Under My Dark Skin Flows a Red River: Translations of Dalit Writings from Bengal


Authors: Various
Edited and translated by Debi Chatterjee, Sipra Mukherjee

9789381345276 | PB | pp. 430 | 2021 | Bhatkal and Sen

In Bengal, waves of Dalit literature arrived a little before the 1970s. This anthology makes Bangla Dalit literature about their struggles and joys known.

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‘We too have our Sun’, writes a woman Dalit poet, challenging the established canons of Bangla literature that resist Dalit’s entry. With translations from Bengal only begininning in the twenty-first century, Dalit writings have remained largely unrepresented in the corpus of pan-Indian Dalit Literature. Yet Bangla Dalit literature has a long history: the songs of Sufis, Bauls, Fakirs and many other grass root religious mainstream Bengal, this was a robust and popular body of oral literature from the margins. The challenges and rebellions that characterize modern Dalit literature are not unique to modernity, existing in the living tradtions.

In the late twentieth century, Dalits’ writings have been published by small publishers and little magazines, ushering a new vibrancy in Bangla literature. This anthology presents translations of a selection of essays, songs, poetry, short stories, extracts from autobiographies and novels as an introduction to a spirited and dynamic literature from Bengal.

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Editing and translation: Debi Chatterjee, Sipra Mukherjee







Year of Publication:



Bhatkal and Sen





Country of Origin:


About the Author

Debi Chatterjee retired as Professor, Department of International Relations, Jadavpur University. She is the founder-editor of the journal Contemporary Voice of Dalit.

Supra Mukherjee is Professor, Department of English, West Bengal State University. Her publications include the translation of Interrogating My Chandal Life: Autobiography of a Dalit by Manoranjan Byapari (Sage-Samya, 2018), which won the Hindu Non-fiction Award, 2019.


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