These are claims specifically made for recognition in the public sphere as poets, writers, scholars, and critics. The essay argues that the shift to the new notion and function of contemporary Dalit writing could be conceptualized by mapping larger structural changes, such as the emergence of the new social groups and the rise of Dalit writing, within the Telugu public sphere and through a reading of Dalit discourse, including Dalit poetry, as forms of debates and literary controversies.
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Book Review: Anupama Roy, The Caste Question: Dalits and the Politics of Modern India
You could not be signed in. Client Account. Sign In Forgot password? Don't have an account? Gandhi attacked untouchability but also romanticized the caste system in some of his pronouncements. A deep and wide-ranging thinker, Ambedkar converted to Buddhism toward the end of his life as a protest against caste. This collection includes the pivotal Annihilation of Caste and some of his writings on Buddhism. David Rubin. I am cheating here—this is not a book. I read it in my high school Hindi class, where it made an enormous impression on me.
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The story presents the thoughtless and tragic exploitation of Dukhi Chamar by a Brahmin from whom he needs a favor. Premchand is regarded as a master of social realism, but the macabre final scene of the story, juxtaposed to the title, exceeds any tame sense of realism. In , the story was adapted as a TV film directed by Satyajit Ray available on YouTube with sub-titles —so read the story, and then compare the film. This novel, published in , is a widely taught classic by an important Indian writer in English.
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It presents a day in the life of a Dalit manual scavenger Bakha, who bitterly ruminates on his lot in often florid language. The novel ends famously with Bakha attending a meeting at which Gandhi appears. In many ways the novel has not aged well, and has come in for its share of criticism for the depiction of Bakha. Nevertheless, it raises interesting questions about the literary depiction of a fictional Dalit life in English.
Ananthamurthy was a towering national figure in India who wrote in Kannada. The novel, set in South India and written in , is a devastating psychological study of the progressive dissolution of a respected Brahmin challenged in his orthodoxy. Samskara was translated into English by the renowned poet A.
Ramanujan, and an acclaimed movie adaptation was made in Published in in Marathi, this autobiography helped bring particular attention to the experiences of Dalit women. Pawar recounts her life over many decades including her childhood in a rural part of Western India, conversion to Buddhism, move to the great metropolis of Bombay, and involvement in the movement for Dalit emancipation. Among other things, the book, translated by Maya Pandit, powerfully registers the evolving nature of Dalit life and politics during the twentieth century.
Arjun Dangle. This anthology, edited by a prominent Dalit writer, brought to national and international visibility the Boom in Dalit literature in Marathi. The book includes poetry, fiction and non-fiction autobiographical writing as well as critical essays by significant figures of the Boom like Namdeo Dhasal, Baburao Bagul, and Raja Dhale. A reader might do worse than start with this iconic collection that remains relevant twenty-five years later. Bama, Karukku , trans.
Lakshmi Holmstrom. Karukku is a award-winning autobiography in Tamil by a Christian Dalit woman, translated into English by Lakshmi Holmstrom. Bama details not only her experiences of prejudice in her village but also within the Christian denomination to which she belongs. It is a good reminder that caste is not just a Hindu problem. On its publication, the novel quickly became famous for its earthy language.
This book, published in , is part autobiography, part ethnography, part political analysis—and all polemics.
It was enormously influential in introducing the idea of dalitbahujan. By dalitbahujan , Iliah means a social group consisting of Dalits as well as non-Dalit castes immediately above Dalits.
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Part of his provocative claim is that the social and cultural practices of dalitbahujan differ so much from upper caste Hindus that they cannot properly be called Hindus at all. Through this claim he sets out to debunk hindutva, or Hindu fundamentalism. This epic novel in English follows four characters, two of them Dalit, over a number of years. The novel, published in , is an extraordinary exercise in realism. Mostly set in Bombay during the Seventies, it portrays the Dalit characters in relationship to a vast and changing world around them.
Fair warning—the novel is long and dark.