Chapter 1: Introduction

“That night Chudalamuttu could not sleep. He too was going to become a Scavenger” (Asher 2).

The fear of becoming a scavenger is innate in the minds of every progeny of the scavenger community, and the research will be dealing on the fear and angst felt in the minds of those born into the clan of manual scavengers. Well liked and noted writer, Thakazhi Sivasankara Pillai’s novel deal with complexities of caste biases.His novel Thottiyude Makan, narrates the ostracised lives of manual scavengers living in the town of Alleppey, Kerala.The novel was translated as Scavenger’s Son into English by R.E. Asher. Scavengers, belonging to the lowest stratum of the society, lead a life of filth and dirt. This paper will expound on the deplorable lives of the scavengers who are the inevitable part of the society. Objective of the research is to understand the nuances of Dalit aesthetics, through this novel. The research attempts to look at the frustrations of the manual scavengers, born as outcastes, leading to the feelings of self-disgust and self-pity. It will also look at the inhumane practice of untouchability as a hurdle in the dreams and aspirations of the protagonist. The paper will also look at Dalit women characters, with a special focus on Valli, the protagonist’s wife.

The research falls under the area of Dalit literature, uses the framework of untouchability and employs textual analysis as the research methodology. Dalits play an important role in the socio-political orientation of the Kerala state, and the literature produced by them is one of the emerging areas of studies in the literary scenario of India. Their writings challenge the theories, politics and culture set by the intellectuals hailing from the so called upper caste. Dalit literature is a form of writing that memoirs the authentic experiences of oppressed caste with a vision to emancipate them from the drudgery of life. This form of literature informs the outcastes of its slavery and the trauma associated with it. It is written by the exploited caste, mostly attacking the members of the upper caste community. Limbale in his essay, ‘Dalit Literature: Form and purpose’ from the book Towards an Aesthetic of Dalit Literature, define Dalit literature as, “Dalit literature is precisely that literature which artistically portrays the sorrows, tribulations, slavery, degradation, ridicule and poverty endured by Dalits. This literature is but an image of grief” (Limbale 30).

MadaraChenniah is believed to be the first Dalit writer. He was an 11th century Cobbler who wrote poems on the troubled times. He is also regarded as the Father of Vachana poetry. But it was only in the 20th century that the term Dalit literature was first used. Dr. B.R.Ambedkar and JyotibhaPhule were the pioneers of this movement. The word Dalit comes from Marathi language meaning ‘broken to pieces’ or ‘ground’. Dr. B. R. Ambedkar in his The Untouchablesuses the word ‘Broken Men’ (Malik 4). Dalit literature emerged in India during the first half of twentieth century. This form of writing began with Marathi language and later spread to other regions and languages. Their literature demands a space for themselves in social, political and cultural spheres. This distinct aesthetic movement is considered as the most expressed and articulated form of writing. It was written by Dalit writer based on their experience of the untouchables in the society. Dalit writers wrote extensively on their plight attacking the members of the higher caste. Dalit literature aims to bring about a change in the attitudes of the hegemonic structure and also to expose the evil and double standards of the caste Hindus.

The problems of caste and untouchability were addressed in Indian literature from time to time but it got serious attention only with the advent ofDr. B.R. Ambedkar. One of the first novels that concentrated on the problems of Dalits is the Telegu novel Himavati by T Suryanarayanan. SreeNarayanaGurus’s poems in Malayalam inspired the Ezhava community (a Dalit group in Kerala) towards social and moral transfiguration. SreeNarayana Guru was a prominent figure who spearheaded the social reform movements in Kerala. Founder of SreeNarayana Dharma ParipalanaYogam (SNDP), SreeNarayana Guru fought for the rights of Ezhava community in Kerala. The agonies of this Ezhava community in Kerala are articulated through the writings of KumaranAsan. In his poems like Durvavasthaand Simhanadam, he foregrounded the sufferings of the lower caste in Kerala. Anand’s The Untouchable and Coolie are two powerful novels exposing the dehumanizing nature of caste system. Writers like P Sivakami and Bhama wrote extensively on caste and gender based discrimination in the society. Bhama’s Karukku is an autobiographical account of caste and gender inequality of a Christian Dalit woman in Tamil Nadu.  Prem Chand infused realism in his narratives on caste discrimination. His Karmabhoomi, Sudra and Godan expound on the evil of caste system in Northern part of India. For many contemporary Dalit writers, the narratives of the upper caste writers such as Prem Chand, Mahashwetha Devi, Mulk Raj Anand and Thakazhi are considered to be “the discourse of pity” (Mukhrjee).

