ArticlePDF Available

Growing up Dalit in Bengal: Conversation with Manohar Mouli Biswas

Authors:

Abstract

This is an interview of Manohar Mouli Biswas, Bangla Dalit activist and writer, where he expresses his views about the identity of Dalit people and the historiography of caste in India. He further speaks about the uniqueness of Bangla Dalit literature, its similarities with Dalit writings in other Indian regional languages and the position of Dalit women writers. He is candid enough to speak about certain autobiographical elements that provided him with the impetus to be a Dalit writer. He further speaks about Dalit drama and its performances which is a marker of its acceptance amongst the viewers. He emphasises on the role of translation of Dalit literature to generate awareness among the larger reading public towards Dalit literature.
CLEaR, 2017, 4(1), ISSN 2453-7128
37
10.1515/clear-2017-0005
Growing up Dalit in Bengal: Conversation with Manohar Mouli Biswas
Mahuya Bhaumik
Derozio Memorial College, India
mahuarc@yahoo.com
Jaydeep Sarangi
Jogesh Chandra Chaudhuri College, India
jaydeepsarangi@gmail.com
Abstract: This is an interview of Manohar Mouli Biswas, Bangla Dalit activist and writer, where he expresses
his views about the identity of Dalit people and the historiography of caste in India. He further speaks about the
uniqueness of Bangla Dalit literature, its similarities with Dalit writings in other Indian regional languages and the
position of Dalit women writers. He is candid enough to speak about certain autobiographical elements that
provided him with the impetus to be a Dalit writer. He further speaks about Dalit drama and its performances
which is a marker of its acceptance amongst the viewers. He emphasises on the role of translation of Dalit literature
to generate awareness among the larger reading public towards Dalit literature.
Keywords: Dalit, Caste, Social Activism, Bangla, Translation.
“Caste is the monstrous reality of India. One cannot deny that. It is very deep-rooted and bears the foundation
of religion. It has religious sanctions. Historically, it could be seen that many changes had been brought in;
however the monster still lives.”
(Arjun Dangle, “Arjun Dangle in Conversation with Jaydeep Sarangi and Angana Dutta”,
http://www.setumag.com/2017/01/arjun-dangle-in-conversation-with.html)
Q. Whom would you call a Dalit? Would you consider all the oppressed of the society, irrespective of
caste, to be Dalits?
A. The word “Dalit” involves a general perception in its meaning. Anybody in the society, oppressed in
any manner whatsoever, may be called a Dalit. I’ve no intention to deny this perception or occurrence in
general and in this regard I want to specify that oppression happens in society in various forms, at times
by certain activities of the ‘majority’ on the ‘minority’ people, sometimes by the mighty on the weaker,
or by a rich on the poor. At times it is unleashed by a man living in the urban domain on the one who
inhabits a pastoral space, or sometimes by a white on the black. All these oppressions, as I have
mentioned, bear the “class” identity in them. But in Indian society caste system is prevalent and many a
time the oppressions take place even on the basis of “caste” identity of an individual. Usually a person
having the scheduled caste identity or the defiled caste identity, such as, very particularly, the “Shudra”
or the Ati-shudra or the “untouchable” is found to be oppressed in the society, or to be the victim of
atrocity because of undignified low caste identity. These people are identified as ‘Dalit’.
In order to reply to the question ‘Who is Dalit’ we may historically refer to The Simon Commission. This
Commission was formed in the year 1927. Sir John Simon as the Chairman was assigned to look into the
Indian social and political spectrum and on the basis of the recommendation of this commission in 1935
certain caste-groups of Indian society who due to their marginalization were entitled to enjoy the
reservation facility in services and in other places provided by the Government itself, are now
specifically called the Dalit-castes or “Dalits” in India. In Simon Commission these people were noted as
“depressed classes” at that time.
Unauthenticated
Download Date | 7/5/17 4:23 AM
CLEaR, 2017, 4(1), ISSN 2453-7128
38
Q. Many Dalit activists consider the minority communities to be Dalits. Do you agree with this view
point?
