasure at one level, and also offers the realisation of caste domination at another. Thus, parading Dalit women and men naked would be an opportunity for many to seek vicarious pleasure, while flogging Dalits publicly would accomplish the project of social superiority by dominant castes. This is thanks to today’s social media, particularly its visual incarnation, which has made the carnival of caste possible.

Before the arrival (roughly in 2004) of social media, with moving and live images, the news of caste atrocities that used to appear in the print form in different newspapers did enable particularly the Dalits to imagine the nature and intensity of caste atrocities. Reflecting on atrocities through print news led to the collective imagination of the Dalits. It was in this sense that the ability to collectively reflect through print media led to the social imagination of the Dalits. Social media in contemporary times does have affective and diverse impacts on the victims as well as the tormentor.

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Updated On : 3rd Mar, 2020

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