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Inspired by stories about and by the Untouchables, this paper aims to read the Untouchables for a certain sense of community, which challenges our usual understanding of being in common. In Indian culture, history, and society, the Untouchables, as the outside or other side of the caste system, prove to be a crucial point to question any social hierarchy whatsoever, in its explicit as well as implicit forms. This paper is therefore an attempt to reconsider, with the help of various anthropological insights (such as those by R. S. Khare and others) as well as contemporary discursive analyses (like Viswanathan‘s investigations), the structure and culture of hierarchy in Indian society in particular and in human society in general. I see some connection between the issue of the Untouchables and the interests in "touch" (Derrida) or "inoperative community" (Nancy) in sophisticated Western theory. The paper will try to make sense of what is really remarkable in "Dalit representation," in two senses: Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar‘s Dalit Movement, which evolved within and alongside the Indian Independence Movement, and which critically exposed the limit of Indian Nationalist discourse and politics, as well as a cluster of stories linked by the common experience of dalits through the metaphor of "poisoned bread." The Untouchables, who always give without "proper" returns, point to the direction of the (im)possibility of the gift.

KEY WORDS: Dalit, the Untouchables, Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar, caste, gift, community

摘 要

本論文受印度賤民自已所寫關於自己的故事啟發,試 圖從所謂「不可接觸」的種姓制度賤民的特殊位置,找到 「共同體」的另類意義,而且挑戰一般所認為人們「在一 起」的意義內容。歷史上,印度社會文化之中,不可接觸 的賤民位於社會階層和種姓制度的底層,或「另一邊」、「外 面」。事實上,賤民的問題彰顯了所有隱然或明顯的社會 階層的問題。本論文因此希望藉賤民之力(或賤民之 「位」),加上人類學研究的貢獻(如 Khare 的研究)以及 論述分析的發現(如 Viswananthan 的書),重新考慮印度 社會的階層文化與結構,進而檢討人類社會的階級性難 局。另一方面,本文作者也發現繁複的當代西方理論中有 些主題可以幫助我們看待賤民問題,如德希達對「觸」的 解讀,以及南希(Nancy,或譯儂曦)對「無為共同體」 的理論。更重要的,本論文最後要討論「賤民再現/代表」 (Dalit representation)的兩種意義:第一,安貝卡(Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar)組織的賤民運動,試圖在印度階級精英 領導的獨立運動之中謀得種姓制度的革命,同時暴露出印 度民族獨立運動與論述的極限;第二,賤民如何透過以「沾 毒麵包」的隱喻為核心的多元故事,自己再現自己?賤民 「給」,總是得到不足的回報,使不可接觸之賤民成為積 極意義下「禮物」的可能形式。

關鍵詞:賤民、印度不可接觸者、安貝卡、種姓制度、共 同體、禮物