Title – Critical Essays on Dalit Literature

Editor – Dr Murali Manohar

Publisher – Atlantic

Review –

Critical Essays on Dalit Literature stands out as an informative and introductory book on Dalit literature. It is a compendium of critical essays written in such a lucid manner that it can be ideal for the students as well as any person desiring to get familiar with the history of Dalits in India.

It begins with introducing the reader to the origin of the Dalit Movement by rightfully commencing with B.R. Ambedkar’s Autobiographical Notes which renders an insight in to Ambedkar’s own struggle and leaves the reader simply with truth and inspiration. The second essay by Melody Lalmingthani carries forward the idea of education as a form of liberation by citing references such as Saraswativijayam by Potheri Kunhambu, one of the earliest Malyali novels which deals with the theme of oppression of Dalits at the hands of Brahmins. Albeit several essays deals primarily with Dalit literature one does not need to have a prior knowledge about the concerned texts (however reading the books discussed in the essays would be quite insightful for the reader to understand the representation of Dalits in Indian history). They endeavour to enhance and augment our understanding of the social and political condition of Dalits in the past and present. Moreover, the book in its aim to educate the reader about the Dalits also adeptly provides a brief yet basic information about the societal representation of Dalits by focusing on subjects like gender, region, religion, globalisation and so on.

I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to educate themselves about Dalit’s history . It stands out as a relevant text in today’s world where misconceptions and divisions breed and has personally aided me to comprehend, at some level, the history behind the reservation system and look forward to the philosophy of humanitarianism.

Quotes – ‘Education is the greatest of all wealth.’

‘Just as a person who is untouchable to a Hindu is also an untouchable to a Parsi, a person who is untouchable to a Hindu is also an untouchable to a Mohammedan.’

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