Wednesday, October 6, 2010

[ZESTCaste] Woes of a Dalit


Woes of a Dalit


HESARAGATTEGALU: Translator Jayalalitha; Kuvempu Bhasha Bharathi
Pradikara, Kannada Bhavana, J.C. Road, Bangalore-560002. Rs. 120.

DALIT LITERATURE is not lacking in Kannada. But not much is available
by way of textual accounts of what obtains in the neighbouring States,
as reflected in the literature of their languages, and this has
remained a handicap in getting a comparative perspective. This
translation of the Tamil novel, 'Imayam', bridges the gap to a
significant extent.

The novel is about a family in an interior Tamil Nadu village that
ekes out livelihood by washing the clothes of people living in a Dalit

The couple, Shourie and Aryogyamma, reside outside the colony because
the Dalits whom they serve would not allow them to live in their
midst. A paradox indeed! Those who are themselves kept at a distance
from the main village will not have as their neighbours persons who
cater to their needs, but treat them as 'untouchables'. The novel
gives an insight into this phenomenon of 'exploitation within

Arogyamma recollects the early days of her marriage and the times when
people would give her foodgrains and eatables liberally everyday. With
the advent of laundries and tailor-shops, she got very little clothes
for washing and her clientele dwindled, while own family grew.

Villagers migrated, and the tradition of helping the servants with
their daily requirements was given the goby. Struck by a series of
calamities, her family wallowed in misery. Despite all these
hardships, she would not like to leave the village. But there was none
to sympathise with her and help.


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