The word ‘Dalit’ appeared in the socio-cultural milieu of Kerala only in the 1970’s unlike in the north where it started as early as the 1920s. Also there is a significant difference in the Dalit experiences in Kerala compared to experiences of Dalits from other parts of the country. “Kerala Dalits were conditioned in a dream that was transnational, anti-imperialist, and anti-bourgeois.” (Dasan xiii) Dasan in his Oxford Anthology of Malayalam Dalit Writing opines that the Dalits believed in a Hegelian understanding of history and Marxism fuelled the fire of the class consciousness. In Malayalam Dalit Movement it was Ayyankalli who realized and protested against the social injustice prevalent in the casteist society even before Dr. B. R. Ambedkar. With radical thoughts Ayyankali, the leader of Sadhujana movement, challenged the caste Hindus by travelling in the prohibited roads. Ayyankali worked for the emancipation of the oppressed class and was anointed as the ‘Pulaya King’. Today Dalit literature is situated in a liberal space and the Dalits have begun bargaining for a fair and just society. They now stand up for their rights over land, labour and politics.

After having read Mulk Raj Anand’s Untouchable, and articles (“Raising a Stink” and “Death in the Gutter”, Frontline dated May 16th 2014 and May 31st 2013 respectively) depicting the lives of the manual scavengers, the researcher developed an interest to study on the lives of outcastes in Kerala. Also reading essays and narratives on Dalit aesthetics in the third semester of the M.A course gave immense motivation for the researcher to take up a topic of untouchability, and understand the problems related to it. This prompted the researcher to choose a distantly similar novel like Anand’s Untouchable,to understand the perplexities of caste biases in a South Indian context (Kerala). Anand’s Untouchable has been researched immensely, but not many researches have been done on Pillai’s Scavenger’s Son in English.Scavenger’s Son and Untouchable are distinct, albeit the similarity of themes in these novels. The novels are a searing portrayal of the lives of the protagonists who are manual scavengers. Anand’s novel reflects social realism while Pillai’s ponders upon the socio-political-economic tensions of the outcastes in Alleppey. If Untouchable is an account of a day’s events in the life of the protagonist, Scavenger’s Son is a story of three generation of manual scavengers in the municipal town of Alleppey. Pillai’s novel is more political and revolutionary compared to Anand’s. It explicitly captures the nuances of class consciousness and the subsequent revolutions taking place in the small town of Alleppey. Interestingly, both Pillai and Anand are non-Dalit writers who wrote for the oppressed sections of the society quite unlike their contemporaries.

Anand’s Untouchable and Pillai’s Scavenger’s Son draw serious attention into the lives of the scavengers. The brutal practice of untouchability is highlighted in both the novels through the protagonists Bhakha and Chudalamuttu in Untouchable and Scavenger’s Son respectively. Chudalamuttu and Bhakha depict the insulted whose life is centered on filth and excrement. If Bhakha is a scavenger from the town of Bulashah in Northern India, Chudalamuttu is one from Alleppey in Kerala. Albeit the geographical differences, the condition of the two outcastes are similar. Both are scavengers who suffer from untouchability and humiliation. Their fathers, unlike them, embrace latrine cleaning and wish their sons too take up the filthy job. Ishukkumuttu, father of Chudalamuttu, wished that his son become a scavenger like him and that he could “hand over the scavenger’s tin and shovel before he died” (Asher 2). Ishukkumuttu belonged to that generation of scavengers who associated themselves with their work despite the taboo of untouchablity associated with it. For him manual scavenging became a part of his identity and he could not think of his son not taking up the job that was passed down for generation. He ruminates on his son’s reluctance in taking up the job:

To think that another man would go into the latrines that he had cleaned out over a period of thirty years! It was too much for the old man. Why had he got the householders to make good the defects in the latrines? For his son’s sake.To make his work easy. (Asher 2)

Despite, despising the job as manual scavengers, Bhakha and Chudalamuttu end up being scavengers for a life time.

