Author: Sharankumar Limbale
Translator(s)/ Edito: Santosh Bhoomkar
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN/UPC (if available): 0195694066
First published in 1984, The Outcaste Akkarmashi captures the anguish and irreverence of the cultural ferment that opened up Marathi literature to Dalit writing. As a first-person account of the struggle against poverty, deprivation, discrimination and violence, The Outcaste captures the dehumanizing impact of caste oppression in Hindu society. In tracing the author's gradual awakening to selfhood and maturity, the book provides an inside view of life in a Mahar village. Moving bleak, its narrative punctured by bitter wit, this is a revelatory novel for people who are not on the uncomfortable periphery of social and economic life in India.
The narrator is haunted by the question of his fractured identity, Am I an upper-caste or an untouchable? A reflection of the darker side of India, this novel is a bitter critique of the lack of compassion that the lower castes have endured for centuries. A true milestone that publicized the Dalit cause, the Marathi original went through four editions. An acknowledged masterpiece in the Mahar dialect, The Outcaste asserts the Dalit inner quest for identity using original language, idiom, metaphor and imagery. It will appeal to students of Indian literature in translation, Marathi literature, and the general reader interested in Dalit literature.
G N Devy