Project Anti Caste Love: Challenging social conventions by chronicling love letters

Love, relationships, and marriage have always been topics that tend to spark serious debates. Project Anti Caste Love draws upon the same understanding of social conventions

author_img Anjani Chadha Published :  09th November 2021 11:31 AM   |   Published :   |  09th November 2021 11:31 AM
Anti Caste_Love

Project Anti Caste Love

One of the many love letters posted on the Instagram page of Project Anti Caste Love reads, “I held on to this idea for dear life. And when you told me that it is impossible, that I could not have it because of these walls of religion and caste, I was infuriated…"

This excerpt exposes the ugly realities of caste-based discrimination in our country, and how such social barriers often crawl into our personal relationships. Project Anti Caste Love seeks to question similar inequalities in the context of intimacy, as well as usher these discourses into the mainstream.

Starting a discourse
Though the idea behind Project Anti Caste Love was conceived in 2013 by actor, writer, and activist Jyotsna Siddharth—she was researching the interplay of caste, religion, and relationships while pursuing her M.Phil—it was officially launched in 2018. Informing that the project evolved from Siddharth’s personal struggle against caste inequalities and the discrimination that she faced in her past romantic relationships, she says, “I knew that caste discrimination happens and it is rampant, but to experience that in a relationship came as a surprise. Once that happened [to me], I started looking at it academically and realised that while there has been work on the intersection of caste and love, the discourse was missing from popular culture. That is how I started this [page].”  The letters featured on her page provide a piercing 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 spark serious debates. Project Anti Caste Love draws upon the same understanding of social conventions. “One may consider love as a personal affair but when one talks about love and intimacy out loud, they automatically question the basic structures of family, state, and government. It [the project] is hence, a political act,” says Siddharth.

She specifically decided to showcase the medium of love letters through this project because it allows readers to discern the innermost feelings and dilemmas that two people share, along with the stigma they may have experienced. “As individuals, we only have access to our own love letters. The idea was to create a culture of reading these letters since they give us an insight into relationships. This would help people understand that a few experiences are not just personal but exist on a community level, and hence have political undertones.”

By bringing to light the stories of inter-caste couples, Siddharth tries to attack bigger and deeper foundations of oppression. She has also shared film recommendations and other resources in the past that can help the followers engage with the subject matter in a cohesive manner.

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