Rewriting Histories - A struggle for ‘Self Identity’ as a Human Being: Reading of Untouchable Spring and Outcaste: A Memoir

Rewriting Histories - A struggle for ‘Self Identity’ as a Human Being: Reading of Untouchable Spring and Outcaste: A Memoir

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Dalit literature contests written histories where the entire life and cultural heritage of these specific set of people have been neglected. Only a literature of their own can express the real life experiences and their history. The movement which began with Mahatma Jyotirao Phule and Dr. Ambedkar with the message, “Don’t let your pen be restricted to your own questions” (Nimbalkar 32 - 33) is genuinely carried out by Dalit writers, to awake, to emancipate and to make them realize that every human being is equal. In course of this development, Dalit authors’ pen not only restricted to mere proclamations of equality, liberty and fraternity but also tries to make Dalits proud of their origin by highlighting positive aspects of their culture and acknowledging various Dalit art-forms. The two biographical novels taken for this paper, Kalyan Rao’s Untouchable Spring from Telagu and Dr. Narendra Jadhav’s Outcaste - A Memoir from Marathi, are faithful to these aspects.

Both, Kalyan Rao and Dr. Narendra Jadhav represent a part of an awakened and educated Dalit community, focusing on their past, which is not found in written histories. They belong to the generation of struggle and assertion. The similarities between the two writers go further when we see their progressive shift from an untouchable to one of the recognised and well identified personalities in present literary and socio-cultural scenario. Kalyan Rao is a writer, a Dalit, a Dalit Christian and also a Dalit social activist. Similarly Narendra Jadhav, a Dalit writer and a converted Buddhist has also put his marks as an acclaimed Indian bureaucrat, economist, thinker, social scientist and educationist.

Untouchable Spring is the exemplary story of a family where the plot is i...

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