Maharashtra's Dalit literature visionary: How Baburao Bagul's words exposed a casteist society

Editor’ note: Under the norms the caste system, Dalits were denied the pen. Before the advent literature in India, much Dalit history was in nature. Their lives were not available to them in form, and even when available, it was a depiction by those who had no experiential connection with Dalits. It was Dr BR Ambedkar who stressed on literary assertion as a means to struggle against the caste system. Thus began the ceaseless movement literary assertion by Dalits, who went on to write powerful stories about their lives. It marked a resurrection their experiential world, which had been appropriated by the pens Savarnas. Poems, stories, novels, biographies, autobiographies produced by Dalits established a new literature in which, for the first time, the downtrodden took centrestage. People who had been denied what humanity considers the ‘basics’, started to transform the lives others like them, the written word. As this movement literary assertion by Dalits grew stronger, the unseen side India — the side that is brutal and inhumane — became visible to the world. Maharashtra was at the forefront this revolution that has, […]

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