BREAKING ALL FETTERS WITH THE SWORD OF EDUCATION: INTERPRETING BAMA’S KARUKKU AS A LIGHTHOUSE FOR DALIT FEMINISM
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Karukku is a poignant text that brings to light the shameful and ugly secrets of our mainstream Indian society, which has thrived on flawed, unjust doctrines of subjugating its most diligent and hard-working section in the name of a caste-based hierarchy. But the book does not limit itself to being merely a treatise on caste atrocities and a woman’s solidarity with the other members of her marginalized community. It goes on to become a manifesto of self-emancipation for the victimized Dalits across India. Through this book, Bama calls for her fellow folks - the Dalits, and particularly the Dalit women - to re-discover, re-define, re-affirm and re-establish their identities as well as their rightful place in the Indian social order through educational and entrepreneurial initiatives, thereby resisting their victimization at the hands of hegemonic powers. My article not only delineates these multiple dimensions of this masterpiece of Dalit-feminist literature, but also argues that this book must be read as a thought-provoking piece of ‘resistance literature’. Further, this article will also make an attempt to trace the intersecting trajectories between ‘Dalit feminism’ and ‘post-colonialism’ that can be identified in an insightful, close reading of Bama’s Karukku.
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