Both the novels have given importance to the female characters. Chudalamuttu’s wife Valli and Bhakha’s sister Sohini are two powerful female characters who depict the deplorable conditions of Dalit women. Though the female characters are not dealt in detail, they have an important role to play. Sohini become an object of sex in the eyes of the upper caste Hindus. Being an untouchable is a sin but touching an untouchable for quenching one’s carnal thirst is not deemed as a sin by the caste Hindus. There is an instance in the novel where Sohini is molested by the temple priest and when she reacts to his suggestions by screaming, the priest covers his disgusting act by putting the blame on Sohini. He smartly converts the molesting into an act of defiling. He accuses Sohini of touching him and polluting him by contact. “You people have only been polluted by distance. I have been defiled by contact” (Anand 53).

Ambition is another thread that links Bhakha and Chudalamuttu. Both the protagonist had high hopes for future as neither of them wanted to lead a life of filth and dirt. Ironically it is this very ambition that ruins the lives of the scavengers. Bhakha’s imitation of the English and Chudalamuttu’s dream of climbing the economic ladder are the seeds of ambition. They, unlike other scavengers of their generation, yearn for a better life. Despite these similarities, both the novels are unique and distinct in their own ways. If Untouchable has a theme of social realism, Scavenger’s Son has an over tone of Marxism infused in the theme of untouchablity. The politics of the town and the class struggle is delineated in Thakazhi’s novel. In that light we can say that the Scavenger’s Son is a Proletariat novel.

Thakazhi ShivshankaranPillai is a prolific writer who captures the subtleties of caste discrimination through the characters in this novel. He writes, “A scavenger who cleaned up dirt was compelled to eat dirt” (Asher 6). His work ruminates on the plight of the struggling and oppressed people in the society. The novel starts with Ishukkumuttu’s “intentions of handing over the scavengers shovel and tin before he died” (Asher 1) to his son Chudalamuttu who represents the new generation scavenger who detests the job of cleaning latrines. Chudalamuttu, unlike his father, yearns for a better and dignified life like that of the overseer and his superior. He is well aware of his caste and that prompts Chudalamuttu into forming a Union and later withdrawing from it. The death of the three generation scavengers is pivotal in the socio-political scenario of the state. The un-fulfilled dreams of Chudalamuttu and Mohanan are an indicator of the caste biases experienced by the outcastes.

Born in the Thakazhi village of Alleppey district, Pillai’s novels and short stories deal, with the lives of peasants, fishermen, scavengers and Pulayas (Dalit caste in Kerala). He voices the angst and frustrations of the oppressed sections of the society. “Pillai’s narrative power, his deep insights into the ambiguity of things and his unsentimental eye, elevate the social commentary into a moral fable” (TejpalIndia Today). Recipient of Jnanpith award, Pillai’s magnum opus is considered to be Chemeen(Shrimps). Chemeen, set in a coastal area, deals with the lives of the ‘Aryans’ (fisher folk).  His Ranitangazhi(Two Measures of Rice) details the lives of Pulayas (Dalit) who suffer the brutality of the landlords. Like the Scavengers Son, this novel also addresses the issue of class consciousness and inequality.

The research paper is limited to the study of untouchablity amongst the manual scavengers in Kerala with respect to the novel Thottiyude Makan. With manual scavenging still being a taboo in contemporary India, this research widens the scope on an elaborate study into the mental trauma of the scavenger.

Literature review          

  1. Sanal Mohan in his paper on “Religion, Social Space, and Identity: The PrathyakshaRakshaDaivaSabha and the Making of Cultural Boundaries in Twentieth Century Kerala”, from the book Life as a Dalit Views from the Bottom on caste in Indialooks at the social movements of movements in Kerala in the twentieth century. He discusses the caste structure in Kerala and its transformation during the colonial period. His paper reflects on the influence of Christianity on the Dalits in Kerala. He also looks at the role of modernization in the state of Travancore affecting the lives of Ezhavas and Pulayas. He looks at the various social movements that sowed the seeds of modernity among the Dalits in Kerala. He opines that the SNDP movement in Kerala was one of the most effective movements that helped in bettering the conditions of Ezhavas in Kerala. He says,

The experience of the Ezhavas as theorized in contemporary scholarships offers some directions on the general transformation of Kerala Society. The SreeNarayana Dharma ParipalanaYogam (SNDP) movement of the Ezhavas was a pioneering social movement that embraced progress and modernity as a means of caste mobilization. (Mohan 227)

Mohan gives a clear picture on Christianity in Kerala and how the Missionary influenced the Dalits in Kerala. He claims that the Syrian Christians in Kerala followed the caste practices of the Hindus. He also elaborates on the legend of St. Thomas the Apostle coming to The Malabar Coast and converting the Namboothiris and Brahmins to Christianity. He also mentions about PoyikaliYohannan, a Paraiyan (aDalit community in Kerala) who converted to Christianity and became a religious prophet.

