KOLLAM: Social critic Sukumar Azhikode has said that reading Dalit literature is an altogether different experience from reading mainstream literature.He was launching a two-volume special edition of Dalit literature at a function held at Neeeravil Navodyam Library on Thursday.Prof. Azhikode said the two volumes, brought out by the Journal of Literature and Aesthetics, carried an extensive range of literary contributions from various Indian languages opening up an avenue for in-depth study of Dalit literature from a national perspective.
The two volumes together comprise works of more than 100 outstanding Dalit authors from 10 Indian languages translated into English.Editor of the journal S. Sreenivasan said the aim of the special edition was to prepare the way for a radical integration of Dalit literature with mainstream Indian literature without losing sight of its historical status as a separate literary movement. He said Dalit literature had powerfully emerged as a distinctive trend.
Mr. Sreenivasan said it was a resurging voice of a considerable section of Indian society which had been marginalised by history. Essentially it was a literature of protest, dissent and of the search for lost identity. It was also an insiders’ report on the actual condition of deprivation, misery, indignity and exploitation in which the Dalit communities had been compelled to live for centuries, he said.
Mr. Sreenivasan said Dalit literature had many qualities like fiery strength authenticity, a sense of social mission and expressive vigour and vibrancy. The literature called for a change in the attitude of society towards certain basic issues concerning individual relationship and caste-based discrimination. Volume one of the special edition comprises works from Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada and Malayalam. Volume two comprises works from Marathi, Oryia, Punjabi, Tamil and Telugu. The works in Malayalam included those by T.C.K. Vaduthala, C. Ayyappan, P.A. Uthaman, K.P. Karuppan, Raghavan Atholi, Sundaram Dhanuvachapuram, K.C. Kattakada, V.K. Narayanan and Sivadasan Purameri.