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The Trauma of Caste

Written by: Thenmozhi Soundararajan,Tarana Burke - foreword,Aishah Shahidah Simmons,Cornel West - afterword
Narrated by: Thenmozhi Soundararajan
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Publisher's Summary

For fans of Caste and Radical Dharma, an urgent call to action to end caste apartheid, grounded in Dalit feminist abolition and engaged Buddhism.

“Dalit” is the name that we chose for ourselves when Brahminism declared us “untouchable.” Dalit means broken. Broken by suffering. Broken by caste: the world’s oldest, longest-running dominator system...yet although “Dalit” means broken, it also means resilient.

Despite its ban more than 70 years ago, caste is thriving. Every 15 minutes, a crime is perpetrated against a Dalit person. The average age of death for Dalit women is just 39. And the wreckages of caste are replicated here in the U.S., too—erupting online with rape and death threats, showing up at work, and forcing countless Dalits to live in fear of being outed.

Dalit American activist Thenmozhi Soundararajan puts forth a call to awaken and act, not just for listeners in South Asia, but all around the world. She ties Dalit oppression to fights for liberation among Black, Indigenous, Latinx, femme, and Queer communities, examining caste from a feminist, abolitionist, and Dalit Buddhist perspective—and laying bare the grief, trauma, rage, and stolen futures enacted by Brahminical social structures on the caste-oppressed.

Soundararajan’s work includes embodiment exercises, reflections, and meditations to help listeners explore their own relationship to caste and marginalization—and to step into their power as healing activists and changemakers. She offers skills for cultivating wellness within dynamics of false separation, sharing how both oppressor and oppressed can heal the wounds of caste and transform collective suffering. Incisive and urgent, The Trauma of Caste is an activating beacon of healing and liberation, written by one of the world’s most needed voices in the fight to end caste apartheid.

©2022 Thenmozhi Soundararajan (P)2022 North Atlantic Books

Critic Reviews

“Thenmozhi Soundararajan is the most profound and prophetic Dalit American voice of her generation. The Trauma of Caste is a trailblazing and pathbreaking work that rips the veil of Brahmin supremacy in the South Asian diaspora within the United States as well as across the world.… I urge everyone to read this book and pass it forward, for these are the genocidal times that try our souls. Let the fire of resistance free all our oppressed peoples.”—Professor Cornel West, New York Times best-selling author of Race Matters, Democracy Matters, and Black Prophetic Fire

“… an irresistible cri de coeur, The Trauma of Caste is at once an embodied meditation and simultaneously a literary hand grenade blowing open the torturous prison and agony of caste.… Thenmozhi makes clear that as genocide and ethnonationalism looms in South Asia, the stakes have never been higher. The responsibility for change cannot be on the shoulders of the oppressed. It is up to each and every one of us to rise for Dalit people now.”—V (formerly Eve Ensler), author of The Vagina Monologues and The Apology 

“Searing, powerful, and haunting, this book is a must-read for all of us who are committed to a world grounded in human rights and caste and gender equity. The book is a clarion call for revolution, and I would urge all to heed its call.”—Govind Acharya, India Country Specialist, Amnesty International US 

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  • Teresa
  • 07-12-22

Fabulous

Fabulous read. Very insightful! Made me shift my thinking which is always good. I like the biographies of prominent figures in the appendix!

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  • Mr Naangal
  • 25-12-22

Due work completed

Thank you Thenmozhi! The psychological setback aspect of the Caste is not even on the agenda for victims for caste. It is of absolute necessity to start the healing process. I hope your work in the book kicks off more and more much needed discussions in community around addressing the traumas of caste.
Highly recommend this beautiful book to everyone specially to the ones on suffering side of story.