One of the many love letters posted on Project Anti Caste Love’s Instagram page reads: âI kept this idea for my life. And when you told me it was impossible, that I couldn’t have it because of these walls of religion and caste, I was furiousâ¦ “
This excerpt exposes the grim realities of caste discrimination in our country and how such social barriers often creep into our personal relationships. Project Anti Caste Love seeks to challenge similar inequalities in the context of intimacy, as well as bring these discourses into the mainstream.
Start a speech
Although the idea behind Project Anti Caste Love was conceived in 2013 by actress, writer and activist Jyotsna Siddharth – she researched the interplay of caste, religion and relationships while pursuing her Mr Phil – she was officially launched in 2018. Notifying that the project evolved from Siddharth’s personal struggle with caste inequality and the discrimination she faced in her past romantic relationships, she says, âI knew the Caste discrimination was occurring and was rampant, but to experience it in a relationship came as a surprise. Once it has happened [to me], I started looking at it academically and realized that although there had been some work on the intersection of caste and love, popular culture lacked discourse. This is how I started it [page]. âThe letters featured on her page provide a powerful insight into the politics of romantic relationships in a country as fragmented as ours.
A political act
Love, relationships and marriage have always been topics that tend to generate serious debate. Project Anti Caste Love relies on the same understanding of social conventions. âYou can think of love as a personal matter, but when you talk about love and intimacy out loud, you automatically challenge the basic structures of family, state and government. This [the project] is therefore a political act, âsays Siddharth.
She specifically decided to showcase the medium of love letters through this project, as it allows readers to discern the innermost feelings and dilemmas that two people share, as well as the stigma they may have felt. . âAs individuals, we only have access to our own love letters. The idea was to create a culture of reading these letters because they give us insight into relationships. This would help people understand that some experiences are not only personal, but exist at the community level and therefore have political connotations. “
By highlighting the stories of intercast couples, Siddharth attempts to address the larger and deeper foundations of oppression. She also shared movie recommendations and other resources in the past that can help subscribers tackle the topic consistently.