Dalits are the broken-down, depressed, oppressed and backward people. They have been under the suppression and oppression of the upper caste people since centuries. Many Dalit women have written their autobiographies so that other people also know their saga of sorrows. Phoolan Devi also has been an illiterate Dalit woman who could neither read nor write. Her autobiography I, Phoolan Devi: The Autobiography of India’s Bandit Queen is a heart-rendering story of her life.
However, there are some groups to be resolving from this problem. So they have to face difficulties in the countryside and stringent tradition (Majid, 2014). Thind and Agarwal (n.d.) stated that Dalit women in India are suffering difficulties in their life. They also had limited opportunities and social activities. The high caste often takes advantage from low caste.
ATTACKS ON DALIT WOMEN: A PATTERN OF IMPUNITY Singularly positioned at the bottom of India’s caste, class, and gender hierarchies, largely uneducated and consistently paid less than their male counterparts, Dalit women make up the majority of landless laborers and scavengers, as well as a significant percentage of the women forced into prostitution in rural areas or sold into urban brothels As such, they come into greater contact with landlords and enforcement agencies than their upper-caste counterparts. Their subordinate position is exploited by those in power who carry out their attacks with impunity. Throughout this report, Human Rights Watch has documented the use of sexual abuse and other forms of violence against Dalit women as tools
The word Dalit is derived from Sanskrit language which means 'suppressed' or 'crushed' and it refers to the people who are at the margins of the society because of their low class. It also represents those people who are socially, economically and historically oppressed; and there is no doubt to mention here that Dalit is infact a caste but a separate category of people who are discriminated by the powerful sections of the society in one way or the other. The word 'Dalit' was also used as 'depressed class' and it was due to the remarkable contribution by Dr. B. R. Ambedkar that the term got a new identity as 'untouchable'. It also includes classes like landless labour, minorities and all others who are poor, hapless and defenseless. Literature written by the members of Dalit communities or the literature which presents a graphic account of the social, political, religious and cultural aspects of these communities is called Dalit literature and this literature is based on the spreading the ideas of justice, social equality and justice to the downtrodden and have-nots.
The narration moves from past to present in exploring the various events that happened in her life and that of the Dalit in a caste based society. The novel moves from the village to convent with the harrowing experiences of a Dalit child and some childhood memories which throw light on Dalit identity formations within South Indian cultures. Karukku is the narration of painful memories, despair, disillusionment, dejection and the pathetic conditions of the life and culture of people where women are subjected to sexual harassment and physical assault. Incidents are narrated and over narrated and reinterpreted each time to express the oppression of dalits is only because of Cultural inheritance. Even in the novels, Sangathi and Vanvam and vedantta, Bama does the same by depicting the lives of Dalit women.
Dalit writers do not look upon widows, prostitutes, depraved women, as Dalit, the exploited, with compassion alone; but they make them towards radiance. In the stories and novels of Annabhau, Shankar Rao Kharat, Baburao Bagul and others, though the nature of the struggle of woman in the beginning is individual, later it becomes class conflict… As a consequence of this, Dalit female characters end the journey of deep darkness and behold dreams of sunrise… They fight for truth and for themselves.They revolt to protect their self- respect… The revolt of Dalit women is not person-centered but society-centered… That is why Dalit writers do not portray Dalit women as hollow identities, overflowing with love as embodiments of sacrifice (Prasad 46). Unlike Dalit men, only a few Dalit women have written their autobiographies, their narratives of pain. Most of them write in regional languages and they have hardly been translated into English. The position of Dalit women is as marginalized in Dalit literature as they are in their community.
INTRODUCTION- Before I start talking by Dalits in Bihar, I would like to talk about Dalits in general, as to who the Dalits of India actually are. Normally the term “Dalit” comes from the Sanskrit word “dal” which means anything broken, downtrodden or oppressed.” In our country, it is an umbrella term used to describe those who were previously referred to as harijans, untouchables, outcastes- the ones who fall out of the four fold of the Indian Caste system consisting of the Brahmins, Kshatriya, Vaishya and the Shudras. They were restricted to doing menial chores and often considered impure and therefore excluded and treated as untouchable by the rest of the society and such exclusion also prevent them from enjoying even the basic human rights
Etymologically, the word Dalit derived from crushed grained and destroyed which leads to the meaning of depressed. The word Dalit comes from Sanskrit language, which means suppressed and broken to pieces. It has been used to include all those vast mass of people among the scheduled castes who have been traditionally subjected to invidious (unpleasant) discriminations on grounds of untouchability and categorized as the untouchables, the down-trodden, the exterior castes, the ex-untouchables depressed classes. Dalits are treated either as marginal people without a history of their own or as objects rather than as subjects. ‘Adi Dravides’ ‘Adi Karnataka’ ‘Adi Andhra’ and Adi Dharmi, these words have been used in the states of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Punjab to identify untouchables respectively.
They include the Ahirs and the Kahars in Bihar, the kolis in Gujarat and the Vaddars in South India. They are considered caste-Hindus, above the pollution line. They have not enjoyed political power in the recent past. Most of them are small or marginal farmers, tenants, or agricultural laborers. ‘They were under the economic and political control of the landowning castes.
Appreciating Patriarchy: The male protagonists of the Dalit autobiographies have always appreciated patriarchy. The Dalit males have controlled the family with their leadership in the decision-making process. They always expected respect from the family. They did not follow the decisions of the women but dominated them. Though the Dalit women participate for the earning of the family; they were without economic freedom.