Dalit Autobiography

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Autobiography is considered to be the best mode of expression of author’s personal experiences: sorrows, pains, sufferings as well as joys. As a genre of literature autobiographies bring personal accounts of author’s life to public domain. Roy Pascal thinks “Autobiography is the achievement of art which explores the intuitive knowledge of some unique experience.”(Pascal, 1960: 186) The tradition of writing autobiographies was confined to unique and extraordinary experiences of some famous elites. However, in recent times the tradition of writing autobiography has become a popular genre among the Dalits authors. They write to break the tradition of silence. They write to show their plight and predicament to society. Bhim Singh thinks that autobiography …show more content…
The need for reforms, quest for identity and struggle for survival are often substantiated in autobiographies by narration of social and political history of Dalit community. Many Dalit authors have come forward to tell their stories to the world. The Dalit studies have gained impetus in recent times with the publication of various writings by Dalit authors. The success of the early Dalit authors has persuaded many other Dalit writers to write and publish about their personal experiences. There are many Dalit autobiographies available which narrate the pains and predicament of Dalit community. For the present dissertation I will focus on three autobiographies: Vasant Moon’s ‘Growing up Untouchable in India’(2001), Omprakash Valmiki’s ‘Joothan: A Dalit’s life’ (2003), and Sharankumar Limbale’s ‘The Outcaste’, Akkarmashi (2003) These Dalit autobiographies are an account of tyranny and oppression against Mahar community by the high caste Hindus. All the three autobiographies describe different aspects of the Mahar community. Limbale’s The Outcaste, originally written in Marathi as Akkarmashi, portrays extreme marginalization of author by the society. …show more content…
Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar, the great leaders and reformers of Dalit movement, have also written about their personal experiences as well throws light on their Dalit community. Through their writing, they have motivated the Dalit community to remain strong and united against their exploitation.From time immemorial the condition of Dalit community in India has remained pathetic. The community has been oppressed, subjugated and marginalized. Dalits face discrimination at almost every level: from access to education and medical facilities to restrictions on places that can live or visit. The community is made to feel inferior in society by imposing various social restrictions on them. In tradition societies, the Dalit community is never allowed to live with the upper caste Hindus. They have their own locality on the outskirts of the villages and cities. However, they can be summoned by high caste Hindus for various tasks such as for cremation of dead animals, cleaning and sweeping streets and markets, and other such menial works. In most of the cases the community received either low wages or left-over food. This was the reality of the whole lower society. The socio-economic condition of Dalit community is changing gradually. The educational empowerment of the new generations has made them aware of their plight and their rights. They have become more conscious of the plight of their community after the social reforms. They have started raising

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