Tag Archives: Dalit literature

Gautam Book Centre

AK Gautam

It is the sort of place you will not find unless you are looking for it. Even if you find the address in Hardevpuri near Shahdara, you will not know where to knock. There is no signboard that will tell you this is Gautam Book Center. “A signboard will attract the attention of those who don’t like our books,” explains AK Gautam.

These are not books of pornography or an underground militia. These are books on caste.
Continue reading Gautam Book Centre

A review of Anand Teltumbde’s “Khairlanji: A Strange and Bitter Crop”

Khairlanji: A Strange and Bitter Crop By Anand Teltumbde; Navayana, New Delhi, 2008, 214 pp.; Rs 190; ISBN 978-81-89059-15-6

Anand Teltumbde is a noted Bombay-based Dalit intellectual who also wears the hat of a business executive. He has written this book about the lynching of a Dalit family in a Maharashtra village in 2006 to ensure that the incident is not easily erased from memory. He quotes Milan Kundera: “The struggle against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting.” In other words, he sees this book as being a seminal work on the Khairlanji atrocity.

The book begins with Abel Meeropol’s song Strange Fruit, written in 1936 (and not 1939, as the book incorrectly states) about the lynching of two black youth. It is from this song that the book derives its sub-title, “A Strange and Bitter Crop,” which once again reinforces the book’s ambition. Billie Holiday’s rendition of Strange Fruit (in 1939) soon became an anthem for the anti-lynching movement in the US, but does Teltumbde’s book achieve its ambitious goal?

The book’s first chapter is a narration of the events of 29 September 2006, when Bhaiyyalal Bhotmange’s family was lynched to death. The atrocity is reduced in this narrative to a dry report, as if it were from the file of a district magistrate. Sample this: Continue reading A review of Anand Teltumbde’s “Khairlanji: A Strange and Bitter Crop”