|Publisher:||Columbia University Press|
|No. of Units:||1|
|No. of Pages:||208|
Traditionally, Indian literatures have either ignored untouchables or portrayed them as victims in need of saviors, as objects without voice or agency. Valmiki has broken new ground with an authentic recording of these unrepresented experiences. He tells the stories of life in the untouchable caste of Chuhra, at the bottom rung of society; his heroic struggle to survive this preordained life of perpetual physical and mental persecution; the cruel obstacles he overcame to become the first high school graduate of his neighborhood; his coming to consciousness under the influence of the great Dalit political leader B. R. Ambedkar; and his transformation into a speaking subject bearing witness to the oppression and exploitation that heendured as an individual and as a member of a stigmatized and oppressed community.
Dalits today constitute about one sixth of India's population. Spread over the entire country, speaking many languages, and belonging to many religions, they have become a major political force. As a document of the long silenced and long denied sufferings of the Dalits, "Joothan" is not only a contribution to the archives of Dalit history, but a manifesto for the revolutionary transformation of society and human consciousness.