Daily Archives: May 25, 2011

Book Review: No Alphabet in Sight: New Dalit Writing from South India Dossier 1: Tamil and Malayalam: Edited by K. Satyanarayana and Susie Tharu

Title: No Alphabet in Sight: New Dalit Writing from South India Dossier 1: Tamil and Malayalam
Author: Edited by K. Satyanarayana and Susie Tharu
Publisher: Penguin India
ISBN: 9780143414261
PP: 656 pages
Genre: Fiction, Non-Fiction, Poetry
Price: Rs. 599
Source: Publisher
Rating: 5/5

What is the true nature of a democratic country? The real face of it. When does it appear and make itself visible or does it choose to remain hidden and elusive, considering the fact that the country isn’t really democratic, if one looks closely? The idea of the distinction in just about everything is so evident and appalling to a very large extent.

And this is when a book like “No Alphabet in Sight” is published. My personal belief is that if you can make people aware of what exists behind the shadows, then in all probability half of your work is already done. The book is a collection of New Dalit Writing and it is a first volume from South India, featuring Tamil and Malayalam Writers. Edited by K. Satyanarayana and Susie Tharu, two stalwarths in Cultural and Women Studies, this collection is a heady mix of fiction and non-fiction, basically points of view.

What got me started with this collection were the poems – dark, dense and touching that basic chord in human beings, these poems are nothing short of brilliance. The volume brings together close to 40 intellectuals’ works from Tamil Nadu and Kerala – all searching and questionning the same situation – The Dalit Situation and what will be its’ fate in Modern India? The book delves into bigger questions and issues, about what it means to be a Dalit and how despite modernization and technological advancement, we are and will always remain a backward nation.

People from every walk of life – teachers, clerks, students, officers, factory workers, journalists and activists, these writers bring to front their opinions, their views and what they think awareness classification should be and how will people understand the true, Dalit Movement. For me, the book was an eye-opener, making everything that was hidden being brought to the front. A must read if you have the time and the patience and the willingness to know more.