The Dalit Personal Narrative In Hindi: Reflections On A Long Literary Lineage
Abstract

Abstract:

My essay is an attempt to track the long literary lineage, stretching back to the early decades of the twentieth century, of the emergent genre of the Dalit personal narrative in Hindi, which has begun to make itself more and more visible in North India since the concluding decades of the century. I shall argue that these narratives are, without a doubt, the legatees of a tradition of anticaste writing and a vibrant, though largely unremarked upon, Dalit print culture that flourished in Uttar Pradesh through the 1920s and beyond. Special reference is made, in this regard, to the literary work of Swami Achhutanand, the doyen of the anticaste movement in North India, and to his influence on later generations of undercaste writers in the so-called Hindi belt. The essay also contains some reflections on the nature of the Dalit counterpublic, which comprises the social constituency addressed by the contemporary Dalit personal narrative in Hindi.