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Course Detail

Course Name Indian Dalit Literature And Art
Course Code 23EN801
Program Ph. D. in English Language & Literature
Credits 4


  • To focus Indian Dalit Literature as a significant locus of imaginative and polemical writing.
  • To provide curricular recognition to the experience, art and knowledge of a subaltern section of the Indian society.
  • To enable students explore the discussion on democracy, humanism, literature and selfexpression through the medium of contemporary art.
  • To familiarize the students with the building of a counter-canon in the Indian literary and artistic scenario.

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course, students will be able to:

  • come into contact with key modern Dalit/Subaltern writers, thinkers, artists and varied concepts.
  • enhance their understanding of the issues at stake in the contemporary Dalit/ subaltern movements.
  • evolve an in-depth grasp of the field at the levels of experience as well as concepts.
  • extend their awareness of the social and aesthetic questions being raised in their writing as well as in the expression of protest, through the medium of contemporary art.

Course Description

Unit 1  Key Concepts

Definition of the Dalit-Varna and caste hierarchy- Opposition to Brahminical hegemony and ideology-bhakti movement-B.R. Ambedkar’s contribution to the Dalit movement Reservation – Dalit Movements- Dalit Panther Movement, Adi Dharm Movement-Dalit Buddhist Movement-Role of Brahma Samaj and Arya Samaj-Kerala Renaissance-Narayana Guru and Ayyankali- the Dalit awakening-shaking off the social shackles- the development of Dalit sensibility- Emergence of Indian Dalit Literature- Language of the Dalit- Dalit women writers- Anita Dube’s contribution for Dalit/ subaltern expression in Kochi-Muziris Biennale- Dalit expression through installations and other conceptualistic form of contemporary art- Dalit prospects of development of independent sensibilities in art- Their attempts for social reform through self-expression in Art and Literature.

Unit II  Poetry and Drama

  • P Karuppan : “Pulayas”
  • Poykayil Appachan : “Song”
  • Pitambara Tarai: “Untouchable”
  • D Rajkumar: “ Our Gods do not Hide”
  • Siddhalingaiah: “The Dalits are Coming”
  • A Gunasekaran: “Scape Goats”

Unit III Prose 

  • R Ambedkar: “Caste in India: Their Mechanism, Genesis and Development.”
  • Gopal Guru :       “Dalit Women Talk Differently.”
  • Umma Chakravarthy: “Conceptualising Brahmanical Patriarchy in Early India: Gender, Class, Caste and State.”

Unit IV Fiction

  • Meena Kandasamy: “The Gypsy Goddess.”
  • Sivakami: “The Grip of Change.”

Unit V Autobiography

  • Sharan Kumar Limbale: “The Outcaste”
  • Bama : “Karukku”



  • Panache. Kochi Biennale: Fest hosts art works by Women Dalit and Tribal artists. The Economic Times. (originally published on Dec.15,2018)
  • Ambedkar, B.R. “Annihilation of Caste”. The Essential Writing of B.R Ambedkar. Ed. Valerian Rudrigues. New Delhi: Oxford UP, 2002. 263-305.Print.
  • Basu, Tapan., eds. Listen to the Flame: Texts and Readings from the Margins: New Delhi: Oxford UP, 2016, Print.
  • Dasan, M. and Rajesh Karankal, eds. Counter Cultural Discourse and Dalit Literature in India. New Delhi: ABP Publishers, 2014. Print.
  • Guru, Gopal. “Dalit Women Talk Differently”. Economic and Political Weekly vol.30. 41-42 ( October 14-21, 1995): 2548-2550. Print.
  • Hubel,Teresa. Whose India? The Independence struggle in British and Indian Fiction and History. London: Leicester, 1996. Print.
  • Limbale,Sharankumar.“Towards a Dalit Aesthetics”. Towards an Aesthetic of Dalit Literature: History, Controversies and Considerations. Trans. Alok Mukherjee. New Delhi: Orient Longman, 2004. 103-21. Print.
  • Omvedt,Gail. Dalit Visions: The Anti-caste Movements and the Construction of an Indian Identity. 1995. Rev.ed. New Delhi: Orient Black Swan, 2006. Print.
  • Omvedt,Gail. Dalit and the Democratic Revolution. New Delhi: Sage, 1999. Print.
  • Rawat, Ramanarayan S. and K. Satyanarayan, eds. Dalit Studies. Durham: Duke UP, 2016. Print.
  • Satyanarayana,K. and Susie Tharu, eds. No Alphabets in Sight: New Dalit Writing from South India. New Delhi: Penguin, 2011. Print.
  • Satyanarayana K. and Susie Tharu. Introduction. From Those Stubs, Steel Nibs are Sprouting: New Dalit Writing from South India: Dossier II: Kannada and Telugu. Ed.K.
  • Satyanarayana and Susie Tharu. Noida: Harper Collins,2013. Print.
  • Sivakami, P. The Grip of Change. Trans. Arun Prabha Mukherjee. Berkeley: Columbia UP, 2003. Print.

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