A true study of the history of the subcontinent would reveal that resistance has taken many forms – as movements, as subcultures, and even as individual acts of agency. Unfortunately, we do not have a sufficient written record of our struggle against the deep injustice of caste and brahmanical patriarchy, because historiography has long been hegemonised by the dominant castes, as part of their almost absolute control over knowledge production.
Over time, entire movements against brahmanism have been erased or co-opted, their anti-caste thrust obscured by the propaganda of the dominant castes. Examples of these lie all over the subcontinent, whether it be the Bhakti movement, the Dravidian movement, or the revolutionary origin of Buddhism itself. Within this history, the stories of those who exist on the margins of both caste, gender and sexuality, whose identities do not fit strictly into structures and binaries, have further been lost. It is important that we remember the legacies of our queer and trans ancestors, and of women from marginalised castes, that have made our living possible.
To this day, caste continues to propagate within both the queer and feminist movements in India. Debrahmanising Gender is an attempt to excavate our histories as well as write about our present, while maintaining ownership of our work. We are inspired by the sheer vastness of the subject, and of the possibilities of combining Ambedkarite, anti-caste thought with queer theory, gender abolition, transformative justice and the diverse politics of our bodies. We want to document stories of our existence and resistance, and commit to reimagining our world as we would like to see it.
Who can apply
You must belong to a marginalised caste and/or tribal community (of any religion) and while we urge queer, trans and non-binary people to apply, we also understand that not everyone has the privilege to be open about these parts of their identity. We will also maintain anonymity on all our public platforms if the creator wishes to not reveal their name.
Our selection criteria are loose and we do not value academic scholarship as much work informed by your history and lived experiences, presented in new and creative ways.
We do not require you to have prior published work, as we encourage new artists and writers. But you must send us art and writing examples that may be unpublished and works in progress as writing samples/references for your style.
We invite you to explore your own ideas under the overarching theme of “Debrahmanising Gender”, and interpret the subject through the medium or discipline of your choosing. You are free to combine and redefine existing mediums of expression, work individually or in small groups. We urge you to create work that is based on your lived experiences and the history of your own community, and would like for you to be able to dig deep and find the expression that suits you best, using our grant briefs as a guide. You are also encouraged to suggest entirely new ideas and projects unconstrained by form or discipline, as well as tell us what you would like to see us do with this issue. All ideas are welcome.
Some theme ideas that you could explore under “Debrahmanising Gender” are:
- Desire, desirability and pleasure
- Food, caste and gender
- Gender and environmental justice, land and indigenous movements
- Caste and trans communities and their traditions
- Oral histories, folklore and mythology
- Gender abolition and the anti-caste movement
- Gender and faith, spirituality and religion
- Gender and indigeneity
- Politics of touch
- Gender, caste and the economy
- Gender and the Pasmanda discourse
- Caste, communal violence and gender
Caste, disability and genderThis is the second round of submissions under this topic. The final date for submission of proposals is 15th October 2022.
We offer one research fellowship in the second round of applications for a six-month long research + writing project. At the end of the time period, fellows will produce a piece of work that could take the form of a research paper, narrative non-fiction, or mixed media piece that could combine writing, art and audiovisual content.
Grant amount per fellowship – ₹1,50,000 for the whole period, which will be split into a monthly stipend of ₹25,000 for 6 Months.
We offer two art grants, which could be for both individual art pieces or a few smaller pieces, depending on the artist’s individual pitch. You are free to choose and combine styles and mediums; artworks can also be purely digital.
Grant amount per person – ₹15,000
We offer two poetry grants for a single poem or a series of poems, based on your pitch.
Grant amount per person – ₹15,000
You can either submit finished poetry or send us a poetry pitch that you would like to work on.
We offer one fiction grant, for one short story (3000-5000 words).
Grant amount – ₹15,000
We offer one grant for illustrated fiction/non-fiction/zine which can be for one person, or divided between two people, one artist and one writer.
Grant amount (total) – ₹20,000
How to Apply
To apply for our grants, click on any category below and fill the form:
To apply, please fill up the forms linked in each of the grant categories above. Keep your applications as concise as possible and follow the word limit mentioned with each question.
If you have any queries, please email us at [email protected]
Next steps: We will follow up with audio/video calls and interviews to discuss shortlisted proposals for the research grant, and may do so for other grants subject to the number of applications. We will announce the first round of grantees 2-3 weeks after the applications close.
If you require specific support for your piece, we can arrange for mentorship from an experienced researcher/writer/artist from the community who is suited to the topic you have chosen, along with consistent support from our core team. Our team will also assist you with structuring, editing and proofreading your work.
Note: Except the research fellowship, other grant numbers are flexible and subject to the pitches we receive. Grant amounts will not be reduced, but might be reallocated if we are short on applications for some categories.