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