“Looking Up at caste: Discrimination in Everyday Life in India” is an introduction written by SubhadraMitraChanna. In her article she reflects on the condition of the outcastes in India who are yet to find equality in this democratic nation. Her introduction exposes the injustice and inequality meted out to the outcastes in everyday life. She points out the disparity and the apathy shown by the nation towards the downtrodden class. She says, “What is lacking in Indian society is a sense of social justice” (Channa xv). She doubts the veracity of the reservation system and points out the discrepancies found in the educational system. She argues that the Indian society do not accept a Dalit to become a leader based on merit. She talks about caste distinction still being practiced in several universities, where Dalit students are victimized. It is very difficult for a Dalit student to attain higher education as he has to face several hurdles based on caste difference. He is often insulted and humiliated despite his educational qualification. Such is the hypocrisy of the castiest society. The introduction gives us an insight into the inconsistencies of the educational system in modern India. Channa argues that the educational system of our nation is highly prejudiced where Dalit Studies are not a fundamental part of Sociology and Dalit teachers are not “proportionately represented among the teaching faculty” ( Channa xvii).

She also talks about the atrocities perpetuated by the upper caste against the Dalits. There is a stark cultural divide between the high caste and low caste people. This cultural divide lead to caste based violence. Caste consciousness creeping into the minds of Dalits, who voice out for constitutional rights, lead to a confrontation between the high caste and low caste.

Joan P. Mencher in his paper, “Continuity and change in “Ex-Untouchable” Community of South India” gives a detail understanding of the Paraiyan community in South India.  He says that the members of this caste have stopped using their caste name because of the taboo associated with it and hence call themselves as “Harijans or Adi- Dravidas” (Mencher53). Adi-Dravidas are people who are original Dravidians who were the original immigrants of the land. In the course of time they were thrown out of their habitat in the name of caste. His paper looks at the condition of the Paraiyans in the contemporary scenario and looks at the problem and exploitations faced by this community. Paraiyans belong to main untouchable group in South India (Tamil Nadu).

Paraiyans lived outside the main village in separate cheris or Harijan hamlets. The cheriswere generally located on the least desirable lands, such as areas subject to flooding by the monsoon. Often overcrowded, they rarely possessed such rudimentary sanitary facilities as a clean source of drinking water. As late as 1970, when the Paraiyans spoke of the ur or village they excluded themselves and their own residential area. (Mencher 55)

The Paraiyans were victims of untouchability and were considered to practice Black magic (This notion about the Paraiyans was prevalent in Kerala). The literacy rates of the Paraiyans were far below average and higher education for them was a distant dream. His paper gives a qualitative and quantitative understanding of the Pariyans in Modern India.

Sharan Kumar Limbale is an eminent contemporary Dalit writer who voices the ideas of Dalit aesthetics in his literary works. He shot to fame after his autobiographical novel, Akkarmashi: The Outcaste. Limbale argues that Dalit literature is distinct and unique in comparison to other regional literature. Limbale out rightly rejects the hegemony of caste practices in the country. Limbale’sTowards an Aesthetics of Dalit Literature,locates Dalit literature in a historical context and foregrounds its ideology. In this book Limbale asserts the Dalit writing as distinct. In this book he talks about Dalit literature as, “writing about Dalits by Dalit writers with a Dalit consciousness. The form of Dalit literature is inherent in its Dalitness, and its purpose is obvious: to inform Dalit society of its slavery, and narrate its pain and suffering to upper caste Hindus” (Limbale 19).

The writings by the lower caste have always been considered inferior and offensive by the upper caste people. The upper caste people prevented the Dalits their right to education and also prevented them from entering the literary scenario for quite a long time. Today, Dalit literature is a body of literature that is receiving considerable attention from literatures across the world.

