The Last Decade of Gujarati Dalit Literature
Dr. D. M. Bhadresariya
A/48, New Kamal Kunj Society, Opp. Bhaktinagar, I.O.C. Road,
Chandkheda, Ahmedabad-382424 (Gujarat)-India
(M) 09924721659, E-Mail: dmforagc@gmail.com


As far as Dalit literature is concerned, I believe that we never witnessed in the past that we were ever united until independence. It seemed scattered across many provinces on account of the school of Manu. Most of the followers of Manu's ideas have been acting inhumanly and committing atrocities and practicing untouchability since time immemorial. Even today they are trying to keep the whole society in the dark about an unjust social order so that in the society. The writers belonging to the downtrodden need to unveil the unjust order through self awakening as well as their literature. Dalit writer's ultimate aim today is to stage an ideological war against the traditional social order that is inhuman and unjust.

Since mainstream literature are hiding the sinful acts of society and showing attractive and beautiful sides of our society, Dalit literature bring to light the good qualities, customs and manners of the Dalits and their society. Dalit literature is basically written in the regional languages of the states in India. It is written about Dalits but only literature written by writers who come from the Dalit communities has the authenticity of experience and the ring of truth because 'only the one who wears the shoe knows where it bites.' This is true of Gujarati Dalit literature too. While the non-Dalit writers keep Sympathetic ideas about the Dalits, yet it is always likely to have a hollow ring.

Dalit literature is based on the ideology of the great father of the constitution Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar. It depicts and speaks about humanity, liberty and brotherhood which are the basic virtues for unity as well as the strong foundation of our nation. Dalit literature produced so forth has greatly contributed to the process of national consolidation and integration. Now-a-days Dalit literature is exercising a powerful influence in Gujarat too. As far as its relation with Marathi Dalit literature is concerned then it works as inspiration because Gujarati Dalit literature took off only with the anti-reservation agitation of 1981 and 1985.

I would like to convey that Dalit writers have much concern about 'perspiration' than 'inspiration' in its pre-occupation with fostering and upholding human values. That's why we have to accept that it can not afford to be a decorative piece, a consumer article or a literature for entertainment. Gujarati Dalit literature is socio-literary movement deeply influenced by the thoughts of Mahatma Jotiba Phule and Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar. It is indebted to the mass movements they led. As Harish Mangalam says: 'Any works of literature which seeks to express in words, the pulses of those sections of humanity which are oppressed and which are engaged in struggles for their existence deserves to be called in the broadest sense, Dalit literature.'

New position is that Dalit literature is becoming a permanent phenomenon and if it continues to be a force to reckon with, it will soon be in the mainstream literature of Gujarat. The prominent writers devoted to the cause are Harish Mangalam, Dalpat Chauhan, Dr Pathik Parmar, Arvind Vegada, B. Kesharshivam and Mr Pravin Gadhavi. Then there are Dalit writers like Late Shri Joseph Macwan, Madhukant Kalpit, Dharmabhai Shrimali, B.N. Vankar, Mohan Parmar, Nirav Patel, Mavji Maheshwari, Dr. Vinod Gandhi, Dasharath Parmar, Dr Ratilal Rohit, Dr Kanti Malsatar, Dr Hasyada Pandyaa, Chandra Shrimali, Priyanka Kalpit and few others.

Until now Gujarati Dalit literature has been written in all literary forms so that it has created the history of Gujarati literature. In connection with last decade of Gujarati literature, I would like to say that in comparison to post independence era, last decade of Gujarati Dalit literature has been written and published in full swing.

First of all I talk about Dalit poetry. In Gujarati literature Dalit voice has become the most articulate along with commitment of society. Now the Dalit poets due to progress of literary sense have been using poetry as a weapon to fight, as an action to achieve many objectives since their main aim is the realization of justice. Herewith Dalit poetry is variously defined on account of its rainbow variety. Dr. Pathik Parmar defines: "you can find in Dalit poetry the poems also on socio-economic activities of the Dalits expressing their environment in a style and diction of their own, alongwith the themes of social inequality, rapes and revolt."

