Viramma - Life of a Dalit

Viramma - Life of a Dalit

Product ID: 4182

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Author: Viramma
Josiane and Jean-Luc Racine/
Publisher: Social Science Press
Year: 2000
Language: English
Pages: 321
ISBN/UPC (if available): 8187358025


A fascinating life story, earthy, filled with laughter, painful, bawdy, and poignant - a first person account of the life of a remarkable woman, a Dalit by birth.

Viramma her name appears as one of the authors) narrated the story of her life in Tamil over a period of ten years, 1980-90, to Josiane Racine, a Tamil-born ethnomusicologist educated in France. This was then brilliantly edited, carefully checked for accuracy and transcribed in French. Plon published this remarkable book in the prestigious series Terre Humaine under the aegis of the UNESCO Series of Representative Works. It created a great impact in France and was subsequently translated into English and Italian.

Viramma, an agricultural laborer and a midwife is also a prodigious story-teller and a skillful singer. The chapters of this book contain spellbinding stories of her childhood, happy and carefree, marriage, when she was barely ten years old, sexual experiences and desires, bold and almost raucous; child-bearing, frank, uninhibited and expressive; and work, always back breaking, often humiliating but tempered with a sense of order. Her account is filled with detailed descriptions of countless religious ceremonies, caste and harvest rituals and day-to-day secular customs.


Viramma is an agricultural laborer, a grand mother and lives in Karani in Tamil Nadu.

Josiane Racine researches popular culture in South India.

Jean-Luc Racine is Senior Fellow, Centre for Indian Studies, Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris.