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Land, Guns, Caste, Woman: The Memoir Of A Lapsed Revolutionary

Land, Guns, Caste, Woman: The Memoir Of A Lapsed Revolutionary

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1980s. Ibrahimpatnam, Telangana, South India. Landless dalits are caught between a reddy and a hard place. The wealthy reddys are like movie villains, brandishing whips and guns.

Enter Gita Ramaswamy, thirty years old. In her teens, Gita had escaped the brahminical clutches of her family that tried to cure her of Naxalism with shock treatment and sedation. She has endured the horrors of the Emergency. She is disillusioned. But not without hope. Gita starts living with the agricultural labourers. They are in bondage, cheated out of land and all rights. They are in the mood to fight. Together, they take on the tyrannical landlords who brutalized the villages for generations. A revolution without a gun is in the making.

Gita writes with relentless self-reflexivity. This is as much a story of struggles and victories as it is a testimony of personal failings and regrets.

Gita Ramaswamy is best known for her work with Hyderabad Book Trust that has published over four hundred titles since 1980. HBT pioneered low-cost books and translations from across the world—from Alex Haley to Mahasweta Devi. She was earlier associated with the Marxist–Leninist movement in Telangana. Going underground during the Emergency in 1975 with her husband Cyril Reddy, she taught English in a dalit basti in Ghaziabad, near Delhi. Starting in 1984, she worked for a decade with the dalits of Ibrahimpatnam and helped them in their fight against bonded labour and landlessness. Gita has authored several books and has translated extensively from Telugu into English.

Tagged with:

caste / feminism / Gita Ramaswamy / indian / memoir / memoirs and biographies / nonfiction /