In last decade, we have more than twenty independent collection of poems, such as Dalpat Chauhan's 'Kya Chhe Suraj?' (Where is the Sun?), Arvind Vegada's 'Pageru' (Footprint), Dr. Pathik Parmar's 'Bahiskrut' (Expelled), Madhukant Kalpit's 'Tarjumo' (Translation), Pravin Gadhvi's 'Tunir' (Arrowcase), A. K. Dahiya's 'Masiha' (Prophet), 'Jhankhnama Surya' (Desire of the Sun), Tekesh Macwana's 'Jyoti Bane Jwala' (The flame of light), B. N. Vankar's 'Overbridge', K. K. Vaishnav's 'Aankh' (The eye), Sahil Parmar's 'Manthan' (Extertion), Samant Solanki's 'Yad Karo Masihane' (Remember the Prophet), Maheshchandra Pandya's 'Manas Karde Chhe' (Man bites), Nirav Patel's 'Bahishkrut Phoolo' (The expelled flowers), Bhikhu Vegda's 'Apno Paras Aap' (Ourself is philosopher's stone), Madhuvir Amitmitra's 'Bhim Kavya Saurabh' (Frag of Bhim's poem), Himmat Khatsuriya's 'Kalgit' (Song of the age), 'Raltankan' (The red blood-cell) etc.

Besides this, Nilesh Kathod's edited 'Ekalavya No Angutho' (The thumb of Ekalavya), Dalpat Chauhan, Harish Mangalam and Pravin Gadhavi's edited 'Dundubhi' (The war drum), Harish Mangalam's edited 'Dalit Vanee' (Dalit's speech), 'Dalit Geet Gazal' (with Pathik Parmar) and others. In all means Gujarati Dalit poetry establishes its human identity by raising its furious voice against injustice with literary forms.

Along with poetry, short story always remains one of the favourite literary forms of Gujarati Dalit writers. Many artistically excellent and noteworthy stories and story collections have been written by Gujarati Dalit writers since long. In last decade, Dalit stories have been published in many magazines and in individual collections. Some of them are Harish Mangalam's 'Talap' (The desire), B. N. Vankar's 'Vilopan' (Cessation), Dalpat Chauhan's 'Dar' (Fear), B. Kesharshivam's 'Rati Rayanni Ratash' (The redness of red Rayan fruit), 'Janma Divas' (Birthday) and 'Dr. Sema', Dharmabhai Shrimali's 'Narak' (Hell) and 'Sankal' (Chain), Josheph Macwan's 'Agalo' (The bar), Chandraben Shrimali's 'Chakuno Var (Chaku's husband) and 'Chani Bor Ane Biji Vartao' (Chani - Berry and other stories), Amrut Macwana's 'Lisoto' (A scratch), Maulik Borija's 'Bhins' (Pressure), Vitthal Rao Shrimali's 'Shakshi Sabarni' (In the witnessing presence of Sabarmati), Hasmukh Vaghela's 'Zol' (The flame), Mavji Maheshwari's 'Adrashya Diwalo' (The invisible walls).

Not only above mentioned but also the below mentioned writers whose stories are being published in various leading Magazines, are: Dr Pathik Parmar, Arvind Vegada, Madhukant Kalpit, Jayanti Parmar, Dasharath Parmar, Haripar, Raman Vaghela, Raghavji Madhad, Naikal Gangera, Yashwant Vaghela, Narsinh Ujamba, Raman Vankar, Tushar Parmar, Dr Keshubhai Desai, Dr. Hasyada Pandya, Dr Vinod Gandhi, Pritam Lakhani, Dr. Ratilal Rohit and myself Dr. D.M. Bhadresariya. Gujarati Dalit Novels have been getting considerable position in Gujarati literature. The novelists of Gujarati Dalit Novels describe both social and literary commitment in the part of political, education and socio-cultural issues specially related to the Dalits striving for the realization of equality with so called upper-caste people.

