The Exercise of Freedom – An Introduction to Dalit Writing

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Author ed. K. Satyanarayana
and Susie Tharu
Language English
Cover Paperback
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This anthology, for the first time, showcases the best of dalit writing from across India: B.R. Ambedkar to Devanoora Mahadeva, Chentharassery to M.M. Vinodini. The editors argue that dalit literature is not merely a literary practice or a trend but a social movement invested in the battle against injustice; it is the exercise of freedom. This literature encompasses diverse forms of intellectual and creative work by those who, as untouchables, are victims of economic, social and cultural inequality. Dalits bring points of view, interests, insights and directions that grow out of their experience and their aspirations. Over the past few decades dalit literature has transformed the understanding of untouchability, caste and the nature of Indian society and politics.

Susie Tharu is professor in the Department of Cultural Studies, EFLU, and a founder member of Anveshi, Research Centre for Women’s Studies, Hyderabad. She is the author of several influential papers on literary and cultural theory and history. She has been active in the Indian women’s movement and is a member of the Subaltern Studies Collective. Tharu is co-editor of the two-volume anthology Women Writing in India, as well as No Alphabet in Sight and Steel Nibs are Sprouting.

K. Satyanarayana is Associate Professor in the Department of Cultural Studies, English and Foreign Languages University (EFLU), Hyderabad. Active in the student movement during the 1990s, he was founder-general secretary of Kula Nirmoolana Porata Samiti (Forum for Caste Annihilation). He also edited the little magazine Kulanirmoolana. His research interests are in the field of dalit studies and literary history. He is co-editor of No Alphabet in Sight and Steel Nibs are Sprouting, two comprehensive anthologies of dalit writing from South India.

Featuring: B.R. Ambedkar, Siddalingaiah, T.H.P. Chentharassery, M.B. Manoj, Vasant Moon, Anna Bhau Sathe, Kumud Pawde, Omprakash Valmiki, Devanoora Mahadeva, H. Govindaiah, Rekharaj, Sukirtharani, B. Krishnappa, Mathivannan, Aravind Malagatti, Damodar More, Ajay Navaria, Challapalli Swaroopa Rani, Raghavan Atholi, T.M. Yesudasan, Chandra Bhan Prasad, M.M. Vinodini, S. Joseph

‘An excellent outcome of the editors’ commitment to feature a range of diverse and sometimes contradictory opinions is that this anthology squashes the idea of the token Dalit voice forever wailing in one-dimensional lament’— LiveMint

In the media

‘Editors K. Satyanarayana and Susie Tharu have drawn from their previous experience editing anthologies of Dalit writing from south India to collate poetry, essays, memoir and fiction into an immersive experience of Dalit literature as both aesthetic and socio-political identity.’— LiveMint

Read an excerpt published in the Hindustan Times.