Sweet Revenge

Vanmam, Bama's 2003 novel has finally been translated into English. Published recently by OUP (the translation is by Malini Seshadri), this work (Vanmam translates as Vendetta) focuses "on the inter-caste rivalry within Dalit communities. It highlights the animosity between the Pallars and the Parayars of Kandampatti village-who identify themselves as Hindus and Christians respectively- and describes how the landowners of the dominant Naicker caste stoke the fires of intra-Dalit hostilities to benefit themselves, ignoring the human costs paid for time and again in misery, loss, and death. An important contribution to the corpus of Dalit literature, this translation makes Vanmam available to a wider reading public."

Dalit writing- a relatively recent genre- is "characterized by startling language, ethnographic detail, and native idiom. Dalit writing in Tamil has gone hand in hand with political activism, and with critical and ideological debate. However a large portion of this writing has concentrated on the theme of victimhood." This book is quite different. And Bama's autobiography Karukku (Macmillan) which appeared several years ago, as well as her novel Sangati (also from OUP) are both listed on Scholars, as is a collection of short stories, Harum Scarum Saar (from Women Unlimited).

An important book from an important writer.
In our Indian Literature in Translation section. Rs 345, ISBN 9780195696332

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