04 December, 2020

Ways Of Holding The Chin Up

To break millennia-old oppression, violence is a useful tool, says Awad. His life’s fight for Dalit rights is a fight to install equality in their minds.

Ways Of Holding The Chin Up

Autobiographies, as a literary genre, have never rece­ived the sort of academic and critical attention that they merit. From the 4th century, from profoundly introspective autobiographies like Augustine’s Confessions, up to the contemporary, pro­pagandistic memoirs of present political leadership, they have given us exemplars, real-life heroes and heroines, archetypes to admire and imitate.

Novelist Jerry Pinto has been on a tear translating, among other genres, Dalit autobiographies from Marathi into English. Having translated Daya Pawar’s masterpiece Baluta in 2015, Pinto has presented us with a translation of Eknath Awad’s powerful and inspirational Str­ike a Blow to Change the World (2018).

Despite Gandhi’s claim in The Story of My Experi­ments with Truth (1927), India actually has had a long history of autobiographical writing, dating at least as far back as Baburnama. The genre of Dalit autobiography could be said to have begun with Ambedkar’s unfinished Wai­ting for a Visa (circa...



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