Sangati examines the difference between women and their different ways in which they are subject to assign and their surviving plans. In the novel the language of Dalit women is rich and creative giving way to proverbs, myth and traditional songs. Bama as a feminist writer, protests against all forms of oppression and sufferings faced by Dalit women in the first half of Sangati. But later part of Sangati moves away from the state of depression and frustration. Instead it presents a positive identity to Dalit women focusing their inner strength and life. She also attracts our mind towards the education system about Dalit community. She gave the example of Pecchiamma, who belongs to Chakkili community studied only up to fifth class. The girls of that community do not go to school all that much. Through Sangati Bama holds the mirror up to the heart of Dalit women. She makes an appeal for change and betterment of the life of a Dalit women in the variety of fields, including sex and gender discrimination, equal opportunity in work force, education rights. Actually gives the narrator a key function and controls all the incidents and events in a proper way. The narrator becomes both well-informed narrator and a controlling agent of their story who speaks out historical features of Dalit community through variety of characters, and it becomes development of novel. Bama is clear that no one is going to help the hopeless women in her community, it is up to the woman themselves to take their lives into their own hands. Hard labor and precariousness of Dalit women leads to a culture of violence, and this runs through the novel.
Sangati is full of anger because of the troubles of marginalized life that cannot be expressed in poem lines. These marginalized people who suffered from many incapacities such as Dalit suffering from untouchability, shame, domination, public suffering from poverty and hunger. Native people suffering from loss of nationality, the people suffering from lack, disorder and loss of identity. The situation of women in Dalit society is much crueler as they are ill-treated badly by the men of their community as well as by the men of the other communities. Sufferings of the Marginalized Dalit women in Bamas Sangati attempts to show how Dalit women are marginalized and oppressed by other caste men. Dalit women were dominated in their culture and society. Women need to follow their rules and regulation in their society and they were marginalized in the society.
The Dalit caste system is an recognized factor which is a shame for Indian culture its affects the socio economic and social culture system of Indian society. The Dalits were occupy the lowest position in Indian society. Dalit literature is literature about the Dalits and they are oppressed class under Indian caste system forms an important and different part of Indian literature. Dalit Literature emerged into importance and as a collective voice after 1960. It was starting with Marathi and soon appeared in Hindi, Kannada, Telugu and Tamil languages. Through self-narratives poems, short stories and most importantly autobiographies known for their practicality and for its contribution to Dalit politics. It is primarily a literature of demonstration and a demand of the oppressed for social equality. It focuses on fundamental human rights and human values. Dalit writers are desirous to remove the social exploitation and caste inequalities. They wish to change the world. Through their writings, they are re-examining and redefining their place in Indian society.
Shiva priya presents the sufferings of a woman and gender discrimination described by Bama in her Sangati with the special reference to the Dalit caste in India. In sangati Bama discuss about the women character of paraiyar community. Their life story has been described by her life stories. The novel starts with quote of, If the third is a girl to, behold, your courtyard will fill with god These lines describe about the authors grandmother shows the theme of gender Here the narrator is a little girl Bama herself.
The narrator says that in her family there is no difference between the boys and the girls at the time of their birth. But when they grow up family members given more important for boys than girls. She talks about that her family members believe in the fact that it is a lucky thing for a girl to belong to the odd number and for a boy to belong to the even number. She says that her grandmother is used go all the work of confinement and she never took anything for this work, though the upper class people never called by upper caste as she belonged to a Dalit community.
In my village it was my grandmother who attended every child birth. Only the upper caste never sent for her because she was a paraiychi.
She says that her grandmother was very beautiful and she never fell ill but she never bore ornaments because her husband had gone. Because she told herself she had become a corpse without a husband, and struggled single-handedly to care for two children. Girls are not allowed to play boys game if they do so then the people abuse them if they are playing too girls must not play boys games. The boys wont allow the girls to join with them to play, girls can play just cooking or getting married they were dominating in their caste. Bama describe about gender discrimination by her writing;
If a boy baby cries, he is instantly picked up and give milk. It is not so with the girl. Even with breast-feeding, it is the same story; a boy is breast fed longer, with the girl, they bear them quietly, making them forget the breast (7).
