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Subaltern Experimental Writing: Dalit Literature in Dialogue with the World

Nicole Thiara


This essay analyses the experimental features of three contemporary novels produced by Dalits in relation to the way in which these novels address caste, national and international audiences. Bama’s novel Sangati (1994), Sharankumar Limbale’s novel Hindu (2003) and G. Kalyana Rao’s novel Untouchable Spring (2000) create fragmented, innovative and complex narrative structures that are experimental both in the way in which they try to reflect oral narrative structures in order to validate the unique communal legacy of Dalit culture and in the way in which they seek to produce narrative strategies that are radically new in order to evoke a world free from caste discrimination. The essay also explores the novels’ complex positioning of multiple readers and the distinctive features of the English translations. The three translations both re-code the texts for international consumption but at the same time try to keep the novels ‘strange’ to some extent; in the attempt to replicate the innovative features of these Dalit novels, the translations are emphatically experimental.


Dalit, subaltern, experimental writing, Bama, Limbale, Kalyana Rao

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The Johns Hopkins University Press

ISSN: 1920-1222

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