Representation of dalit in indian english literature society

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  • Representation of dalit in indian english literature society

    1. 1. Representaion of DalitIndian English Literature Society
    2. 2. Indian writing in English has remained enigmatic as far as projection of dalit life is concerned. There are very few dalit authors who write in English for their own people. Dalit readership for English literary works too is very low. Then the question is often broached that when a Non-dalit writer portrays dalits in his work, who does he write for and on whose behalf? Most of dalits characters in Indian English literature are portrayed by upper caste Hindu authors. Such portrayals, based on mere observation, turn out to be shallow, inauthentic and just stereotypes. 2
    3. 3. Unfortunately, not many of our novelists writing in English care about these authorial responsibilities. Most of them still cling to such hackneyed themes as ‘East-West Encounter’, ‘Tradition-Modernity Conflict’, ‘Alienation’, ‘Spiritual Quest’, ‘Search for Identity’, and the like. That most of our English novelists live either in metropolitan cities or in foreign/ western countries is an important and deciding factor in the choice of themes and characters. They hardly have any first hand experience of Indian life, not to speak of rural life, and therefore they feel more comfortable and secure with selecting themes and characters from the privileged class of people. As a result, not only dalit, but also the under-privileged classes of Indian society rarely find space in Indian novels in English.
    4. 4. • Non-Dalit major practitioners of the genre have embraced the Dalit sensibility against the grain of their own caste or class and cast their gaze at the country’s grim underbelly.
    5. 5. • Prominent among those who have passed with flying colours by exposing the faultlines of our fragmented society in this growing segment of writing the nation are Arundhati Roy, Amitav Ghosh, Vikram Seth, Rohinton Mistry, Vikas Swarup and Aravind Adiga . 5
    6. 6. •When Indian novelist pen a literary work about the lower classes, there is always a risk of caricature.The tradition of Upper caste writers dealing with the subject of Untouchability or dalit life starts with the publication, although after nineteen publishers' rejection, Mulk Raj Anand's came with his first novel "Untouchable"(1935). Other works by Anand-Coolie (1936),Two Leaves and a Bud (1937),The Old Woman and the Cow (1960),and The Road (1961). 6
    7. 7. About The Book... •Anand seems to lay down the test to the novelists who are upper caste sympathizers that they should be fiery voice of the people and they should be able to give a new vision of life realizing the pains, frustrations and aspirations of others, and by cultivating the his incipient powers of expression, transmutes in all art all feelings, thoughts and experiences. However the problem of untouchables does not seem to have properly addressed in this novel. stand up for the cause of the untouchables, unlike his predecessor and contemporary writers . 7
    8. 8. Arvind Adiga Aravind Adiga's The White Tiger is a winner of Man Booker Prize 2008. A brutal view of India's class struggles is cunningly presented in Adiga's debut about a racist 8
    9. 9. Arundhati Roy The God of Small Things, debut novel of Arundhati Roy, is a story of forbidden, cross-caste love and what a community will do to protect the old ways. Roy, a great champion of the cause of the Dalit and the deserted, points out those unnoticed shades of a social problem which generally escape the eyes of social scientist in the novel. 9
    10. 10. In the novel, Jadhav tells the aweinspiring story of his family's struggle for equality and justice in India. He vividly brings his parents' world to light and unflinchingly documents the life of untouchables -- the hunger, the cruel humiliations, the perpetual fear and brutal abuse. While most Dalits had accepted their lowly position as fate, Jadhav's father, Damu, rebelled against the oppressive caste system and fought against all odds to forge for his children a destiny that was never ordained. It is a story of survival, of oppression as grievous as slavery or apartheid, and of victory, as the author gets an education and learns to embrace his identity. 10
    11. 11. • Another novel that focuses on dalits is Shanta Rameswar Rao’s Children of God (1976). The central characters of the novel are dalits and the novelist presents a down-to-earth picture of caste oppression through the womannarrator whose son was beaten and burnt to death for entering a temple more than 25 years after Independence. Like Anand’s Untouchable, and other dalit narrations, Rao’s novel also gives an account of the various forms of social abuse: being deprived from using the common well, being forced to wash laundry only downstream and at night etc. 11
    12. 12. Q&A by Vikas Swarup Red Hibiscus by Padmini Sengupta The Hungry Tide by Amitav Ghosh The Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry
    13. 13. It is not surprising that only a handful of Indian English novelists have prioritized the Dalit issue in their works. Quantitatively, the number of works is not impressive, though only a few of them are of quite enduring quality. It must be noted that the 'gleefully skewed' portrayals of lower classes in their works have managed the upper caste authors' to win accolades. The upper caste writers enlisted above have won the series of prestigious awards for their works in which the depiction of low class characters scored the maximum points. 13
    14. 14. Dalit literature, being the most powerful form of literary expression today, has acquired a prestigious position in Indian English literature. It focuses on writing that includes Dalit characters, or descriptions of Dalit life and experiences. Influenced by post-modern literary movements, it questions mainstream literary theories and upper caste ideologies and explores the invisible twilight zones of neglected issues. The literature is essentially against exploitation, and made use of writing as a method of propaganda for the movement.
    15. 15. Both Serious Men and Untouchable attempt to represent the Dalit experience. The novels try to hone in on the Dalit’s psyche in order to expose the failures of the nation-state. Both novels discuss the continuing problem of the caste system. Similar to Joseph, Anand is interested in depicting the discrimination within Hinduism and its effects on his Dalit protagonist. The authors use different literary styles to interpret the Dalit experience – Serious Men uses satirical realism while Untouchable uses a more standard realism. Yet Serious Men succeeds in portraying the reality of Dalit experiences without defining the identity of its protagonist. While both novels discuss similar issues, Serious Men is able to revolutionize the literary characterization of the Dalit and create a protagonist that reflects modern India. 15
    16. 16. In this way, these LITERATURE encapsulate the pain, humiliation, and poverty of this community, which has lived at the bottom of India's social pyramid for millenia. These are truly inspiring book, that reveals untouchables 's quest for dignity and the recognition of their human worth, rather than to India's own success in eradicating the evils of the caste system, for its inequalities and iniquities persist. There is much here both for the foreigner, ignorant of much that is hidden in India, and for Indians who are all too familiar with caste. These novels are a sign that change is possible in India and that indeed it is, if slowly, underway. The clock will go forward, for too many now in India see what the Buddha saw two thousand years ago.

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