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.
Beyond “Untouchability”: Dalit Literature in Hindi
Dalit literature represents some of the most meaningful, socially engaged narrative voices in India today.
It would be difficult to find a single man whose back had not been scarred by the whip of the thakur or his agents.
Although his name wasn’t Gujji to begin with, he was Gujji now.
The Case of the Quota Candidate
"We are here to teach, not to meddle in the affairs of other people.”
from “Doubly Cursed”
There were a few people in our basti who couldn’t bear our improved circumstances.
“There must be a misunderstanding."
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.