Indian caste - system has taken away the voices of so many. These people are considered the “lowest” in India. They are the Dalits. This age-old system has only strengthened in recent years. Dehumanising atrocities by the “upper” caste continues to haunt these communities. In past years, young musicians and artists have been coming forward to produce protest art/music movements to educate and unite people against these brutalities.


This project explores the Dalit reality of three generations. ‘‘Voices of three generations.’’ Mr Neelakandan lives in Malappuram, a district in Northern Kerala. He shares how life was 70 years ago for a person who hails from a Dalit community. Along with the video narrated by Mr Neelakandan and portraits, this project collectively questions the fragility and instability of the false reality lived by the ‘’upper’’ caste communities of India.

Allocation of labour based on caste was and is practised in India. People who belong to the ‘’lower’’ strata of the caste system are restricted to jobs that are considered as ‘’filthy’’ or ‘’too polluting’’ to the upper castes. From farming to manual scavenging, Dalits face abuse and poor or no remuneration. Even though the majority of the Dalits undertook tasks related to agriculture, none of them owned a single inch of land. Neelakandan was a cattle rearer who used to work long hours. He later was taken away to a different city by his father due to the abuse from the landlord. When analysing the characteristics of the occupations allocated to the marginalised communities, everything is closely associated with nature. By creating diptychs, this project also explores the similarities between a Dalit man and nature.These photographs are also a reminder of the senseless caste system, where Dalits are ‘‘believed’’ to have come from Brahma’s (Hindu god) legs. 

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