This book breaks new ground in the study of Dalit literature, including in its corpus a range of genres such as novels, autobiographies, pamphlets, poetry, short stories and graphic novels. With contributions from major scholars in the field, alongside budding ones, the book critically examines Dalit literary production and theory. It also initiates a dialogue between Dalit writing and Western literary theory.

This second edition includes a new Introduction which takes stock of developments since 2015. It discusses how Dalit writing has come to play a major role in asserting marginal identities in contemporary Indian politics while moving towards establishing a more radical voice of dissent and protest.

Lucid, accessible yet rigorous in its analysis, this book will be indispensable for scholars and researchers of Dalit studies, social exclusion studies, Indian writing, literature and literary theory, politics, sociology, social anthropology and cultural studies.

chapter |11 pages

Introduction to the Second Edition

Taking stock, updating, moving forward

chapter |13 pages

Introduction to the first edition

Dalit literatures in India: in, out and beyond

chapter 1|11 pages

Caste Differently*

chapter 2|13 pages

Caste and Democracy

Three paradoxes

chapter 4|18 pages

‘No Name Is Yours until You Speak It’

Notes towards a contrapuntal reading of Dalit literatures and postcolonial theory

chapter 6|15 pages

Negotiations with Faith

Conversion, identity and historical continuity

chapter 7|20 pages

Resisting Together Separately

Representations of the Dalit–Muslim question in literature

chapter 8|15 pages

Creating Their Own Gods

Literature from the margins of Bengal

chapter 9|18 pages

Caste and the Literary Imagination in the Context of Odia Literature

A reading of Akhila Nayak’s Bheda

chapter 10|18 pages

Questions of Caste, Commitment and Freedom in Gujarat, India

Towards a reading of Praveen Gadhvi’s The City of Dust and Lust

chapter 11|15 pages

Dalit Intellectual Poets of Punjab


chapter 12|12 pages

Life, History and Politics

Kallen Pokkudan’s two autobiographies and the Dalit print imaginations in Keralam 1

chapter 13|18 pages

Dalits Writing, Dalits Speaking

On the encounters between Dalit autobiographies and oral histories

chapter 14|14 pages

A Life Less Ordinary

The female subaltern and Dalit literature in contemporary India

chapter 15|12 pages

Witnessing and Experiencing Dalitness

In defence of Dalit women’s Testimonios

chapter 16|13 pages

Literatures of Suffering and Resistance

Dalit women’s Testimonios and Black women slave narratives – a comparative study

chapter 17|14 pages

Polluting the Page

Dalit women’s bodies in autobiographical literature

chapter 19|18 pages

Caste as the Baggage of the Past

Global modernity and the cosmopolitan Dalit identity 1

chapter 20|11 pages

Tense – Past Continuous

Some critical reflections on the art of Savi Sawarkar

chapter 21|19 pages

The Indian Graphic Novel and Dalit Trauma

A Gardener in the Wasteland