ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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A Dalit Childhood

Mera Bachpan Mere Kandhon Par by Sheoraj Singh Bechain (New Delhi: Vani Prakashan), 2013; pp 439, Rs 300.

The book under review is the second edition of Sheoraj Singh Bechain’s autobiography, which first came out in 2009. It has already made a name for itself, as a dalit autobiography written in Hindi, especially among the Hindi-reading public. Compared to the dalit autobiographical tradition that exists in the Marathi language, there are not many dalit autobiographies written in Hindi. The few well-known Hindi dalit autobiographies that we are familiar with are Mohandas Namishray’s Apane-Apane Pinjre, Omprakash Valmiki’s Joothan, Kaushalya Basantri’s Dohra Abhishap and Surajpal Chauhan’s Tiraskrit.

If we read these autobiographies together, the commonality we find is that there is an emergence of a dalit subjectivity, which is radical as well as revolutionary. But, the narrative strategy in each of these autobiographies is different because of the events the authors have chosen to highlight in writing about their lives.

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