A. First of all, we need to understand what is Dalit activism. By Dalit activists, we understand those who
have their own commitment and activities to remove the shackles of Dalitism that has eventfully
eventuated on them for a long time, from the days of immemorial past, and in their way of activism they
need to adopt that history into their study. The historiography of caste describes it as an institution
prevailing in society from the Vedic days and since this institution is seen to work against the concept of
equality in human dignities and values, each of the Dalit activists should have to fight against it. In my
view Dalit activism is more social than political. Some people are also there to whom it is more political
than social. Historically we know, Gautam Buddha is the first one who stood against these human
inequalities of caste system and he thought of bringing about equality in society. What I mean to say is
that he was in favour of a casteless society. The whole of India, by and large, accepted his egalitarian
humanism. Even in the postcolonial days of the country some Dalits underwent conversion to Buddhism
to get rid of social discrimination. They are said to be people associated with “home-coming” status or
are referred to as the “ghar-wapsi” people. The Mahars of Maharastra and some other scheduled castes
all over the country followed this path of conversion. They, though the Buddhist religious minority in
the country, enjoy the Dalit status in view of their activism against the discriminations and
marginalization. Now the question comes about the other religious minorities. I’ve already mentioned
that the case is more political than social. That is the reason why Kanshi Ram, a renowned Dalit social
activist and politician, and the founder of a Dalit political party (BSP) formed BAMCEF (Backward And
Minority Communities Employees Federation), an organization of a wider national canvas to play his
agenda. As a Dalit writer and activist, I do have interactions with those fellow brethren.
Q. Do you think that the Blacks around the world are marginalized in the same way as the Dalits?
A. In my writings many a time I’ve made this point very clear that the Blacks and the Dalits suffer similar
kind of discrimination, and here again in discussing the question repeat the same. One thing I
specifically point out that the Afro-Americans in the soil of America (but not all the Blacks in all the
countries around the world) and the Dalits all over India, both undergo the discrimination in treatment
resulting in social and economic, educational and cultural marginalization in their lives. In the first case
discrimination takes place due to colour of the skin of the people and in the second case discrimination
takes place due to caste-identity of an individual. The first one is racial discrimination and the second
one is caste discrimination. Both are similar in character. One is skin-colour identity and the other one is
caste-genital or caste-locus identity. In none of the cases above an individual has control to get himself
free from the shackles of it. Both are related to an individual’s birth and heredity.
Q. Do you think that the Dalits are victims of “cultural silence”?
A. This question is very vital and intrinsic one to me. To reply to it I shall go back to the question
Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak raised in 1988 “Can the Subaltern Speak?” in the book Marxism and
Interpretation of Culture, edited by Cary Nelson and Lawrence Grossberg. It is one general apprehension
in the minds of all that the subaltern cannot speak well but, according to me, they can speak and they
speak in their own tongue. Their language may be understandable to few or may not be to others, their
tongue may be palatable to some or may not be to many. That does not matter. And similarly the Dalits
have their own culture. It is unfortunate that nobody wants to see or enjoy that culture if the same is
performed by the Dalits. But ironically if the same is performed by others it becomes highly enjoyable.
This is a phenomenon what I want to call “Cultural Rigging”. This “cultural rigging” endorses the fact of
“cultural silence”. We may use an Anglo-Bengali expression to explain it and that is what we call the
“Nirbakaization” of Dalit culture.
Unauthenticated
Download Date | 7/5/17 4:23 AM
CLEaR, 2017, 4(1), ISSN 2453-7128
39
Q. Would you consider a Dalit to be suffering from mental bondage?
A. It would be perhaps an unwise statement to say that the Dalits do not suffer from any mental
bondage. The hatred poured on them, and the uncaring treatment and negligence that these people have
been victims of since centuries, played a crucial role to make them socially, educationally, culturally and
mentally retarded. This retardation might have alienated them from the mainstream in turn. Some
people will be annoyed if I give a data from the Global Wealth Report, 2016 where it is told that at this
moment 25.4% of total poor of the world live in India alone. The Dalits are the worst victims in this
scenario. Therefore the mental bondage they suffer from is undoubtedly an unseen shackle which
enchains them.
