Question 4: What do you understand by Dalit literature? Discuss Dalit writing from the contrasting perspectives of privileged/disadvantaged.
Ans: Dalit Literature refers to literature created by Dalits for Dalits. It is literature that is used to oppose the heinous crimes against Dalits. During the seventeenth century, crimes against the poorest people reached their pinnacle. In the hearts of the oppressed, a never-ending fire was continually blazing. The Dalits, who had been persecuted and subjugated for generations under the conventional social pattern, developed a rebellious mentality. Dalit literature has given groups that have faced discrimination, exploitation, and marginalisation as a result of the hierarchical caste system a new voice and identity. In several Indian languages, Dalit literature has established itself as a distinct category of writing. Over the last five decades, some publications in this category have developed as a prominent voice of Dalit populations in various literatures. The influence of Dalit authors and works has pushed literary organisations and academies to acknowledge Dalit literature as a distinct genre of literature and to honour it in various ways.
Dalit Literature from a inconvenient point of view: In their writings, Dalit writers have authentically depicted Dalit life, environment, and culture. Dalit literature is founded on the human person and humanism. Realism is prevalent in Dalit literature. In Dalit literature, society and environment come first, followed by the individual. Dalit literature is built on a different foundation than contemporary literature. New logical and socio culturally based aesthetics for Dalit writing have been given by Sharankumar Limbale, Arjun Dangle, Omvedt Gail, Om Prakash Valmiki, Harish Mangalam, and other Dalit authors. To explain Dalit aesthetics, Dalit authors and critics have portrayed their reasonable realities. “Equality, freedom, justice, and love are the essential feelings of individuals and society,” writes Sharankumar Limbale, a scholar Dalit writer and critic. They are far more significant than pleasure or beauty. In the history of the world, there has never been a revolution for the purpose of pleasure and beauty. Many regimes have fallen in the name of equality, liberty, and justice. This is the past… The literature that supports equality, liberty, and justice is revolutionary, emphasizing the human being’s and society’s centrality.”
The literature created by the Dalit awareness is known as Dalit literature. As is well known, Dr. Ambedkar fought for the unity, equality, identity, fraternity, and liberty of all Indians, including women and Dalits, until his death. He had researched India’s past, which was documented in Hindu sacred books, to get the identity of Dalits. Dr. Ambedkar raised Dalit consciousness via his critical examination of Hindu religion, Hindu mythology, Hindu classical and holy literary sources, and Indian history. Thus Dalit literary writers have revealed their own lives, cultures, existence, and struggles to the world, which they have not before done so. Dalit writers have shocked non-Dalits on the one hand and introduced the world to a new literary termed “Dalit Literature” on the other by revealing firsthand experiences of being Dalit.
From the standpoint of the affluent, Dalit Literature: The main distinction between non-Dalit and Dalit writers’ work is that the former provides a romantic picture of life while the latter presents a realistic view of reality. In his piece Dalit Literature: Past, Present, and Future, Arjun Dangle points out that : ‘This Dalit writing is deeply rooted in social realities and is neither fictitious nor entertainment-oriented.’ Furthermore, Harish Mangalam, a Dalit author and critic, says in an interview, “Non-Dalit writers compare the beloved’s cheeks to roses and liken the beloved’s lips to rose petals.
Non-Dalit writers can portray Dalits and their world, but not with the same authenticity as Dalit writers. As a result, Dalits are dissatisfied with mainstream writers’ literature. It’s because popular literature paints an image of the world of non-Dalits. The actual life of the Dalits, with its centuries of pains, cruelties, agonies, traumas, sufferings, injustices, estrangement, and sufferings, has never been justified in mainstream literature. The conventional authors’ best response is to feel pity and sympathy. Furthermore, they may be able to make some small adjustments within the current unequal Indian caste structure. As a result, Dalits want their real-life experiences to be reflected in writing. And it is one of the desires that has resulted in the creation of Dalit literature. Dalits have been depicted by non-Dalit writers, albeit in a gentle manner, sympathetic and pitiful. As a result, they are focused on the Dalits’ deplorable and inhumane living conditions. They never conveyed Ambedkarite ideas to Dalits. Dalits are tragic figures in the hands of mainstream authors. Non-Dalits cannot portray the centuries-old aches, traumas, and sufferings authentically in their writings since they are the spectators and doers, not the victims and sufferers.