Limbale in his essay  “Dalit Literature and Marxism” tries to understand the two schools of thought ‘Marxism’ and ‘Ambedkarism’ He tries to understand the relationship between Marxism and Dalit literature while trying to discuss Marxist literature in Marxist Movement along with Dalit literature in Dalit movement. He locatesDr.B.R.Ambedkar’s position in the lines of Indian Marxism. The essay talks about the incompleteness of Indian Marxism and Ambedkar’s criticism towards the communists for ignoring the inequality of caste system. Limbale elaborates on the debate of Marxism versus Ambedkarism that gained currency in the mid-nineties. He observes that Marxism became a subject of controversy and a ubiquitous topic of debate among Dalit writers and critics.

  1. L. Sharma in his book titled Orgins of Untouchability, traces the origins of untouchablity analysing the works of Dr. B.R Ambedkar. In his essay ‘Caste System’, Sharma elaborates on the four Jatis of the Hindu society. The jatis or castes of the Hindu society were the Brahmins, the Kshatriyas, the Vaishyas and the Shudras. He makes an important observation on the flexibility of the caste system. “The caste changed with the change of profession. Parushuram, a Brahmin, became a Kshatriya, when he took to arms. Vishwamitra, a Shatriya, became a Brahmin when he became a Rishi” (Sharma 26). In his another essay titled, ‘Some Common Concepts Regarding the Origin of Untouchability’ holds the view of Shudras being tagged untouchables as “erroneous” (Sharma 50). He dismisses the belief, that Shudras were untouchables since time immemorial by giving examples from the ancient history and Vedas of India. Sharma also talks about Ambedkars theory of Broken-men (untouchables) and tries to argue how the theory has rendered unacceptable. His book gives a detailed understanding of Untouchability and Caste Divisions in India.

Dalits and Social Mobilisation is a book that explored on the position of Dalits in the socio-economic-political sphere. It is key text that helps in the understanding of Dalit History. The book throws light on the evil practice of untouchability and thereby giving an historical understanding of the practice. The author, M. N. Sivaprakasam holds the opinion that the origins of untouchablity and racial-ethnic arrangement of the Scheduled Castes. He sort of traces the origin of untouchability from the coming of Aryans to the writings of Rig Veda. He accuses the Aryan invasion as the cause of untouchablity. He elaborates on the four fold system,

So in the early vedic times it is said that, all men were equals and there was no trace of untouchability as we see it to-day. According to Rig Veda, in those days, perfect brotherhood was prevalent. It course of time, when the Aryans, having grown in overwhelming numbers, scattered and colonized thorough out the whole of Aryavarta. They divided themselves into four divisions according to their different qualities (guna) and actions (karma) in order to organise their society and set it upon sound basis. This fourfold division has been a pre-dominant feature of Hindu social fabric. Hitorically, untouchability was the social fruit of the Aryan Conquest of India. (Sivaprakasam 3)

Sivaprakasam also talks about the Dalit Identity that he argues work on two levels. The Dalit identity works on a collective level and an individual level. The occupation and status of a Dalit establishes his identity. He is engaged in a process of questioning his identity.In the book he also expounds on the economic conditions of the untouchables and the status of Dalit women who are often excluded from political struggles.

 The Untouchables in Modern India is a book by BhagirathPoddar that looks at the condition of Manual scavengers In India. Manual scavenging is an age old demeaning practices where human beings clean latrines and carry human excreta on their head-loads. People engaged in cleaning and carrying human waste belong to the community of scavengers. They belong to the lowest of the lowest stratum of the society. He looks at the deplorable conditions of the scavenger community in India who are still being ostracised based on their profession. They are treated as untouchables among the untouchables and face humiliation and disgrace from the members of other caste. In spite of having introduced the flush system, the number of scavengers has not gone down. Dry toilets can be still seen in many parts of Northern India and it is the fate of the scavengers to manually remove human waste from these dry toilets. He is of the view that it is time for the scavengers to become politically and economically aware of their condition. The situation of the scavengers and also the women folk need serious attention. He says,

In view of the present living and social conditions of the scavengers the situation leads us to suggest that it is high time to make them socially conscious. Their political awareness has also to be improved in order to make them aware of their rights so that they may grab their claims from the system. They should be properly informed of the welfare schemes launched by the Government. (Poddar 61-62)

The Untouchables Subordination, Poverty and The State in Modern India, is a book by Oliver Mendelsohn and MarikaVicziany that explore the social construction of Untouchables in India. The book states that untouchables remain as a “highly distinctive cultural and moral community” (Mendelsohn and Vicziany 1). Their propositions on such a construction of Dalits are based on two observations. The first is from the point of view of Dalits belonging to the lowest stratum of the society (in both status and economy) and the second based on the change that they have undergone. (Change in view of themselves and society).The book argues that untouchablity originated out of colonialism.

