Dalit Literature Essay

Dalit Literature Essay

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A person’s being a Bengali, Kashmiri or Panjabi may become as central to his conception of himself as a person who deprived of this, might feel bare of his personhood itself. So if India is a nation then most of us would like to think it as “one nation with one culture”. This is nation with many cultures and these cultures defined in profound ways the kind of quality of life people live in this country. In India cultures are deeply rooted in religion and social structure. Each culture has different kind of caste and sub-caste system which categorizes people in mainstream and marginal group. In 1873 Jyotirao Phule, a Marathi sudra, published his book Gulamgiri (Slavery), the book was about the oppression of dalits in India. This slave account functioned effectively as a model for Phule to resist the oppressive caste system that had left the sudras and ati-shudras (the untouchables) without a sense of self-identity and consciousness in India. Phule’s life-long work to raise awareness among the lowest castes about their degraded condition as designed by the Manu’s caste system remains an inspiration today. Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, the greatest Dalit leader in India who drafted the Constitution of India and was the country’s first Law Minister, acknowledged Phule’s work by dedicating his own book to Phule. Ambedkar, highlighted the state of Dalits struggle to claim their identity and humanity against the mainstream society.
Although slavery and the caste system as institutions were abolished in 1950, the legacy of classified systems based on labor and discourses of supremacy has continued in the Indian society. Moreover, the caste system’s official negation has not erased the system from...


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...solved that a subaltern can also better speak for himself or herself.



Works Cited

Aston, N.M. ed. Literature of Marginality: Dalit Literature and African-American Literature. New Delhi: Prestige Books, 2001.
Bandit Queen. Dir. Shekhar Kapur. Channel Four Films, 1994.
Ghosh, Bishnupriya. “The Subaltern at the Edge of the Popular.” Postcolonial Studies 8.4 (2005): 459-474. JSTOR. 12 May 2009.
Ravi, Srilata. “Marketing Devi: Indian Women in French Imagination” Alif: Journal of Comparative Poetics 19 (1999): 131-150. JSTOR. 14 April 2008.
Sen, Mala. India’s Bandit Queen: The True Story of Phoolan Devi. 1991. Harper Collins Publishers India, 1993.
Spivak, Gayatri Chakravorty. “Can the Subaltern Speak?” Marxism and the Interpretation of Culture. Eds. Cary Nelson and Lawrence Grossberg. Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1988.

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