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Article Title

Dalit Women and Water

Authors

Janice Lazarus

Document Type

Original Research

Abstract

The term Dalit means, “crushed” or “broken” and has come to represent those groups which have been traditionally considered to be outside the women in a hamlet in Mahabubnagar district of Andhra Pradesh (now Telangana), India, this paper highlights Dalit women’s experiences related to water use, collection and access that are often shaped by their caste and gender positions. The study is qualitative in nature and employs a phenomenological approach with interviews as the data-collection method. Water is scarce in this community and fetching water often takes place at privately owned wells where discrimination based on caste and gender can incite violence. The lack of public (i.e. state supported) water supply and infrastructure further marginalizes Dalits as they have to depend on privately owned water sources, caste groups. This dependency of Dalits to draw water from sources owned by upper caste individuals creates space for discrimination against Dalits while reinforcing caste structures. Experiences of violence and discrimination while collecting water are documented here as is the effort of women in community to organize and create better access to water.

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