Interviews: Dhanya Addanki | Artwork: Mon M.

Rev. Evangeline Anderson-Rajkumar

"When you make Dalit bodies so powerful and strong that there is no liberation without the Dalit touch — that’s the kind of affirmation that we need to arrive at."

Dr. John Boopalan

"Caste is a lie; the lie is that if you protect your caste identity, things will be well for you. It’s partly true in terms of power and control but in terms of having a good life, it doesn’t work."

Daniel Sunkari

"That identity of being a crushed person is put on us; it lives in us and it’s hard to shake and it’s rare that we get a chance to heal from it. If you do it the immigrant way of 'it doesn’t matter, I don’t care, I’m gonna hustle and just ignore this [identity]' but what I’m trying to figure out is engaging with my identity — how do we heal and find love in being known in our Dalitness?"

Mimi Mondal

"Growing up in Calcutta, I faced a lot of things that I didn’t even register as casteism because they were not being framed as casteism… As a child you don’t get offended that much because offense takes a framework."

Dr. Jebaroja Singh

"Until I started voicing my Dalit identity, it was not a problem. Then I saw the attitudes."

Veena Wilhelm

"There’s this expectation that women hold up the reputation of the caste, women become responsible for proving, I think, that our caste can be just as good as another by policing ourselves. [Historically] higher caste women were expected to police themselves heavily but women from my caste were forced to do the opposite."

Dhanya Addanki is an editor, writer, and photographer, working mainly in advocacy, human rights, and justice oriented spaces. She was born in South India and raised in South Texas. Her fellowship with SAADA focused on the liberation of the Dalit community and the work being done by community members. The Archival Creators Fellowship Program is made possible with a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Read Dhanya's writings about her fellowship project in TIDES:
• A Guide to Liberatory Storytelling
• Hiding in Plain Sight
• The False Authority of Dalit History
• There Is No Liberation in Isolation