Mother Tongues—the Disruptive Possibilities of Feminist Vernaculars

Laura Brueck*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


This essay considers the methodological intervention of understanding a ‘mother tongue’ (matribhasha) as a gendered vernacular. It seeks to illustrate the subversive potential of the vernacular as a gendered lens though which we can understand the Dalit feminist critiques of caste hierarchies and Dalit and non-Dalit patriarchies, and the places they intersect. The essay considers the works of Anita Bharti and Meena Kandasamy, contemporary Dalit women authors who write in Hindi and English, respectively. Thus, this paper extends the definition of the vernacular beyond the confines of linguistic and regional specificity, allowing for a feminist reclamation of the term.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)988-1008
Number of pages21
JournalSouth Asia: Journal of South Asia Studies
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2 2020


  • Dalit
  • feminism
  • literary criticism
  • literature
  • mother tongue
  • poetry
  • Premchand
  • vernacular
  • ‘The Thakur’s Well’

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • History
  • Development
  • Sociology and Political Science


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