17 November 2010

"Goddess of English" Breaks Caste Chains

"Goddess of English" Breaks Caste Chains, by Ranjit Devraj (Asia Times, 17 November 2010)

India's Dalits are turning to the "Goddess of English" for deliverance from centuries of religiously-sanctioned caste oppression.

Dalits, meaning literally “the broken people”, have begun erecting a temple to their new muse in the Lakhimpur Kheri district of northern Uttar Pradesh, a sprawling state of 190 million people, regarded as the heartland of orthodox Hinduism.

The inspiration for the idol of the goddess is unmistakable for the close resemblance it bears to the Statue of Liberty in New York. But – instead of a flaming torch – the goddess holds aloft a pen with her right hand, and cradles a book in the crook of her left arm.

Also, where Hindu deities are usually portrayed standing on a lotus flower pedestal, the Goddess of English stands on a computer console, signifying the technological age that the Dalits hope to enter. It also represents a break with a traditional past that has been so cruel to Dalits, once regarded as untouchables and forced to do menial work.
Link: "Goddess of English" Breaks Caste Chains