Q. Do you think that Dalit activism is essential even in 21st century?
A. In reply to this question I feel happy to say that a good number of benevolent academicians have on
their own initiative taken up the cause of the Dalits, highlighted their issues and discussed those in the
classrooms. A number of reputed Indian Universities and Colleges are organizing seminars and
academic discussions on this particular issue. Under such a benign condition of patronization from the
mainstream to look into the Dalit issues I personally feel a separate movement or activism by Dalits
alone need not be taken up in this 21st century. Even then if any activism or movement becomes
necessary to solve any untoward and uneven incident in the society, this democratic weapon may
undoubtedly be employed.
Q. What is the place of Bangla Dalit literature in comparison to other Dalit literatures of India?
A. It’s a fact known to all that Bangla Dalit literature is not inferior in any way to any of its kind in any of
the states in India. But the fact remains open to all that the Dalit literary and cultural movements started
first in an organized way in the state of Maharastra in India about seven decades ago in the later half of
the fifties. This literary activity by the Dalits was in a form of a movement there and they are the people
who first coined the word/terminology “Dalit Literature” which in the later stage became popularly
known all over India as well as around the world. The people who first started the movement (at least
one section of them) became more revolutionary and violent in action. They formed one wing within the
fold of concerted movement “Dalit Panther” by name in 1972, where they took the social, economic and
political agenda along with their writing activities. This movement then spread to Gujarat, Karnataka,
Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and in other places. In Bengal the Dalit litterateurs, without taking up the
name of Dalit writings, had been in the process of writing since the first decade of twentieth century.
I’ve edited one book “Shatobarsher Bangla Dalit Sahitya” in 2011 where I’ve accommodated at least 83
Dalit writers spanning from 1911-2010.
Q. What is unique about Bangla Dalit literature?
A. Dalit literature as I’ve told earlier is mainly based on the phenomenon of caste discrimination and
atrocities associated thereto. The history of Bengal is bit different from that of the other places due to
some reasons. These reasons might have given uniqueness to Bangla Dalit literature. We know that the
kings of the Pala Dynasty who were Buddhist by religion and who were disbelievers in the caste system
hailed from the lower strata of society and had ruled Bengal for about more than four hundred years
from 750-1155 A.D. During their days Bangla literature became popular by the contributions of 84
Siddha poets, popularly, known as Charya poets. Out of 84 Siddhas, we know 43 poets hailed from the
marginal castes. Many of them told of their own social life. And secondly, Bengal had suffered Partition
in 1947 and in the refugee camps after Partition the stringency of caste system was stark. Thirdly, the
Communist Party of India was formed in 1920 and they had ruled West Bengal for 34 years
continuously. During the Left-Rule, very unusually, a mass massacre of Dalits happened in Marchjhappi.
Unauthenticated
Download Date | 7/5/17 4:23 AM
CLEaR, 2017, 4(1), ISSN 2453-7128
40
All these incidents have contributed something unique in nature, something complete in realization,
something counterproductive and innovative in movement. These sufferings have given birth to literary
works by Bangla Dalit writers.
Q. What are the points of similarities between Bangla Dalit literature and Dalit literatures in other
regional languages of India?
A. The most common feature found in case of Dalit literature irrespective of whichever Indian regional
language it is written exhibits the application of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar’s thought and philosophy. The aim is
to build the society in new form in this postcolonial phase. Dalits are seen to raise voices of protest
against torture unleashed upon them in each of the states. This is the most common thing among all
Dalit writings in each of the Indian languages. In West Bengal Bangla Dalit Sahitya Sanstha was formed
in 1992 to launch a movement after the sad demise of Chuni Kotal, a tribal girl who committed suicide
under the severe caste discrimination while she was studying M.Sc. in Vidyasagar University of
Medinipur. Though abit late in comparison with other states but it was a good start. Another mass
massacre of Dalits happened in the same state in Marichjhappi in 1979 and a good amount of literary
creation took place at that time. These kinds of incidents are seen to happen in other places also, such
as, an atrocity happened on Dalit people in Karamchedu village of coastal Andhra Pradesh in 1985
where 6 Dalits were brutally killed and 3 women were raped. This Karamchedu incident gave a jerk to
Telugu Dalit writings. Similarly in Kannada DSS (Dalit Sangharsh Samity) got its shape in 1974 to launch
protest against the sufferings and atrocities on the Dalits. In the state of Tamil Nadu the incident of mass
massacre on Dalits happened in the village of Kilvenmani in 1968. Maharastra which is called to pioneer
this movement had formed The Maharastra Dalit Sahitya Sangha in 1956 which had organized its first
conference in 1958 in Bombay. This year Bangla Dalit Sahitya Sanstha is celebrating the Silver Jubilee
Sangiti (conference) on 24-25th of December in the Ambedkar Mission of Hridayapur in North 24
Parganas district.