Untouchables were in as sense ‘constructed’ or ‘invented’ in the late colonial period, mainly the twentieth century, rather than the existing as an entity for centuries past…Our argument is that untouchables were a subordinated people long before twentieth century politics transformed them into a category of political relevance” (Mendelsohn and Vicziany 2).

They argue that lackadaisical attitude of the State and the Center; in the upliftment of the untouchables have only worsened their living standards. In the essay titled “Who are Untouchables”, Mendelsohn and Vicizany write, “Untouchables have for many centuries occupied a deeply ambiguous place within Indian society…Untouchables have no place at all” (Mendelsohn and Vicizany5). In this essay the authors talk about the evolution of untouchablity, which they consider as a byproduct of the caste system in India.The book also expounds on the socio-economic status of Dalits in contemporary India. Gandhi viewed Untouchablity as an “historical corruption” (Mendelsohn and Vicziany 14) of Hinduism. He believed that this could be corrected by right minded caste Hindus. This book also gives an insight into the poverty ridden Dalits who emerges as the new Untouchable proletariat.

Rabindra Kumar in his book titled, Dalit Exclusion and Subordination, delineates the subjugation of Dalits in the contemporary society. He points out the discrepancies in the betterment projects of the Dalits. In spite of the efforts taken by the government in improving the living standards of Dalits in India, the Dalits still undergo subjugation and exploitation. This book gives an overview of such exploitations. He tries to trace the origin of untouchablity based on the Hindu caste system and Ambedkar’s understanding of Dalits. It was Ambedkar who called these untouchables as ‘broken men’. He says, “Untouchablity is deep rooted in our society. While it has come to be more of a mindset in urban areas, it is more tangible and visible in rural areas, where physical touch is still prohibited Untouchablity has passed from generation to generation through socialization processes and the untouchables have continued to suffer innumerable forms of discrimination, exploitation and even socio-economic disability” (Kumar 5).

In the chapter on “Evolution on the concept of Dalit”, Kumar traces the development of Dalits from ancient to modern times through history and literature. In another chapter he writes about the disadvantages that the outcastes face in the society. He also depicts the failures in government schemes, which were envisioned by Ambedkar, that enable Dalits to join mainstream politics through a policy of reservation, thereby enhance their socio-economic conditions. He says that Dalits are the stigmatized people who are excluded from the mainstream society. One of the chapter in this book deal on the atrocities on the scheduled caste people by the upper caste Hindus. The atrocities meted out to the Dalits are varied, from being beaten to death, raped, lynched, and molested.

The condition of Dalit women in India needs special attention as they are one of the largest socially segregated groups. They are victims of discrimination for being women, for being poor and also for being Dalits. They face discrimination on the basis of caste, class and gender and are oppressed by the members of the high caste and also by their own people. These women have been actively participating in Dalit movements and yet they are treated with biases. They are victims of sexual harassment and violence both inside and outside their community. SurinderKhanna in her book Dalit women and Human Rights, tell us about the condition of Dalit women in India. She says, “Vulnerably positioned at the bottom of India’s caste, class and gender hierarchies, Dalit women experience endemic gender-and-caste discrimination and violence as the outcome of severely imbalanced social, economic and political power equations”(Khanna 1).  She points out an interesting fact that, very little information is provided by the government on the condition of Dalit women in the country and that the violence against Dalit women goes unreported in many cases. She says that Dalit women undergo twelve major forms of violence and they are “rape, physical assault, sexual exploitation, forced prostitution, verbal abuse, kidnapping, abduction, forced incarceration, medical negligence, female foeticide and infanticide, child sexual abuse and domestic violence” (Khanna5)

