Bama is the pen-name of a Tamil Dalit woman, from a Roman Catholic family. She has published three main works: an autobiography, Karukku, ; a novel, . Bama’s Karukku: Dalit. Autobiography as Testimonio. Pramod K. Nayar. University of Hyderabad, India. Abstract. This essay argues that Dalit autobiographies. Karukku is the English translation of Bama’s seminal autobiography, which tells the story of a Dalit woman who left her convent to escape from the caste.

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The book has to be written in this language, sorry the story has to be told in this way. She is a person of such ferocious integrity. She recalls how she was treated differently from others as a Dalit woman and admonished harshly every time she tried to stand up for herself, think for herself or speak on behalf of those the convent was actually meant to serve. I have recently decided to read more of Indian literature, and subaltern literature in particular. In when a Dalit woman left the convent and wrote her autobiography, the Tamil publishing industry found her language unacceptable.

Karukku answers the famous question “Can the subaltern speak? Ambedkar till in their 20s. Pudhupatti, Chennai StateIndia.

Feb 08, S. Oct 27, Aisha Abbas rated it really liked it Shelves: Carolyn rated it really baka it Dec 08, karukkj That’s a lot of identities for a short volume like this but the focus here is on the Dalit and Christian aspects of it. Character and Person John Frow.

Jan 31, Mathangi rated it really liked it Recommends it for: Thanks for telling us about the problem. Karukku reads as a serrating monologue, Bama packs a vicious punch in this svelte autobiographical novel.

Education also becomes one of the most prominent factors, karukkku the story reveals the hypocrisy tha A short and a gripping read! In her introduction, translator Lakshmi Holmstrom says Karukku means palmyra leaves, that, with their serrated edges on both sides, are like double-edged swords.

Model Nazi Catherine Epstein. Her illustration of culture within Christian convents is shocking.

She opens up about the discrimination she and her community faced, the difficulties and sufferings they had to go through in order to survive and the obstacles they had to face on their way to progress.


With the encouragement of a friend, she wrote on her childhood bam. To wish that those friends would read Karukku would be immature and ridiculous; but I do hope, at least once in their life time, they find time to listen intently to what people like Bama have to say!

Much can be learnt about a society by observing the games children play karu,ku children imitate adults flawlessly.

Irrespective of whichever caste you were born into, if you have ever been subjected to feel unworthy of yourself by anybody be it society, government, family or friendsthen you are a Dalit. Preview — Karukku by Bama. It is now, for the very first time that I must learn to be truly alone. It efficiently conveys the inner trauma of her being, her state of mind, feelings, and emotions.

But most of the book feels like one big rant on social injustices with barely any mention of any extraordinary acts, either by her or the people around her. Let me begin this review by making a confession. Periyar Rally In Trichy: Though she was a good student, she never hesitated to do household work or help her mother and grandmother earn some extra money by working in a farm.

The English translation, first published in and recognized as a new alphabet of experience, pushed Dalit writing into high relief.

But most of the book feels like one big rant on social injustices with barely any mention of any extraordinary acts, either by her or the p Somehow this book didn’t work for me.

In this manner, she presents the pervasiveness of caste oppression — how it not only punctuates everyday life, but is an integral part of it, even in the memory of a community.

Karukku by Bama

She leaves home to join the convent in her twenties, after working for a few years as a teacher, hoping to contribute to a cause larger than caste, class and identity. This second edition includes a Postscript in which Bama relives the dramatic movement of her leave-taking from her chosen vocation and a special note ‘Ten Years Later’.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. I’ve heard of them from my father, so it probably wasn’t as shocking to me as it might be to folks not exposed to the specifics of the caste system in Tamil Nadu. Karukku is an intense autobiography that gives a searing account of the life of a Tamil Dalit Christian woman against a society which still discriminates on the basis of caste and practises untouchability.

Those who have found their happiness by exploiting us are not going to go easily. Charles Dickens’s Networks Jonathan H. Leave a Reply Cancel reply. She does not describe events only in terms of the impact they had on her later life, but writes of the experiences she had as moments of oppression that composed her daily lived reality. They are frequently humiliated and shamed by these.

‘Karukku’: An Autobiography By Bama Exploring Her Tamil, Dalit And Christian Identity

What I loved the most about the book is how Bama writes an honest, vulnerable version of herself in it. The structure is also a mess, with the story switching back and forth in time without proper transition rather akin to too many jump cuts within a movie.

It furthers the University’s objective of excellence in research, scholarship, and education by publishing worldwide. Vivek Chander added it. Views Read Edit View history. Nov 09, Jayasankar added it. Most of the episodes from her childhood are things I have seen growing up, at my paternal grandparents’. He opined that this could be a reflection of the pathetic state of affairs of Dalits and anything concerned with them in our country, whether it is Dalit literature or Dalit art forms.

Even leaving the convent proved a Herculean task as she was constantly stopped by the more senior nuns. She describes a college party that she did not attend because she could not afford to buy a new saree, hiding in the bathroom until it was over. Want to Read saving….