Q. What is your take on Dalit women? Are they doubly marginalized?
A. Dalit women are compelled to undergo two kinds of marginalization at a time, one is due to their
birth in lower castes and the other one is the sex/gender marginalization. Naturally they are
marginalized doubly and it is related to their birth. Unfortunately none has his or her own control as per
the choice of his or her birth is concerned.
Q. Would you give us some idea about Bangla Dalit women writers?
A. The women of undivided Bengal had shown some prominence in the field of social, political and
literary activity in the eighteenth century. In Bengal the “Chowar Vidroha” happened just after losing
independence to the British/East India Company in 1757. It first started in 1760. In the later phase of it
the leadership was given by Rani Shiromoni, a Dalit woman who was put into the jail of Fort William in
1799. Perhaps, she was the first Indian woman who became captive in the British jail and she died in
1816. A Dalit woman writer named Sulochana was born in the Namashudra (at that time their name
was Chandal) caste in 1776 in the village of Thakurkona of Mymensingh district and she wrote a book of
poems (kavya) named “Sri Sri Gopini Kirtan”. Another woman, born into washer-man community in the
village Shaltora of the Bankura district was Rami Dhopani who wrote a number of Vaishnavite poems as
she was a close associate of Sahajia Chandidas. Her pseudonym was Ramtara. Presently there are a
number of Dalit women writers and poets who are writing and are involved in social movements. Some
of them are Kalyani Thakur Charal, Smritikana Howlader, Manju Bala, Kiran Talukdar, Sushama Moitra
Sarkar, Lily Halder, etc.
Unauthenticated
Download Date | 7/5/17 4:23 AM
CLEaR, 2017, 4(1), ISSN 2453-7128
41
Q. What prompted you to be a writer? How would you like to identify yourself- a writer or specifically a
Dalit writer?
A. I had to suffer dire poverty in my childhood, and perhaps it happened due to my birth in the
untouchable Namashudra caste. None of my forefathers had got the privilege to go to school. I’ve seen
the pains suffered by these illiterate masses and the humiliation faced by them. I’ve no shame to say that
I’m a first generation learner in my family. Naturally all the pains pent up within my heart had forced
me to become a writer. And I’m very glad to say that I’m born a Dalit, I know the Dalits well and I write
about the Dalits, sometimes about the non-Dalits. It is now the people’s choice whether they call me a
writer or a Dalit writer whatever they like.
Q. Do your childhood experiences have any bearing upon your decision to be a Dalit writer?
A. Of course. I always feel that personal experiences work as impetus to elicit the urge to write. My
childhood experiences (as I’ve told in my autobiography) have supplied me the materials to write. If you
call me a Dalit writer then I will say yes, in my childhood I had been a child-labourer in the agricultural
field with my poor parents. I was born into a marshy area of south Bengal nearer to the Sunderban in
the district of Khulna. Though born to illiterate parents every time I got their support and
encouragement to get at least some education in life.
Q. Can you please explain your choice of diction in your writings?
A. It is perhaps something sad to see that in the field of our education, particularly, in our academic
courses nothing has been accommodated in the syllabi to let the society know about where we people
have been born. Then is it so that we want to see only the brighter and glamorous aspects of the country
and desire to be ignorant about the Dalits who have been Dalitized in society centuries after centuries?
Shall we not tell our students how poverty has engulfed our society? What I want to assert is that let us
frame our own diction of literature to tell the truth of the country.
Q. What is the response of “mainstream” writers to your literary works?
A. The literary works, whatever little I’ve done, have all got very good response from the mainstream
writers and you will be surprised to note that my autobiography which has been translated into English
has been well appreciated both in home and abroad.
Q. Do you consider translation as an important tool to make people aware of Dalit literature?
A. Dalit litterateurs generally write in their mother tongue. Unless it is translated in international
language they cannot reach out to other people beyond the barriers of regional language. Translation,
particularly in English, has brought Dalit literature into global visibility.
