A Paradigmatic Shift from Dalitism to Neo Dalitism in the Globalised Context: A study of Bama’s Karukku and Sangati

Authors: Doyel Chatterjee (Department of English, Dum Dum Motijheel Rabindra Mahavidyalaya, India)
Sumahan Bandyopadhyay (Department of Anthropology, Vidyasagar University, India)
Speakers: Doyel Chatterjee, Sumahan Bandyopadhyay
Topic: Text, Context and Entextualization
The (SCOPUS / ISI) SOAS GLOCAL CALA 2020 General Session


Dalit literature symbolizes a text of resistance against the hegemony of Savarna, or upper caste literature, which attempts to convey omniscience and an all-encompassing nature. Awareness and attitude towards this Dalit literature has shifted considerably over the past few decades. Consequently, the presence of Dalits, previously obscured from society, are now emerging ubiquitously in social and political arenas, representative in new emerging texts.

The present study embraces the concept of Neo Dalitism as an alternate way of expression in a current socio-political climate. Contrary to the Dalitism, which focuses on disabilities, and difficulties, and sympathies, Neo Dalitism questions the literature which justifies caste hierarchy. Neo dalitism thus assists in the development of a positive image of Dalits, and develops an image of appreciation for the subaltern. The study argies that Neo Dalitism does not intend to portray the sorrows, tribulations, slavery, degradation and poverty endured by Dalits, but rather, questions these facets and requites these through a Dalit framework and reading, while exposing fallibilities within which this caste system is based. The study thus observes the texts Sangati and Karukku as salient and poignant subaltern texts in global climates and that speak to childhood experiences of the author Bama, a.k.a. Faustina Mary.

This paper seeks to expose truths regarding that Bama’s Karukku and Sangati serve as inspiration for the oppressed to reclaim their social and political agencies and liberties, in colonial and caste global systems, not least through education.

Keywords: Dalitism, Neo- Dalitism, suppression, protest, literature, globalised context, education, empowerment, liberation