Sairat, an account of Dalit Trauma

Boundary maintenance, built on the logics of separatism and exclusion, results in this hypervisibilization of Dalit bodies. The practice of boundary maintenance ends up creating castecized spaces that in turn become sites of trauma. Thus, the hypervisibilization of Dalit bodies functions as both the cause and the result of Dalit trauma.

The Cathartic Function of Remembrance

Now, I am seated at the very place Jo lived. There are times I wonder what Jo would have done had he lived with us during this pandemic. Would he have stepped out and broken the rules, as he is known for, set by my cousin? Would he be playing his music aloud through the day? Would he step out to the gate to receive the packages being delivered? Would we have some interesting conversations on Christianity, sexuality, and just life in general? How and for what would he shout at me? How might he babysit Hope? What exaggerated stories would he narrate about himself and his friends during our cousins’ meet? How would he have responded to my mother’s illness? I, and others here, can only imagine.

Karnan’s Double-Edged Dalit Imagination

The imagination of an imminent liberation by way of scriptwriting, music, poetry, dance, and other forms of art is not an act of naïve hopefulness but a deliberate stance against notions of fatalism and impossibilism that only further the aspirations of caste elites. To imagine “what can be” from the midst of oppression and absurdity is a sign of the creative power of Dalit agency. Dalit imagination is an affirmation of Dalit humanity and agency even as it transcends the limits set by caste brutalization.

The Reward of Doubt

Bertram Johnson, the Interfaith Minister at Union Theological Seminary, rightly observed during our online worship last Sunday that there is a “reward to doubt.” That reward, as witnessed through a moment in Thomas’ life, was an invitation to a place of vulnerability, intimacy, and grace. If faith allows us to see the renewing that the resurrection promises, doubt allows us to touch and experience the wounds that the renewing emerges from. While the process might be painful and agonizing, the reward is precious and holy. May we not stifle doubt or be threatened by it, for doubt might just be a locus for a faith deeply rooted in the flesh wounds of Jesus.

Think You’re Average? Celebrate It!

Averageness is not a weakness; it does not point to the lack of something. It is not mediocrity. If anything, I see averageness as a resistance to the capitalist notion of greatness, the need to be “the best.” I am not and I will not be. I don’t desire to be the market’s best. By saying this, I don’t mean to say that I or anyone should stop pursuing knowledge and remain stagnant. No! We ought to be the best WE can be—we set the standard for ourselves, not the market.

Confronting Entitlement: Jesus and the Guests in Luke 14

One could feel entitled to something because of one’s gender, skin pigmentation, economic status, occupation, sexual orientation and so on. Entitlement is sign of privilege and at worse pride. It functions as a mechanism of exercising control. The more wealth, (access to) power, privilege one has the more likely one feels entitled to something. It creates a feeling of superiority over the other, potentially leading to narcissism.

Let Tears Speak

When we tear we are express the language of love; when we tear we show the remaining inhabitants of our little world that there is no shame in becoming vulnerable for our loved ones; when we tear we heal each other and ourselves; and when we tear we experience a little moment of grace. Tears are sacred; stifling them is a sacrilege. Let them speak for in that little volume they speak volumes.

Embracing Hospitality: What Jesus’ Seventy Can Teach Us

Remember Jesus can come in the form of a priest, a messenger, a vulnerable stranger, an orphan, a homeless, an immigrant (from ‘shithole’ countries), and an asylum-seeking refugee. Would we be able to recognize the divine in them? Or perhaps Jesus – the man who had no place to lay his head – challenges us to receive what the stranger, the homeless, and the refugee might want to offer us. Would we?

Will The Real You Please Show Up?

I just had to ask myself if people today have inadvertently mastered the art of masquerading authenticity? We are so stuck up with our individualism and protecting our private spaces that we have forgotten what it is to really know the other person. Even our knowing has become superficial. We seem to have forgotten to ask the right questions to people. Even if we do our questions lack genuinety.

