Bama is the pen-name of a Tamil Dalit woman, from a Roman Catholic family. She has published three main works: an autobiography, Karukku, ; a novel, . Bama’s Karukku: Dalit. Autobiography as Testimonio. Pramod K. Nayar. University of Hyderabad, India. Abstract. This essay argues that Dalit autobiographies. Karukku is the English translation of Bama’s seminal autobiography, which tells the story of a Dalit woman who left her convent to escape from the caste.

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She leaves home to join the convent in her twenties, after working for a few years as a teacher, hoping to contribute to a cause larger than caste, class and identity.

We must crush all these institutions that use caste to bully us into submission, and demonstrate that among human beings there are none who are high or low.

Bama remembers their games as children where they did role play as upper caste men insulting Dalits or as men who went for work and came home to beat their wives up! What I loved the most about the book is how Bama writes an honest, vulnerable version of herself in it. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

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‘Karukku’: An Autobiography By Bama Exploring Her Tamil, Dalit And Christian Identity

It efficiently conveys the inner trauma of her being, her state of mind, feelings, and emotions. Aug 25, Ritu rated it really liked it Shelves: I do highly recommend reading it, just to get a glimpse of how things really are – no gloss, no glitter.


In her introduction, translator Lakshmi Holmstrom says Karukku means palmyra leaves, that, with their serrated edges on both sides, are like double-edged swords. Sadly most of the oppression related in the novel is still relevant.

Nov 09, Jayasankar added it. The living condition of the Parayas, as Bama describes it, is pitiful; and the way they are abused by everyone up on the caste ladder they happen to be on the lowest rung with even the police colluding is horrific. Most of the episodes from her childhood are things I have seen growing up, at my paternal grandparents’. Toxic monogamy culture displays signs of codependency which manifests in ways that have invariably toxic outcomes.

The same oppression that Bama faced outside, she faced in school and college, making it all even harder to pursue an education she could barely afford and that she had to fight hard for as a woman.

Even among the students, the rich and pedigreed are preferred to the poor and needy. Surabhi Chatrapathy rated it liked it Apr 08, Milton Friedman Robert A. Model Nazi Catherine Epstein.

Bama (writer) – Wikipedia

A masterpiece in Dalit and feminist literature, the latter without the author even realizing it. Though I read Karukku in English, I was touched. A simple read and a unique look into the lives that are largely left unaccounted. Maybe I have the wrong expectations, I don’t know.


Karukku is an wonderful novel which I read with my whole heart…………Want to meet the writer Bama karkkku least once in my life time…………. Apr 06, Amrita rated it it was amazing. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. This is the story of a Tamil Dalit Christian Women! Her narrative is nuanced in exploring her intersecting identities as Dalit and woman in detail.

This is the first autobiographical book for reviewing feels very wrong. And I wonder if caste has seeped in much deeper than we realise. The fact that she is a Christian does nothing for the author – she is still an untouchable, the lowest among the low. He seems to have been overshadowed by Gandhiji during the initial decades of independence. Crossword Book Award for Translation She recalls how she was treated differently from others as a Dalit oarukku and admonished harshly every time she tried to stand up for herself, think for herself or speak on behalf of akrukku the convent was actually meant to serve.

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