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Dalit Personal Narratives is an attempt to understand its multiple meanings expressed and mediated through different identities such as caste, class, ethnicity, religion, language and gender.
It also traces the origin of autobiographical writing in the West and follows its development both thematically and structurally by analysing the autobiographies of Saint Augustine, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Benjamin Franklin and J.S. Mill. Also discussed are autobiographies of upper caste Indian public personalities, including M.K. Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru. The personal narratives of upper caste Indian women, however—like Rassundari Devi, Binodini Dasi and others—reveal their under-privileged status in a patriarchal system.
Dalits Personal Narratives will add significantly to the growing corpus of scholarship on caste in India, particularly Dalit and gender studies. Raj Kumar’s realistic yet simple style of writing grips the reader immediately. It is also a valuable reference for students of literature, history, sociology, and those interested in the genre of the autobiography and studies on ethnicity, culture and society.