Designation : Assistant Professor in English, Marudhar Kesari Jain College for Women Vanibayambadi

    Journal Name : Reserach maGma

    Publication Date : 11/10/2017

    Abstract :
    Etymologically speaking, the term dalit has originated from Sanskrit, dalita meaning ‘oppressed’. It seems to have been borrowed from Hindi recently. It means (in the traditional Indian Caste System) a member of the caste that is considered the lowest and has the fewest advantages. The origin of Dalits as a clan may be traced back to the Rigveda, the oldest Veda of Hindus. Four Varnas are identified in ancient classics and religious literature of the Hindus. There is a general traditional assumption among the caste Hindus/upper caste Hindus that the Dalits did not have their own cultural institutions, arts and fine arts, etc. This paper focuses on the presentation of information which proves that the Dalits did and do have their own culture and have had their own traditions, music, rites of passage, worship of gods, and knowledge of many kinds of fine arts, handicrafts and so on. Many stories or books on them by well-meaning authors did not mention this cultural side of their miserable lives, and focussed on only the oppression and abuse perpetrated upon them by the upper caste Hindus, and so we had not heard of their cultural traditions. The paper presents the arguments and facts using information available from various sources such as Mulk Raj Anand’s Untouchable and describes the current state of Dalit literature with particular reference to Tamil literature.

    Keywords :
    Dalit, Varnas, Kshatriyas, Vaisyas, Shudras, Rig Veda, subaltern literature, Indian Writing in English, Modern Dalit literature.

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