Q. Recently your autobiography has been translated into English. What is your response to that?
A. My autobiography was initially written in Bengali and it got good response from Bangla readership. It
was well reviewed in the highly-circulated Bengali daily newspaper the Ananda Bazar Patrika on
28.11.2015. And as soon as it was translated into English it reached the global readership. The English
version has been widely reviewed in different reputed journals/magazines, such as EPW, The Daily
News of Sri Lanka, Indian Literature (a Bimonthly of Indian Sahitya Akademy), South Asian Research of
London, Transnational Literature published from Adelaide, Australia, Contemporary Voice of Dalit (Sage
publication), New Delhi, Commonwealth Essays and Studies, France etc. Positive vibes from different
parts of the world overwhelmed me.
Unauthenticated
Download Date | 7/5/17 4:23 AM
CLEaR, 2017, 4(1), ISSN 2453-7128
42
Q. Do you notice any difference in the mindset of present readers of Dalit literature in comparison to
earlier readers?
A. Dalit literature is a very newly developed phenomenon and it has reached the global readership. The
mindset of the earlier readers was that the Dalits cannot create any literature. Now, at this moment the
temperament of the readers regarding Dalit literature has undergone a significant change. They have no
hesitation to accept the ground reality of the Dalits in society.
Q. What do you think is the future of Dalit literature in India?
A. As long as patriarchy will exist in society, the sex/gender discrimination shall exist. Similarly, I
understand, as long as caste system will prevail in society hatred related to caste and discrimination as
a consequence of it will exist. And this will prompt the composition of Dalit literature. As time is a path-
maker of newer kind of discrimination and deprivation, Dalit literature will also march ahead as a
protest to these social curses contributing to literature in newer form and shape.
Q. How crucial is the role of Bangla Dalit literature in shaping the history of Dalit literature in India?
A. The backbone of Dalit literature is Dalit consciousness. Every mind wants to cling to the known and
the familiar. So is the case with Dalit writers. The Dalits of Bengal had shown an unparalleled history
towards this direction of self-consciousness in the year 1872-73. During that time in some parts of
south-central Bengal (Faridpur, Khulna, Barishal etc.) the Namashudras, then called Chandals, had given
a call for “General Strike” refusing to render services to the houses of the landlords and the affluent.
This consciousness worked against those who had developed their mental setup to regularly hate and
dishonour these people. [Ref: The 1873 Movement for Dignity and Equality before Law]. This particular
incident, I feel, marks a crucial role in Bangla Dalit activism shaping the consciousness of all the Dalits of
the country and contributing to the growth and development of Indian Dalit literature.
Q. Will you tell us about your mother?
A. Everyone perhaps shares a feeling of pride to talk about his/her mother, at least I do. My mother was
nice, peace-loving and sincere housewife, very simple in character. She didn’t know how to quarrel with
any one. I was born in a joint family of my father and great uncle. Both my mother and great aunt would
do all sorts of manual labour at home needed for an agriculturist impoverished family. I’ve already told
you that I’m the first-generation learner in my family. Sometimes it would happen that while I would go
to school in the morning my mother would fail to prepare any food for me and so I would go to school
without taking any food. In the afternoon while I would come back home I would see she was also
fasting for me. After I came back home she would feed me and then she would eat. S o long she was alive
she was the “living goddess” to me and even after her death in 1996 I bow in front of her photograph to
get her blessings in any crisis of life.
I’m very proud of my wife also as she loved and respected my mother as her own mother. My mother
hailed from an extremely rural background and even after shifting to an urban locale as Calcutta she
would speak in her own dialects with anybody whosoever would come across her.
Q. Your autobiography is male dominated. Why are you silent about women in your family?
A. I started my autobiography with the depiction of my mother and great aunt and by giving
descriptions about how they carried out the daily manual jobs. In the occasion of community festivals
also the readers come across some women characters. The society in which I was born is of course a
male dominated one, but the women in our society would enjoy their own freedom, would get respect
and justice in an equal manner. In this context I remember one incident that I referred to in my
Unauthenticated
Download Date | 7/5/17 4:23 AM
CLEaR, 2017, 4(1), ISSN 2453-7128
43
autobiography. It was about the husband who had misbehaved with his wife and later begged pardon to
her in the village “salisisabha”.
