Under My Dark Skin Flows A Red River: Translations Of Dalit Writings From Bengal – Edited & Translated by Debi Chatterjee & Sipra Mukherjee


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‘We too have our Sun’, writes a woman Dalit poet, challenging the established canons of Bangla literature that resist Dalit’s entry. With translations from Bengal only beginning in the 21st century, Dalit writings have remained largely unrepresented in the corpus of pan-Indian Dalit literature. Yet Bangla Dalit literature has a long history: the songs of Sufis, Bauls, Fakirs and many other grass roots religious sects rebelling against brahminical domination. Largely unknown in mainstream Bengal, this was a robust and popular body of oral literature from the margins. The challenges and rebellions that characterise modern Dalit literature are not unique to modernity, existing in the living traditions.

In the late 20th century, Dalits’ writings have been published by small publishers and little magazines, ushering a new vibrancy in Bangla literature. This anthology presents translations of a selection of essays, songs, poetry, short stories, extracts from autobiographies and novels as an introduction to a spirited and dynamic literature from Bengal.

About the Authors

Debi Chatterjee retired as Professor, Department of International Relations, Jadavpur University. She is the founder-editor of the journal Contemporary Voice of Dalit.

Sipra Mukherjee is Professor, Department of English, West Bengal State University. Her publications include the translation of Interrogating My Chandal Life: Autobiography of a Dalit by Manoranjan Byapari(Sage-Samya, 2018), which won The Hindu Non-fiction Award, 2019


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