The paradigm of feminism in India is deeply entrenched in its socio-cultural-political-economic reality. It is an ever-evolving byproduct of patriarchy borne out of the caste-system, colonialism, urbanism (‘Westernism’), and capitalism. As a result, the plurality within Indian feminism is predicated on the multiple patriarchies that exist within the Indian society. Therefore, while parsing feminism in India, it is imperative to identify and acknowledge the various sub-groups and intersectionality that exist within the larger framework of women’s issues.

Amongst all the marginalized factions that exist within the feminist framework, this study attempts to investigate a specific caste/class-based intersectional perspective, i.e., Dalit feminism. As per the caste-system, Dalits are considered to belong to the lowest-caste. This study scrutinizes the ways in which Dalit feminism operates as an independent movement in India and is yet to find integration or adequate representation in the mainstream Indian feminist agenda. Through this study, I endeavor to unpack the notion that within the supposed feminist sisterhood in India, there exists an obvious hierarchy or sisterarchy that gives top priority to the agendas of certain feminist factions, while using benign (or deliberate) neglect to relegate other marginalized factions to the bottom.

The study utilizes articles from credible news media sources, as well as the extant literature on the history of Indian feminism, the caste system, and Dalit feminism. Additionally, it studies the pop-culture representations of Dalits in entertainment media. It also draws inferences from the one-on-one interviews conducted with Indian women activists working specifically on Dalit women’s issues.