Yashica Dutt

(SPEAKER)

Mumbai, India

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Yashica Dutt is an Indian writer who writes on various social issues like gender inequality, caste discrimination, class, and identity.She grew up in a family which is observed as untouchables, [15]Scroll.in also identified as Dalit, a group at the bottom of the caste system hierarchy in Indian society.According to Yashica, her mother, Shashi, was worried about her admission to a private school as she knew that belonging to such a caste in the society with poor financial conditions would make it complicated and worse for Yashica to survive in a school which had students from upper class as well. Looking at the situation, Shashi advised Yashica to hide her identity of being a “Dalit” and make everyone in the school believe that she belonged to an upper class of society. [16]Scroll.in.

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Yashica Dutt is an Indian writer who writes on various social issues like gender inequality, caste discrimination, class, and identity.She grew up in a family which is observed as untouchables, [15]Scroll.in also identified as Dalit, a group at the bottom of the caste system hierarchy in Indian society.According to Yashica, her mother, Shashi, was worried about her admission to a private school as she knew that belonging to such a caste in the society with poor financial conditions would make it complicated and worse for Yashica to survive in a school which had students from upper class as well. Looking at the situation, Shashi advised Yashica to hide her identity of being a “Dalit” and make everyone in the school believe that she belonged to an upper class of society. [16]Scroll.in.In an interview, Yashica Dutt shared how she used to follow her mother’s advice and tried every possible thing to make sure that no one gets to know her caste. Yashica also revealed that she used to observe the lifestyle of other “upper-class” girls in her dormitory; moreover, Yashica would often apply ubtan (face pack) that her mother gave her to avoid the “Dalit look” on her face. [17]Scroll.in Yashica said, I was born a light-skinned child who grew up to be progressively darker, until my skin tone was the same as Mum’s. This became a constant source of anxiety for her. Before I was old enough to remember or protest, she started bathing me with ubtans – something I had no choice but to follow till middle school.” [18]Scroll.in She added, My seven years so far had taught me nothing about standing up for myself, or defending what I thought was right. I also lacked the entitlement that a combination of wealth and caste pride allow many, even at that young age, to take on much older, more influential bullies with fortitude. I was poor and pretending to be upper caste in a hostel filled with mostly older girls; I had to fit in.” [19]Scroll.in.In the interview, Yashica admitted that studying in a convent school and changing her surname was helpful for her to appear as a non-Dalit in society. [20]Scroll.in She said, My convent school education, a non-Dalit sounding last name, and skin colour that was ‘dusky but still not dirty’ eased my passing as a non-Dalit. “Beta, what caste are you from?” “Aunty, Brahmin.” A lie I spoke so often and with such conviction, that I not only fooled my friends’ mothers but even myself.” [21]The Indian Express.According to Yashica, her family adopted the surname ‘Dutt’ and replaced their original surname ‘Nidaniya.’ [22]PBS NewsHour.In an interview, Yashica Dutt recalled her first experience of accepting her caste as a Dalit in public. According to her, she was 15 when she visited her friend’s house, where she was offered to have a glass of water by her friend’s mother, and right after that, she was asked about her caste to which Yashica revealed her true caste following which she was asked to leave. [23]PBS NewsHour – YouTube Yashica added that after a few days when she met her friend again, she told Yashica that her parents wanted her to not be friends with her. [24]PBS NewsHour – YouTube.According to Yashica, she did not let anyone know about her caste for more than a decade. [25]PBS NewsHour.Reportedly, in 2016, after the incident of suicide committed by an Indian PhD student at Hyderabad Central University to protest against the discrimination faced by all Dalits across South Asia including him, Yashica Dutt came out as a Dalit publically. [26]PBS NewsHour.After declaring herself a Dalit, Yashica invited people to write about their part of the stories and send them on Facebook and Tumbler. [27]PBS NewsHour.

Performance Details

7

Off Stage Members

1

Performing Members

60-90 Min

Performance Duration

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Nationwide

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