Q. What is the role of literary activism in Dalit Freedom Movement?
A. Literary activism, I believe, is a mighty weapon to rouse the unity and solidarity amongst the Dalits.
When the writers, I mean the Dalit writers, take out a procession in the street in the morning of the
second day of their Sangiti(Annual Conference) it brings their voices united together by uttering the
slogans like “What we want? We, the Dalit writers, want freedom. We want freedom” or, “What is our
sword? Our pen is our sword to fight. Fight, Fight, Fight;” etc. It generates the concerted efforts to
remove the shackles of marginalization that hover upon us.
Q. Do you think a literary association and forum can reform a society from caste stratification?
A. It is a very difficult question to reply. You know the religious history of this country. Gautam Buddha
was born into the Hindu-fold in ancient India. He wanted to introduce certain reforms into Hinduism by
removing the caste stratification which he realized was against egalitarianism. This caste stratification
has got its root in the Vedic scriptures and that is the reason why many a man thinks that Hinduism will
not exist if caste stratification is not there. Naturally Buddha’s reformation of Hinduism was not
accepted and ultimately his preaching became a separate religion. Many of the Dalits have opted for
conversion to Buddhism and many of the Dalits who are Hindus by birth have got their faith and mental
allegiance to Buddhism. Dalit writers want to set up casteless and classless egalitarian society. It is
encouraging to see they are getting support from the intellectuals, scholars, academicians and many
other broad-minded people of the society.
Q. Are you satisfied with translation of your works?
A. My autobiography “Amar Bhubane Ami BencheThaki” which has been written in Bengali using my
regional dialects in many a place and which is very difficult to translate into other language, has been
translated and edited by Angana Dutta and Jaydeep Sarangi into English. The way they have
accomplished the job has satisfied me. I’m contented with their work and the same has been published
by a reputed publisher of Calcutta. Earlier in this interview I have mentioned that the translated work
has got lot of appreciation from home and abroad. A number of reputed university teachers and
researchers have taken part to translate my poems into English. There are two volumes of poems:
“Poetic Rendering As Yet Unborn” and “The Wheel Will Turn”. I’m really thankful to the contributors
and the editors who have done the job because of their love for me.
Q. Is/was there any thing like Dalit sishu sahitya or literature/magazine written for Dalit children in
Bengal?
A. In Bengali there is a nice saying: “Ghumiye Ache Sishur Pita Sab SishuderAntare”. It means, “Father of
child lay asleep into the mind of each of all the children”. If we talk of the Dalit sishu sahitya in Bengal it
simply mentions them who are habitually writing rhymes (in Bengali we call Charakar) depicting the
Dalit life suitably understandable to all the children including the Dalit children. The children generally
recite their rhymes in different cultural programme. Very prominent of these rhyme -writers are Bimal
Biswas, editor of Adal Badal Patrika, Amar Biswas, editor Chaturtha Dunia Patrika, Nani Gopal Sikdar,
editor Ataeb Patrika, Sadhan Naskar, Kalipada Mani, Smritikana Howlader, Srimati Kiran Talukder, etc.
all of whom chose regional language as their medium of writing. This use of the regional language
makes them the special of subaltern speaking.
And in Bengali a number of autobiographies have been written by the writers such as Manohar Mouli
Biswas, JatinBala, RaicharanSardar, Baby Halder, Manotanjan Sarkar, Sripada Das, Jagabandhu Biswas,
Sunil Krishna Mandal, Bibhutu Bhusan Biswas, Anil Ranjan Biswas, etc. who have drawn their childhood
Unauthenticated
Download Date | 7/5/17 4:23 AM
CLEaR, 2017, 4(1), ISSN 2453-7128
44
as if the Dalitsishusahitya assumes the embodiment from these writings. We know in most of the times
the simplicity of the children surpasses the wisdom of the elders. And so we may keep it in mind, though
the movement of Dalit literature and culture is related to injustices and discriminations they suffer,
Dalitsishus (children) sahitya tells many serious things through the simplicity of their own.
