Thursday, 14 June 2012

Research and Dalit Literature

       The second part of the quote featured today on the Poet-in-Residence header is from the poem Listen Brahmin by Malkhan Singh featured on the front cover of the Spring 2009 edition of Research. The other part of the header is my personal take on Malkhan Singh's words; a reflection, if you like.

I think all readers of Poet-in-Residence will agree with me that the words of Listen Brahmin provide a wonderful cover for the journal.

There is, as it happens, an article of my own in this edition of Research and that is how I came to receive a free copy sent through the post all the way from India.

Research was founded by Prof. Dr. Shankar Narain Prasad (1932-2004) Head of the Dept. of English and Dean of the Faculty of Arts & Commerce at Manipur University, Imphal. The editor today is Dr. Vandana Datta of the Dept. of English, College of Commerce, Patna Magadh University.

You may be wondering what Dalit Literature is all about. You may never encountered the term before.

This edition of Research opens the door and opens with a quote from Sharan K Limbale's "Towards an Aesthetic of Dalit Literature" ( -

         Dalit Literature represents a powerful, emerging trend in the Indian literary scene. Given its overarching preoccupations with the location of the Dalits in the caste-based Hindu society, this literature is by nature oppositional. With the growing translation of works by Dalit writers from various regional languages into English, Dalit literature is poised to acquire a national and international presence as well as to pose a major challenge to the established notions of what constitutes literature and how we read it.

Dr. Vandana Datta explains in his editorial that Dalit literature is primarily a literature of protest against the age-old tortures and humiliations that the lower castes have had to undergo at the hands of the upper caste Hindus. Form and aesthetics take a back seat, the focus being on content. Without mincing words and with all the suppressed anger of centuries they speak of the sufferings inflicted on them and seek ways to escape the rigid caste system. 

In my next post I will talk about ice-cream. 

And in a future post I shall return to the subject of Dalit Literature.

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