1st Edition

Caste and the City Urban Aspirations and Sensibility in Hindi Dalit Short Fiction

By Deeba Zafir Copyright 2024
    140 Pages
    by Routledge India

    This book looks at Dalits in the city and examines the nature of Dalit aspirations as well as the making of an urban sensibility through an analysis of hitherto unexamined short stories of some of the first- and second-generation as well as contemporary Dalit writers in Hindi.

    Tracing the origins of the emergence of Dalit critical consciousness to the arrival of the Dalits into the print medium, after their migration to the city, this book examines their transactions with modernity and the emancipatory promises it held out to them. It highlights the literary tropes that mark their fiction, specifically those short stories which take up urban themes, and shows how even in seemingly caste-neutral spaces caste discrimination is present. The book also undertakes an examination of the stories by contemporary Dalit women writers in Hindi – Rajat Rani Meenu and Anita Bharti – who have posed a radical challenge to both the mainstream feminist movement and the Dalit movement.

    The volume will be of great interest to scholars and researchers of South Asian literature, especially Hindi literature, Dalit studies, subaltern history, postcolonial studies, political science, and sociology as well as the informed general reader.

    Acknowledgements vi

    Introduction: Of Nightmare and Dream 1

    1 Early Footprints: Dalit Short Fiction in Hindi 8

    2 Dalits in the City 27

    3 The Shrill and the Subtle: Contesting Voices in the Hindi Dalit Literary Sphere 51

    4 Rebels Within and Without: The Hindi Dalit Woman Writer 80

    Conclusion: “It’s Not Morning Yet” 115

    Bibliography 123

    Index 127


    Deeba Zafir teaches in the Department of English, Lakshmibai College, University of Delhi. She has published critical essays and reviewed works of Urdu and Hindi literature. She has also translated essays on literary criticism, fiction, and poetry from Urdu and Hindi into English. Her most recent translation is the autobiography of the well-known Hindi Dalit writer, Sheoraj Singh Bechain’s My Childhood on My Shoulders, co-translated with Tapan Basu (2018). Her other research interests include Partition, Dalit, and Disability Studies.