Q. How strong is Bangla Dalit drama? Did you perform any role?
A. In the movement of Dalit literature and culture the role of drama is undoubtedly very important. This
is audio-visual media able to cut permanent impressions in the minds of all. Plays are performed during
the annual conference of Bangla Dalit SahityaSanstha. Raju Das, Prangobinda Biswas, Harshabardhan
Choudhury, etc. are the best performers. They have written lot of plays which have helped the
movement to march ahead. I’ve never performed any role but one of my writing “Hidimba-Ghatotkoch
Sanglap” has been performed by Raju Das and his wife Namita Das in many a place and it has earned lot
of appreciations. One theatre group of Shyambazar, Kolkata, under the direction of Bharganath
Bhattacherjya staged this Hidimba-Ghatotkoch Sanglap as a commercial show for several nights in a hall
in Kolkata. It has been translated into English by Professor Ipshita Chanda, and the same I have come to
know, has been performed in the Durga Puja festival in London by some Bengali artists there and
earned appreciations from the public abroad.
Q. Is your movement Kolkata based?
A. This is not at all limited to Kolkata only. At least in a dozen of districts of West Bengal we have
noticed the performances to be organized by the local artists irrespective of caste and creed the dramas,
written by the Dalit writers. As for reference I remember in 18thSangiti of Bangla Dalit Sahitya Sanstha
which held at the village Charanpur in the district Burdwan on 24-25th December2009, the “Chowar
Vidraha” written by Sunil Kumar Das was staged. The Twentieth Sangiti which had held on 25-26th
December,2011 in the village Kalai Beria, Chatna, district Bankura the same drama was also staged
there.
Jaydeep Sarangi is a bilingual writer, academic, editor, interviewer, translator and author of a number of
significant publications on Postcolonial issues, Indian Writing in English, Australian Literature, Marginal
literatures and Creative Writing in reputed journals/magazines in different shores. He is the Vice
President of GIEWEC (Guild of Indian English Writers, Editors and Critics). Sarangi has delivered
keynote addresses in several national and international seminars and conferences. Widely anthologised
and reviewed as a poet, he authors five poetry collections in English and one in Bengali. He is Associate
Professor in English, University of Calcutta, Kolkata. He may be reached at jaydeepsarangi@gmail.com
Mahuya Bhaumik is Associate Professor, Department of English, Derozio Memorial College, Kolkata,
India. She has presented papers in various national and international conferences and seminars and has
published in different international journals. Her areas of interest include Culture Studies, Diasporic
Literature, Film Studies and Dalit Literature. She has recently published in De Gruyter (ISSN 2453-
7128), Prague and Writers in Conversation (ISSN 2203-4293), Australia. She reviews literature for
journals and magazines regularly.
Manohar Mouli Biswas is at present the President of Bangla Dalit Sahitya Sanstha. He has been editing a
famous pioneering bi-monthly literary magazine named “Dalit Mirror” in English for more than a
decade. During his stay at Nagpur in 1968 for his Departmental Training as Engineering Supervisor in P
and T Dept. of Central Govt. he came in contact with Dalit people and Dalit Literary Movement. That
changed the course of his life as a writer.
His poems and short stories are of special flavor. His works are illuminated in the light of Dalit
consciousness. Some of his famous works include: Ora Aamar Kabita (They are my poetry) poetry
collection, Dalit Sahityer Dikboloy (History of Dalit Literature), Dalit Sahityer Ruprekha (Outline History
Unauthenticated
Download Date | 7/5/17 4:23 AM
CLEaR, 2017, 4(1), ISSN 2453-7128
45
of Dalit Literature), Poetic Rendering As Yet Unborn (Translation from his Bengali Poems). He has
written more than a dozen books, and he has published his autobiography named Aamar Bhubaney
Aami Benche Thaki, Surviving in My World: Growing up Dalit in Bengal. His recent book is An
Interpretation of Dalit Literature, Aesthetic, Theory and Movements through the Lens of Ambedkar (2017)
Manohar Mouli Biswas, Jaydeep Sarangi and Mahuya Bhaumik (from left to right)
Unauthenticated
Download Date | 7/5/17 4:23 AM
ResearchGate has not been able to resolve any citations for this publication.
in the village Kalai Beria, Chatna, district Bankura the same drama was also staged there
  • December
December,2011 in the village Kalai Beria, Chatna, district Bankura the same drama was also staged there.