This is the English translation of Bama's third novel Vanmam, originally published in Tamil. Focusing on the nature and function of caste in Tamil society, the novel talks about the silenced topics of relationships between inter- and intra-Dalit communities. It moves away from accounts of victimhood and deals with the animosity between two Dalit castes. The novel shares the discourse of Dalit modernity, which addresses issues concerning contemporary society and its contradictions. The current edition includes an insightful introduction by R. Azhargarasan and an interview with the author. Vanmam would be an important addition to the corpus of Dalit literature, and will appeal to readers interested in Indian writing in translation as well as students of political and social history.
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Bama Faustina is the pen-name of a Tamil Dalit woman from a Roman Catholic family. She has published an autobiography Karukku (1992), two novels, Sangati (1994) and Vanmam (2003), collection of short stories Kisumbakkaran (1996). One of the first dalit women writers to be widely recognised and translated, Bama is a school teacher in Uthiramerur. Malini Seshadri (Translator) has written more than 200 newspaper articles on gender issues and used to interview for both TV and Radio. She now reviews books, writes on social issues, and has co-authored a successful series of Peace Education textbooks (OUP India).
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Book Description Oxford University Press, New Delhi, India, 2008. Hard Cover. Book Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. First Edition. Recent years have seen a rise in the genre of Dalit literature with Bama at the forefront. Characterized by startling language, ethnographic detail, and native idiom, Dalit writing in Tamil has gone hand in hand with political activism, and with critical and ideological debate. However a large portion of this writing has concentrated on the theme of victimhood. Vanmam, Bama’s third full-length work, is an exception focusing instead on the inter-caste rivalry within Dalit communities. It highlights the animosity between the Pallars and the Parayars of Kandampatti village—who identify themselves as Hindus and Christians respectively—and describes how the landowners of the dominant Naicker caste stoke the fires of intra-Dalit hostilities to benefit themselves, ignoring the human costs paid for time and again in misery, loss, and death. An important contribution to the corpus of Dalit literature, this translation makes Vanmam available to a wider reading public. A comprehensive introduction skillfully sketches the history of the Dalit movement in Tamil Nadu, and an interview with the author carrying visuals of her village Kandampatti provide the context for this novel and, in a broader sense, for all of Bama’s writings. Printed Pages: 189 with numerous b/w illustrations. Size: 15 x 23 Cm. Bookseller Inventory # 027654