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Volume 1 Issue 6

November 2014

Growing Dalit Resistance: A Study in Time of Fictional Dalit Characters by Non-Dalit Writers
Dr. Md. Equebal Hussain, 
Associate Professor & Head, 
Department of English, 
M.S. College, 
Motihari, Bihar, India
Being rooted in the consciousness of the time a work of art is also a significant social document of the age in which it is written. Although Dalit Movement has raised serious doubts about the motive and authenticity of the non-Dalit representation of the Dalit experience, it would be interesting to see how a sharp transformation of the Dalit character has taken place in course of time — from the 1930s or 40s to the 21st century. Without going into the theoretical aspects of the Dalit question this paper seeks to make a comparative study of some Dalit characters in Indian fiction in Hindi/Urdu & English — Dukhi, Bakha, Velutha, Narayan and Om. Dukhi is the resigned-to-fate protagonist in Prem Chand’s masterpiece Sadgati (Deliverance) and Bakha is the angry but subdued hero in Anand’s 1935 classic Untouchable, who is damned to remain an outcaste despite stirrings deep inside his soul. Narayan and Om in Rohinton Mistry’s A Fine Balance give up their traditional occupation and train themselves as tailors which stands as an attempt to challenge the economic order. Moreover, the kind of language these two characters use against the upper class shows the growing intensity of anger. Velutha in Arundhati Roy’s The God of Small Things is a paravan who cherishes a desire to ‘relive’ as a touchable. He dares to have physical relation with an upper-class woman (unthinkable to Bakha and even Om) which ultimately costs him his life. Therefore, one notices a sea change in their attitude, psychology, behavior, intellectual growth and consciousness as demonstrated in the growing intensity of anger and protest in these characters belonging to the same class. At one level they are the same and perhaps it would not be wrong to say that these characters from Indian fictions written by non-Dalit writers faithfully portray the growing Dalit resistance in course of time on account of the social and political transformation which has taken place in India (even if they are not regarded as the original voices of Dalit protest).
Dalit Resistance; Dalit Characters; Prem Chand; Mulk Raj Anand; Rohinton Mistry; Arundhati Roy.
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