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Karukku- ‘A Dalit Testimony’

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By Aurosikha Priyadarshini

Being a student of literature, I buy a novel every month. It so happened that I came across this book last week in my shelf. The name of the book is ‘KARUKKU’ by Bama. Before giving my opinions on the book, let me introduce the readers to the author.

Bama is originally known as Faustina Mary Fatima Rani. Bama is the pen-name of a Tamil Dalit woman, from a Roman Catholic family. She was born in 1958 and has written many novels, including the autobiographical novel ‘Karukku’. The book was published in 1992 and was written in Tamil. Later, it was translated into English in 2012 by Lakshmi Holmstrom. The book portrays the journey of a woman and how she struggles to raise her voice against the suppression faced by her and her community.

Karukku refers to Palmyra leaves which are like double edged swords. The novel acts as a double -edged sword in two ways. The novel archives the repression, atrocities, faced by the people of low stratum of the society. The novel is written from the perspective of a Dalit woman, Bama who was agonized and suffered under the dominant Hindu social structures. The book is the first Tamil Dalit literature of its kind. The book is more of a memoir than an autobiography because it voices the joys, sorrows of the people of her community who were oppressed by the higher and the elite class of the society. She even talks of the sufferings she faced after being converted to Christianity. She believed that shifting her religion to Christianity will put an end to her troubles, but it did not happen so.

The converted Christian Dalits were even treated inhuman, and she realized the truth that the situation of the Dalits will always remain the same. Being a Dalit woman she was marginalized, but she mastered over her will and worked hard to emancipate the fate of the Dalits. The book is a semi autobiography because it talks more of the people of her community, their culture, the food habits, and traditions. It gives voice to the silence and oppressed sections of the society. She uses simple narrative techniques and the style is different from the writing style of the mainstream literary texts. It is written more out of her own experiences as a suffered Dalit woman. It basically deals with the Dalits of Tamil Nadu. She grieves over the pitiable conditions of the people of her community. She talks about how the Dalit women were subjugated in the hands of the so called ‘pure’ Brahmins.

Through her writing, she raises the voices of those who are pushed aside and marginalized. The book can even have a different reading. Women should not shut their mouth and should rise against the ignominy of sexual torture, subjugation, or any other forms of violence because women are not objects to be consumed. Bama was influenced by her brother to study hard because education is the only way to gain dignity in the society. The book talks of the travails and trauma faced by a dalit woman. She becomes the representative of the entire community. It is not only the tale of Bama, but hundreds of such other deprived and ostracized people under the Brahmanic hegemony.

The book is a call to the oppressed sections of the society to unite and fight for their rights. It supports the clarion of Dr. B.R Ambedkar, “Unite, Educate, and Agitate”.

The author is a student of University Of Hyderabad. Twitter handle – https://twitter.com/aurosikhapriya6

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Modi is anti-Dalit, will defeat BJP in 2019: Rahul Gandhi

Gandhi also accused the government of suppressing and intimidating the media

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Rahul Gandhi, Wikipedia

Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Monday accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his government of being anti-Dalit and said his party will defeat the BJP in 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Gandhi, who led his party’s day-long fast at Rajghat to highlight atrocities against Dalits and other communities, said party workers were protesting against an ideology, a way of thinking.

Rahul Gandhi becomes the president of Congress as mother Sonia Gandhi Steps Down
Rahul Gandhi is against Modi and his rule.

“The atmosphere that has been created in the country, it is due to the ideology of the BJP. BJP’s ideology is to divide the country, crush the Dalits, tribals, minorities. We are against the ideology of the BJP. We are standing against it today, we will stand against it throughout our lives. And we will defeat them in the 2019 elections,” Gandhi told reporters.

Asked about BJP Dalit MPs writing to Modi with their complaints, Gandhi said: “You talk to them in Parliament. They also tell us that Modiji is a casteist person, an anti-Dalit person. He has no place for Dalits in his heart, the whole country knows this. It is not a secret.”

Also Read: A voice of his own: Rahul Gandhi tries to impress Lok Sabha with his speech

Gandhi attacked BJP President Amit Shah for likening the coming together of opposition parties to “snakes, mongoose, dogs and cats” climbing a tree trunk to save themselves from floods. He said every person in the country was against the BJP.

“Some days back a BJP leader said that opposition members were animals. The truth is that today every person in the country is standing against the government. The approach that this government has against Dalits, tribals, minorities and farmers, we are standing against it,” he said. Gandhi said the country will not accept that Modi government “spreads violence, hatred in the country… We are standing here against this ideology.”

Raul Maino
Rahul Gandhi says Modi controls the Media. Twitter

Gandhi also accused the government of suppressing and intimidating the media. “You are standing on the other side but in actuality you are standing on our side as we are protecting you also. You are smiling, I know. We are fighting for you as well.” IANS