Bama says that even breast feeding they have given more important to boy baby for long time but the girl bear them short time and they made them to forget the breast. Girls do not have the right of education like boys. They have to suffer not only at the work field but also at home mentally and physically. When narrator asks her grandmother about the violence she says in angrily: You ask me why? Because the man was crazy with lust. Because he wanted her every single day. How could she agree to his frenzy after she worked all hours of the day and night, inside the house and out? He is an animal, that fellow. When she refused he practically broke her in half. Women do not speak among the men and they dare not to speak about right or wrong. They cannot eat before their husband the husband beat her up so much even though she was carrying a child- and all this torture just because she caught some crabs from the wet field and made a curry and ate it before he came for his meal. There is no justice for them.
Mariamma is a motherless daughter and suffered lot in her life, she has not only shamed but charged also. She tries to tell the truth in common but nobody believes her. They have believed the upper caste man in common. They have to tolerate their insult without making complaint. Here Bama give the example of Mariamma whom an upper caste fellow tries to abuse her and when she escapes from his hand she told everything to her friends they said to her, it is best if you shut up about this. If you who will get the blame; it is you who will be called a whore.
They are humiliated at church they must lick the priests shoes and we are like his slave while he threatens them with tales of God, Heaven, and Hell. They dare not to complaint. They used to humiliate by upper caste fellows and say nothing to anybody; Arokkyam said, look how unfair the fines are. Even last week when my granddaughter Paralokam went to pull up grass for the cow the owner of the field said he would help her lift the bundle on to her head. That was his excuse for holding her breasts the barbarian. He is supposed to be the owners son. He is supposed to be an educated fellow. The poor child came and told me and wept. But say we dared to tell anyone else about it.
Siva priya explains in her article the sufferings of marginalization In Sangati Bama portrays the real picture of Dalit women. She describes all aspects of paraiyars women from their birth to their death. Having so many troubles they lead their life happily. The author says that Dalit women are not only oppressed by their men but by upper castes also. Bama here makes a comparison between upper caste women and the women of her community. So she writes it is not the same for women of other castes and communities. Our women cannot bear the torment of upper caste masters in the field and at home they cannot bear the violence of their husbands. She says that in her community women are not de pending on their husbands like other castes women fully depend on their husband. Paraiyar women are economically self-dependent because they earn their own money by doing work in the field. These women have some freedom, which upper caste women do not have.
Bama discussed Dalit women as everywhere you look, you see frustrations and beatings, and the women were not allowed to get educate like boys. When they shame us we do get furious and frustrated, dominating by upper caste because we did not get educate or learnt anything they are living like slave all our life from the day they are born till the day they die. After describing all troubles and difficulties she suggests something for the benefit of women. They should bring up girls like showing no difference between them boys. We should make the girls to get freedom like we give our boys.
In Sangati, Dalit women work hard as laborers. Besides preparing food for the large family, the Dalit women workers graze in the field with the cattle. Ultimately, the tired women often may reject sex to their boozed men. As a result, they were severely beaten by their husbands. They are also exposed to sexual harassments by the upper caste men. Incidents such as one that happened to Mariamma could leave one broken and affected for life. Mariamma, Bama?s cousin, one day after having collected firewood from the forest encounters the landlord Kumarasami Ayya who tried to take advantage of the girl sexually. In a fear that his own image would be tarnished, Kumarasami Ayya went and complained to the headman of the paraiya community that he had seen Mariamma and Manikkam together in the fields behaving in a very dirty way. A meeting was called by the head of the paraiya community and both were summoned.
All the village women knew that the story was false for they had seen the two going back home at different times. But in the meeting the women were not allowed to speak. Mariamma was fined two hundred rupees and Manikkam was fined a hundred. The father of Mariamma was angry and he started hitting her as hard as he could. The naattaamai in the trial made a verdict by saying: It is you female chicks who ought to be humble and modest. A man may do a hundred things and still get away with it. You girls should consider what you are left with, in your bellies.