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October 2018

Rewriting Caste: Dalit Literature in Hindi

Image: Tejubehan, “Women and Bicycles,” from Drawing from the City by Tejubehan, Original Edition © Tara Books Pvt LTD, Chennai, India. By arrangement with the artist and publisher.

This month we bring you Dalit literature written in Hindi. Dalit writing interrogates, and protests, the system of caste-based hierarchy and discrimination in India; the stories and memoir here provide a nuanced picture of a complex society. Suraj Badtiya shows a sausagemaker’s son parlay his background into a supersized career. Anita Bharti observes opposing factions of teachers trying to smoke out their new colleague’s caste. Activist Kausalya Baisantry recalls the resentment her family’s ambition prompted among their fellow Dalits. Ajay Navaria’s Indian academic travels to Greece and finds himself checked into a mystery story. And Mohan Das Namishray recounts the destruction and rebirth of a resilient community. Guest editors Laura Brueck and Christi A. Merrill provide a contextual introduction and a glossary for the Hindi terms appearing throughout the issue. Elsewhere we present fiction from Mongolia, introduced and with translations by KG Hutchins.


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Reviewed by Lynne Diamond-Nigh

In this fictional account of the last days of a long journey through Europe undertaken by Cavafy in 1897, the Greek poet's struggle against conventions, social and personal, takes center stage.

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