Om Prakash Valmiki's Jhootan

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Omprakash Valmiki’s Joothan: An Untouchable’s Narrative of An Untouchable's Life The name ‘Untouchable’ always brings to our mind Mulk Raj Anand’s book. But Omprakash Valmiki’s Joothan is written from the personal experiences of dalit who rises to prominence from his marginalized presence. Omprakash Valmiki’s voice is today recognized as an empowered voice of a writer who  works  on behalf of Dalits. Himself born in a desperately poor family in North India, the lowest caste in Indian society, a community of the illiteratre Untouchables , he describes from his personal experiences the torments of the Dalits who even have no right to fight for education or food. He describes how these people are subject to an institutionalized slavery.The highest purpose of Dalit writing is not beauty of craft, but authenticity of experience. Omprakash gives us an anatomy of oppression. Most significantly, though, Valmiki's story is a voice from the half of India that has been voiceless for countless generations. Valmiki and a few others like him have breached an opening for our understanding and knowledge about a people so marginalized that they disappeared from the world's awareness, their cultures, lifestyles, folk knowledge, and aspirations represented nowhere in mainstream or scholarly sources. Joothan by by Omprakash Valmiki is  one such work of Dalit literature, first published in Hindi in 1997 and translated into English by Arun Prabha Mukherjee in 2003. Arun Prabha Mukherjee, a professor of English at York University in Canada b did a great job by making the work available to a wider audience, She has  illuminated the book with her thoughtful and insightful foreword. Dalits today constitute about one sixth of India's population. Spread over the entire country, speaking many languages, and belonging to many religions, they have become a major political force. Jhootan  is a memoir of growing up ‘untouchable’ starting in the 1950s outside a typical village in Uttar Pradesh....
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