03 March, 2021

Muck And Dung In Furioso

Like Ambedkar, Bagul rudely tears off the romantic veil from villages and depicts a ruthless system of exploitation, indignities and hopeless rebellion

Muck And Dung In Furioso

Jerry Pinto, a writer and translator of such classics as Daya Pawar’s Baluta, has just published a compelling English tra­nslation of another explosively powerful work of Marathi Dalit literature, Baburao Bagul’s Jevha Mi Jaat Chorli Hoti (When I Hid My Caste).

Unlike Baluta, Bagul’s book is not an autobiography, but a collection of ten short stories, each of which is eruptive, disruptive, cathartically poignant.

Originally published in 1963 when Bagul was a feisty 32 years old (that is, a decade before the launch of the revolutionary Dalit Panthers, in which he pla­yed an inspirational role), Jevha Mi Jaat Chorli Hoti shocked the Marathi literary community, which had been dom­inated by the formalist style of ‘high-caste’ aut­hors. It shocked because of the explicit, anti-romantic represe­n­tation of violence, of penury, rape, caste humiliation, and because its protagonists were a motley cast of pimps, pro­stitutes, gangsters and outcastes. Dec­a­­des on, all of...

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