Shunned by the society and her male counterparts, Dalit women undergo double subjugation. Rights of the Dalit women go unrecognized in spite of their active participation in rallies and Lovely Stephen in her essay, “Dalit Women: The Problem of Self- Emancipation”, asserts the need for recognizing the Dalit women and giving her opportunities in par with the Dalit males. She talks about the difficulties of women Dalits in Kerala who are victims of double marginalization. They are ridiculed even by the male from their community. She writes, “Male communists, like another men, have difficulty recognizing women’s right and ability to make decisions and intervene in issues affecting the whole society. They believe that a woman’s life is entirely centered on family” (Stephen 587).  She points out the biases meted out to Dalit women agricultural labourers by the upper caste men. Stephen blames history for playing a pivotal role in shaping the social status of Dalit women. These women are mostly landless and illiterate. Stephen opines that Dalit women should assert their self-respect. She wants the Dalit women to come forward and study their problems. She wants every Dalit women to fight for her rights.

Trilok Sharma in his book, Dalit Women Issues and Perspectives give an understanding of the socio, economic, religious, political and ideological isolation of Dalit women in the country.  She views the exclusion of Dalit women from mainstream women’s movement as positive because it sort of creates an identity to be built among themselves. She says,

What was clearly needed in its place is an articulation based on the consciousness of the Dalit women themselves, their experiences of suffering, exclusion and thrice removedness-isolation by virtue of gender, caste, and class-not to speak of religion. (Sharma 13)

The literature reviews have helped the researcher in formulating the research question pertaining to Dalit aesthetics. The ideas and arguments presented in the books have been studied carefully to better the understanding of the researcher on Dalit literature and topics related to it. The thematic analysis of the novelThottiyude Makan(Scavenger’s Son) has been done based on the literature survey conducted.

Works Cited

Anand, Mulk Raj. Untouchable. Pune: Mehta Publishing House.2012. Print

Channa, Subhadra. “Looking Up at Caste: Discrimination in Everyday Life in India.” Life as a Dalit: Views from the Bottom on Caste in India. Ed. SubhadraMitraChanna and Joan P. Mencher. New Delhi: Sage Publication, 2013. Print.

Dasan, M., V. Pratibha, PradeepanPampirikunnu, and C.S. Chandrika, Ed. The Oxford India Anthology of Malayalam Dalit Writing. New Delhi: Penguin, 2011. Print

Khanna, Surinder. Dalit Women and Human Rights. New Delhi:Swastik Publications, 2011. Print.

Kumar, Rabindra. Dalit Exclusion and Subordination. New Delhi: Rawat, 2013. Print.

Limbale, Sharan Kumar, and AlokMukherjee.”About Dalit Lierature.” Towards an Aesthetic of Dalit Literature: History, Controversies, and Considerations. Hyderabad: Orient Longman, 2004. Print.

Limbale, Sharan Kumar, and Alok Mukherjee. “Translators Introduction” Towards an Aesthetic of Dalit Literature: History, Controversies, and Considerations. Hyderabad: Orient Longman, 2004. Print.

Limbale, Sharan Kumar and AlokMukherhee. “Dalit Lietature: Form and purpose”. Towards an Aesthetic of Dalit Literature: History, Controversies, and Considerations. Hyderabad: Orient Longman, 2004. Print.

Malik, Suratha. “Theorizing Dalit Identity: Mapping the Alternative World View.” Theorizing Dalit Identity: Mapping the Alternative World View. Web. 27 Feb. 2015.<>.

Mencher, Joan P. “Continuity and Change in “Ex-Untouchable” Community of South India.”Life as a Dalit: Views from the Bottom on Caste in India. Ed. SubhadraChanna and Joan P. Mencher. New Delhi: Sage Publication, 2013. Print.

Mendelsohn, Oliver, and MarikaVicziany.”Who Are the Untouchables.” The Untouchables Subordination, Poverty, and the State in Modern India. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge UP, 1998. Print.

Mohan, P. Sanal. “Religion, Social Space, and Identity: The PrathyakshaRakshaDaivaSabha and the Making of Cultural Boundaries in Twentieth Century Kerala.” Life as a Dalit: Views from the Bottom on Caste in India. Ed. SubhadraMitraChanna and Joan P. Mencher. New Delhi: Sage Publication, 2013. Print.

Pillai, Takazhi Sivasankara. Scavenger’s Son (Tottiyute Makan).Trans. R. E. Asher. . Oxford: Heinemann, 1993. Print.

Sharma, Trilok. “Introduction.” Dalit Women: Issues and Perspectives. New Delhi: Sonali Publications, 2011. Print.

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