WE are Dalit History

Hindi Dalit Autobiographies and Their Engagements with India’s Past and Present





autobiography, identity, Hindi literature, Dalit, history


Life writings had time and again been used as source material for historical research both in the West and the various literary cultures of South Asia. Considering the absence and a deliberate, socially conditioned erasure of Dalit history from the mainstream narratives of Indian historiography, some scholars have introduced the notion of viewing Dalit life writings as exercises in history writing. This article explores several Dalit autobiographies as instances of engagement with the process of constructing history of Dalit communities in India. Starting from this premise, it undertakes a preliminary analysis of various narrative strategies employed in Hindi autobiographies by Dalit authors in the hope of revealing the nature of their engagements with India’s past and present. The study presented in this paper is based on four relevant examples of prose in Hindi—by Kausalya Baisantri, Sushila Takbhaure, Omprakash Valmiki, and Sheoraj Singh Bechain.

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How to Cite

Browarczyk, Monika. 2021. “WE Are Dalit History: Hindi Dalit Autobiographies and Their Engagements With India’s Past and Present”. Cracow Indological Studies 23 (2):1-39. https://doi.org/10.12797/CIS.23.2021.02.01.