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The Dalit Brahmin And Other Stories

The Dalit Brahmin And Other Stories

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Sharankumar Limbale’s stories open up a brutal and cruel world conditioned and sanctioned by the caste system. They present an account of Dalit lives in post-independence India, with the Ambedkarite movement, and the schisms within it, as a prominent backdrop. The anti-Dalit logic of reserved constituencies, the predicament of Dalit writing, the fallout of communal violence for those at the margins, the implications of festivals like Ganapati, the contradictions of job reservations, the horrors of the institution of schooling; family, childhood, friendships, love, sexuality—all take on dark new hues. They are also a rare and moving account of Dalit masculinity today.

‘Dalit Brahmin’ is a sarcastic epithet for the urban, educated Dalit middle class who look down upon their own folk much as the brahmins do, and seek to distance themselves from their caste identity. Yet, it is also this class which bears the responsibility of emancipating the Dalit masses from the chains of caste.

The stories, told in the first or third person, speak directly to the reader and carry the authority of testimony. Each story sets out to correct, to inform, and to illuminate the changing lives of rural and small-town Dalits. Unsettling and exuding a stark raw power, these vibrant cameos—seamlessly translated by Priya Adarkar—comfortably bridge the difficult divides between imaginative literature, autobiographical fiction and documentary narrative.

A must read for all those who love India and Indian literature.

Tagged with:

caste / fiction / indian / Marathi / Priya Adarkar / Sharankumar Limbale / short stories / translation /