Our Compulsive Need For ONE winner Has Finally Been Exposed

To arrive at a winner by any method, no matter how ridiculous that method may seem, had unfortunately taken precedence. The International Cricket Council, in ensuring a winner is found by any means possible, suggests that there can only be ONE at the top, and that sharing has no place in a competitive world. This in many ways distorts one’s understanding of competition, competitiveness, and sportsmanship. 

What is our Lenten Ethic?

Most of us, if not all, often understand the Lenten season as a season of purposeful “disengagement” – disengagement from sin that pollutes our bodies, minds, and hearts. We commend and applaud the effort of those who voluntarily, yet temporarily, forfeit certain ‘privileges,’ forgetting that the very act of forfeiting can be privileged in itself. There is, in more ways than one, a conscious effort to appraise one’s spirituality or religiosity and strive towards ordering that facet of life. In pursuing that end, we tend to make the mistake of overlooking, belittling, or retreating from the realities around us, thereby, making lent a season of altering lifestyles and ameliorating piety rather than questioning (our privileges in the light of) the injustices around us.

Stop! Don’t Force Pregnancy With Your Questions

A woman doesn’t need to get pregnant so that her parents and in-laws can become grandparents. She doesn’t need to get pregnant so that her siblings and the siblings of her spouse can become uncles and aunts. She doesn’t need to become pregnant so that her husband can become a father. And certainly, she doesn’t need to become pregnant to shut the mouths of a few pain-in-the-wrong-place-relatives-and-friends. She and her spouse aren’t obligated to make babies to satisfy others. Remember we, as outsiders, are only called to “share” in their happiness, not “own” it.

Yes, Protests are a Spiritual Practice

Protests need not be based on religious dogmas; they only need to be based on life and death struggles of people. It isn’t in merely staging up one but in being able to engage, resist and work for change that truly captures the spirit(uality) of protests. Failure to engage in this spiritual practice would make the faith community irrelevant, cynic and unfaithful to its calling.

Let Us Be Mothers of God This Christmas

The season is a season of expectations, hopes, and aspirations and people on the streets, people in chains, and people in closets do have them. Rather than merely (and often frivolously) celebrating a long-gone ‘event’, let those around us have the opportunity to celebrate the birth of Christ as we give birth to him through acts of love and kindness, through our acts of solidarity and through our acts of resistance to oppression of every kind.

The Shulamite Lives On

What makes such scandalous relationships alive, nourishing and evocative, though being abhorred and precluded, is not just its sporadic triumphant out-turn but its repeated tendentious happenings. There are people who have engaged and are engaging in such tendentious acts.
Inter-cultural and inter-caste relationships are socially explosive love affairs. In them lie the potential to wreck external standards of morality, in them lie the potential to transform and reform love and desire, in them lie the potential to subvert hierarchical arrangements, in them lie the potential to cause social friction, and in them lie the potential to effuse healing and solidarity.

David and his Masculine Vices: A Re-reading of 2 Samuel 11: 1-17

The narrative of David and Bathsheba has for long captured the imagination of all peoples. Despite the sequence of events in this narrative, most of us still consider David as “the man after God’s own heart.” However, it was this man that brought disaster upon a home and sowed the seed of hatred and violence that ended up permeating his very home. We have conveniently embraced the ‘mighty’ and ‘powerful’ David, and perhaps even uncritically, the ‘repentant’ David. The challenge before us is to do away with the rhetoric of the ‘manly,’ ‘victorious’ and ‘mighty’ David. We must stop defending David, the libertine.

Let Love Be Love

Love can never be confined to (hu)man-made boundaries. Like the Spirit it blows wherever it so pleases. No one can control it, no one can argue with it, and no one can question it. We must all just let it work its magic within us. We must open and expose ourselves to it. Love, like the waters, is gentle and yet wild. We can’t change its course but we can let it change ours.