Giving voice to Dalits

Giving voice to Dalits

What we studied in school was all trash. We are not present in them,” Dalit writer from Maharashtra Sarankumar Limbale did not hide his ire at the education system in the country which, according to him, was designed by and for the upper caste people.

Mr. Limbale believes that it is his duty to represent his community and to be their voice. “After I started writing, many other Dalit writers emerged. That I inspired them to write, may be my contribution to the uplifting of the Dalit community,” he said.

Mr. Limbale condemned the Hindu mythological texts on grounds that they were anti-Dalit. “For thousands of years the upper caste writers have defamed Dalits. How can I approve of the Ramayana in which Ram beheads Shambhuka? I happened to like Ravana better and cannot approve of burning his effigy every year,” the writer said and added that the Dalits had a strong ghost culture. “If you believe in God, you should believe in the ghosts too. Or not believe in both.”

Ghosts were always the Dalits who were deprived of their complete life at the hands of the upper caste, he said.

Mr. Limbale criticised the popular writers of the country for wasting the time and energy of the readers that could have been spent on serious reading.

However, he appreciated the non-Dalit writers who wrote on Dalit themes, as they have paved way for the Dalit writers. He hailed the publishers in Kerala for their promptness and the Malayali readers for being very encouraging.

P.K. Chandran, who translated Mr. Limbale’s work ‘Akkarmashi’ into Malayalam, also took part in the discussion which was moderated by Sanal Mohan.

For thousands of years the upper caste writers have defamed Dalits.

Sarankumar Limbale,

Dalit writer

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