“The Double Curse”—a Dalit Woman Autobiography in Hindi by Kausalya Baisantri

Authors

  • Monika Browarczyk Adam Mickiewicz University

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.12797/CIS.15.2013.15.15

Keywords:

Dalit literature, Hindi literature, women’s studies, Kausalya Baisanntri, autobiography

Abstract

Kausalya Baisantri authored a Dalit woman autobiography in Hindi— the first to my knowledge—in 1999. The article draws on the ‘narrative self’ concept as the theoretical apparatus for the analysis of the text’s content and context. The history of the autobiography genre in Hindi overlaps with the beginnings and advancement of prose in pre-modern and modern literature in these languages, which developed at the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century. Autobiographical motifs predominate Dalit writings, due mostly to the fact that Dalit literature per se is viewed both by the authors as well as by the readers as a strong manifesto of an exploited people’s struggle, voiced by the oppressed themselves with the purpose of enforcing social change, it is perceived as a weapon to fight oppression of the upper castes.

References

Babur, 2002. The Baburnama. Memoirs of Babur, Prince and Emperor. Transl. and ed. W. M. Thackston. New York: The Modern Library.

Banarasidas, 2009. Ardhakathanak (A Half Story). Transl. Rohini Chowdhury. New Delhi: Penguin Books.

Baisantri, K. 1999. Dohrā abhiśāp. [The Double Curse]. Delhi: Kitabghar Prakaśan.

Beth, S. 2007. Hindi Dalit Autobiography: An Exploration of Identity. In: Modern Asian Studies 41, No. 3. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press: 545–574. http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0026749X0600240X (May, 2007).

Browarczyk, M. 2013 (forthcoming). The Intimate Me in the Public Sphere: Contemporary Hindi Autobiographies by Women—Maitreyi Pushpa and Prabha Khaitan. Warsaw: CEENIS Papers.

Brueck, L. 2006. Dalit chetna in Dalit literary criticism. In: Seminar. http://www.india-seminar.com/2006/558.htm (access 05.07.2013)

Butalia, U. 1998. The Other Side of Silence: Voices from the Partition of India. New Delhi: Penguin Books.

Cavarero, A. 2000. (1st ed. in Italian 1997). Relating Narratives. Storytelling and Selfhood. London–New York: Routledge.

Das, S. K. 2008. A History of Indian Literature. 1800–1910 Western Impact: Indian Response. Delhi: Sahitya Akademi.

Devi, R. 1999. Amar Jiban (My Life). Transl. E. Chaterjee. Calcutta: Writers Workshop.

Eakin, J. P. 1992. Touching the World. Reference in Autobiography. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Gilmore, L. 2001. The Limits of Autobiography: Trauma and Testimony. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.

Gulbadan, 2001. (1st ed. 1901). Humayūnnāma. The History of Humayūn. Transl. and ed. A. S. Beveridge. New Delhi: Goodword Book.

Hansen, K. 2011. Stages of Life: Indian Theatre Autobiographies. New Delhi: Permanent Black.

Hasan, M. (ed.). 2007. Seamless Boundaries. Lutfullah’s Narrative beyond East and West. New Delhi: Oxford University Press.

Limbale, Sh. 2004. (1st Marathi ed. 1996). Towards an Aesthetic of Dalit Literature. History. Controversies and Considerations. New Delhi: Orient Longman.

Lynch, C. 2010. Trans-genre Confusion. What does autobiography think it is? In: R. Bradford (ed.). Life Writing. Essays on Autobiography, Biography and Literature. New York: Macmillian.

Mukherjee, A. P. 2010. Introduction. In: O. Valmiki. Joothan. A Dalit’s Life. Kolkata: Samya: xi-xlii.

Revathi, A. 2010. The Truth about Me. A Hijra Life Story. New Delhi: Penguin Books.

Schechtman, M. 2011. The Narrative Self. In: Sh. Gallagher (ed.). The Oxford Handbook of the Self. Oxford: Oxford University Press. http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199548019.001.0001.

Smith, S. and J. Watson. 1998. Introduction: Situating Subjectivity in Women’s Autobiographical Practices. In: S. Smith and J. Watson (eds). Women, Autobiography, Theory. A Reader. Madison: The University of Wisconsin Press.

Swindells, J. 1995. The Uses of Autobiography. London: Taylor and Francis.

Zagajewski, A. 2007. W cudzym pięknie. Kraków: Wydawnictwo a5.

—. 2011. Lekka przesada. Kraków: Wydawnictwo a5.

Downloads

Published

2013-12-21

How to Cite

Browarczyk, Monika. 2013. “‘The Double Curse’—a Dalit Woman Autobiography in Hindi by Kausalya Baisantri”. Cracow Indological Studies 15 (December):287-305. https://doi.org/10.12797/CIS.15.2013.15.15.