DALIT CONSCIOUSNESS AND AUTOBIOGRAPHY: READING SUSHILA TAKBHOURE’S SHIKANJE KA DARD
The basic postulation of Dalit writings has been to challenge and subvert the traditional brahmanical hegemony and seek a rightful position for those sections of society that have remained marginalized throughout history. There is no denying the fact that the Indian society has cherished and nourished the varna system and as a result, one section, down at the lowest rung, has been exploited thoroughly in the name of socio-religious practices. Using the rhetoric of propriety and superiority, the ‘upper’ castes have awarded sub-human treatment to the ‘lower’ castes that form “a quarter of the country’s people” (Mukherjee, “Translator’s Introduction” viii). In order to understand the dyadic relationship between the dalits and caste-Hindus, a diachronic study of history is required which explicitly shows that the relationship between history on one hand and society and culture on the other hand has never been unidirectional. It has been a two-way process. If history shapes and conditions the social cultural milieu, at the same time, it itself gets influenced and wrought by that particular milieu. That means the social, cultural, religious and economic factors do determine and constitute the concept of history. It should not come as a surprise then that history and the representation of various social groups has never been objective to the extent of being in seamless perfection.