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.
Exploitation of Dalits Introduction: Dalit- The term has been derived from Sanskrit word dal, meaning broken and downtrodden. It shows the exploitation and inequality in the hierarchical system of India. They have been considered as polluting and hence have been excluded from society since times immemorial. Dalit is a word which came into being recently. Earlier, they were classified as acchut, untouchable, chandals, harijans and many such terms.
Dalit women are rightly seen as thricely subjugated; as women, as Dalit women, and as Dalit women who perform impure tasks. Dr. B.R. Ambedkar saw Hindu caste system as a pyramid of earthen pot which is put over one another. In this structure, the privileged castes of Brahmins and Kshathriyas are at top and Shudras and untouchables at the bottom. Within each earthen pot, men are situated at the top and women of that caste lie on the bottom.
The Dalits, called by different names like Dasyu, Dasa, Atisudra, Panchame, Tirukutdba, Adikarnataka, Adi Dravidia are actually the ‘Depressed Classes’ of Indian society. They are the people who are economically, socially and politically exploited since centuries. They have been systematically pushed to the periphery by the traditional Brahmanical structure of oppression. This exploitation is due to the discrimination followed by age old caste hierarchical tradition in the Hindu society. It has subjected them to a life of poverty and humiliation.
Dalit is also a Marati word for those who have been broken, ground down by those above them in a deliberate and active way. James Massey in Roots states: “A concise History of Dalits, explained Dalit, as the burst, the split, the broken are torn asunder the crushed down, the scattered, the crushed and the destroyed. So it suggests an afflicted and struggling people.” The present use of the term originated from the nineteenth century Marathi social reformer Mahatma Jyotirao Phule who used the word in connection with the suppressed. Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar, a well renowned Dalit leader, and the architect of the constitution, said that the word describes the oppressed and broken victims of the caste-ridden society. This term specifies the outcastes and despised community.
Introduction to Dalit literature ‘Dalit’ is a term used to describe the people who are placed at the bottom of the traditional Indian caste system. In a lay man’s language Dalits are referred to a category the untouchables. Dalit literature is a platform to express the sufferings of Dalits and call out for their liberation. Dalit literature does not only deal with Mangas, Mallas, Chamars, Tagis, etc but it is also about the upper class people who mock at lower sections of the society. Dalit literature gained its momentum under the legacy of Savitri Bai Phule, Jyotiba Phule, and Bhimrao Ambedkar.
This is a gap that is seen between the Indian elite and the majority of Indians, but it becomes an even wider gulf when the Dalit elite is juxtaposed with the average Dalit. The audience of all Dalit literature is predominantly non-Dalit. Dalit writing today is extremely varied. Apart from the realistic, non-realistic, naturalistic and quasi-journalistic fiction that constitutes the staple of Dalit prose writers, there are surrealistic and expressionist poets among the Dalit whose writing is extremely sophisticated or avant-garde. The Dalit poets like Namdeo Dhasal and Aijun Dangle have created an alternative poetics that throws overboard classical values like propriety, balance, restraint and understatement.
A Dawnless Night – Touch-Me-Notism as one of the Dimensions of Anthropocentrism: A Study of Bama’s Karukku M. Divya, Assistant Professor of English, Dr. G. R. Damodaran College of Science, Coimbatore Dalit is a Marathi word, “dala” meaning “of the soil or the earth”. Another meaning is “that which is rooted in the soil”. Dalit is a self designation for a group of people of South Asian descent who were traditionally regarded as untouchables or low castes. Dalits are those who are oppressed like the hill people, neo-Buddhists, labourers, destitute farmers, women and all those who have been exploited politically, economically in the society. There are separate streets for each community which says that different caste people lived there.
In order to rescue from such atrocities, Dalits established their own organization to counter against such atrocities. This gave birth to Dalit writers, critics, lyricists, theatre artists who wrote the narratives of oppression and resistance of the forgotten the Dalits in India. This kind of organizations and Dalit intellectuals addressed the caste discrimination and initiated a debate in the civil society. Since, Dalits were neglected education, the intellectual works of Dalit scholars either forgotten or little explored. Thus, the narratives were confined to only to oral and mnemonic transmission.
A Dalit is actually born below the cast system. India’s constitution abolished “untouchability”, meaning that the dominant castes could no longer legally force Dalits to perform any “polluting” occupation. Yet sweeping, scavenging, and leather work are still the occupation of the scheduled caste. Simply says that Dalits are who marginalized by the upper class in the society. Post colonial which means political and cultural conditions of the former colony.