We Also Made History: Dalit Women’s Writing in Marathi
Dalit women’s autobiography-writing in Marathi is a long tradition that will not let women’s voices in the Dalit movement be lost
She ran a grocery store that she built herself soon after her marriage at the age of 13, when she was only a fourth standard pass schoolgirl. Her quest for knowledge never died. She would read the re-cycled books that reached her as wrapping material for the masalas and provisions she sold. There she read various stories of Gods and the roles of women in these stories infuriated her. They compelled her to write and she chose to write about the stories of the women in her community.
She had to hide all that she wrote as she had a husband whose hands flew around her face and body with great fluency and on the flimsiest grounds. She was terrified of her son as well who was going to school and college then, getting an education she never had. She had several files of her writing by the time a US sociologist, who was researching her community, asked to see and liked. She got her to publish them in a magazine. This eventually become a book.
The woman in question was Baby Kondiba Kamble (1929-2012), the book Jina Amcha (Our Lives), widely loved as one of first Dalit autobiographies by women. The US sociologist was Maxine Bernstein who had moved to Maharashtra in the early 60s as a researcher. The magazine the chapters were first published in was Stree.
Courtesy : Outlook India
Note: This news piece was originally published in outlookindia.com and used purely for non-profit/non-commercial purposes exclusively for Human Rights.