In Gujarat, now Dalit fiction is known by some genuine novels such as 'Aangaliyat', 'Tirad-Choki', 'Malak', 'Geedh', 'Shool', 'Neliyu', 'Shosh', 'Aganzal', 'Astitwa' and 'Keedeeae Khonkharo Khadho' etc. In last decade, Dalit writers have given noteworthy novels like that Joseph Macwan's 'Amar Chandlo (The immortal mark of bindi) and 'Dariya' (The sea), Dalpat Chauhan's third novel 'Bhalbhankhlu' (The dawn), Harish Mangalam's third novel 'Aganzal' (Eternal flame), Mohan Parmar's forth novel 'Daya Pashani Vadi' (A farm of Daya Pasha), DaxaDamodara's 'Shosh' (Thirst) and 'Savitri' (Jotiba Phoole's wife), Pragjibhai Bhambhi's 'Diwali Na Diwaso' (Days of Diwali) and 'Gherav' (The besieged), B. Kesharshivam's 'Patni' (Wife), Ganesh Acharya's 'Astitva' (Existense), Harish Solanki's 'Sangharsh' (Struggle), Kantilal Parmar's 'Gebi Timbo' (The mysterious Hillock) and myself Dr. D. M. Bhadresariya's 'Keedeeae Khonkharo Khadho' (An ant Dared) etc. Moreover Gujarati Dalit literature got two novels by the non-Dalit hands such as Jayant Gadit's 'Prashanmu' and Dr Pradip Pandya's 'Manjil Haji (Destination is yet far).

During the last decade Gujarat Dalit literature has expanded and our Dalit writers have started to write Life-sketches, Autobiographies, plays, essays, criticism, doctoral thesis and work of research etc. Notable anthologies of life-sketches are: Joseph Macwan's 'Nimbhade Nipjela' and 'Joseph Macwanna Pratinidhi Rekha Chitro'. In the sense of Dalit's struggle and achievement : Autobiography of Gujarati Dalit's literature are: B. Keshrshivam's 'Purna Satya' (Whole Truth), P. K. Valera's 'Thor NuphulL '(A flower of Cactus), Dahyabhai Dinbandhu' 'Jeevan Sangharsh' (struggle of life) and Lalit Parmar's 'Atma Katha' (Autobiography). The essay of Dalit writers are : B. Kesharshivam's 'Gay-NO-Dero' (Cow Hillock), Dharamabhai Shrimali's 'Bhandariyu' (Small Cellar), Balkrishna Anand's 'Pitru Gatha', (The father pray) etc. Plays of Dalit literature are: Dalpat Chauhan's 'Anaryavatra' (The Realm of non- Aryas), 'Harifai' (The competition), 'Angaraj' (The king of Ang state) and 'Rat Rajnagarni' (The Night of Rajnagar), Mohan Parmar's 'Bahiskar' (Expeller) & Harish Manglam's 'Lyo Chop Pado! (Now switch on the light!) etc.

In Gujarati Dalit Literature, along with crating poetry and fiction, many writers are doing the works of criticism related on Dalit literature such as Harish Mangalam's 'Panch' Kafla Intercontinental / Jan.April. 2013 / 73 (String of arrow ), 'Aekavachan' (Singular) and 'Pratidhwani' (echo), Dalpat Chauhan's 'Padchihn' (Sign of Foot), ' Samarthan' (To support) and 'Gujarati Dalit Sahitya Ni Kedie'(The history of Gujarati Dalit Literature), Pathik Parmar's 'Samprat Dalit Sahitya Pravah' (Stream of present Dalit literature), Arvind Vegada's 'Darpan' (Mirror), Madhukant Kalpit's 'Pratyakshya' (Direct) and my self Dr. D. M. Bhadresariya's 'Dalit Vruttant' (Literary tale of Dalit) etc., The recent doctoral theses are : M. B. Gaijan's 'Dalit Literary Tradition', Dr Kanti Malsatar's 'Dalit Kathvimarsh' (Discourse of Dalit Fiction ) and mine is 'B. Kesharshim, Dalpat Chauhan and Harish Mangalamnu Kathasahity' A.K. Abhyas (The Study of Fiction works of B. Kesharshivam, Dalpat Chuahan and Harish Mangalam) etc.

In addition to this, we have also founded 'Gujarat Dalit Sahitya Academy' since 1997 under fully committed writers like Harish Manglam, Joseph Macwan, Dalpat Chauhan, Arvind Vegada, Madhukant Kalpit. Many others and myself and till now, we have published 40 publications of various literary forms and more than seven books have been awarded by reputed literary organizations.

Our mouthpiece 'Hayati' has been publishing since 1997 and patronizes new talent. Within this decade many literary programs have been arranged by Gujarat Dalit Sahitya Academy in both City and Village. Herewith I would like to say that the ignition of torch of social awareness and reformative zeal amongst the intelligentsia as well as the mass is the motto of our Academy which to somewhat extent seems to have been achieved.
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Author

(Published in Kafla Intercontinental - Jan-April 2013)