Dalit literature, whether oral or written, has been an integral and enlivening part of Indian literary tradtions for centuries, eminent writer and academic U R Ananthamurthy has said. For the depressed classes like tribals and those destined to live in the lower rungs of the social hierarchy literature had always been a means to achieve "self-respect", the Jnanpith laureate said in Thiruvanathapuram last evening.
He was delivering a lecture on the "Contributions of Dalits to Indian literature", organised by Dr K Ayyappa Panicker Foundation, in honour of the late Malayalam poet and scholar. Quoting from Kannada and other Indian languages, Ananthamurthy said while non-Dalits could write about the Dalit situation they could not claim to represent the Dalits.
There had been several examples of non-Dalits writing on Dalit situation, like the famous Kannada novel "Chomana Dudi" by Shivaram Karanth. But there was a kind of arrogance when non-Dalits claimed to represent Dalits, he noted.
Full report here Hindustan Times