The first Dalit autobiography to be published, Baluta caused a sensation when it first appeared, in Marathi, in 1978. It...
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The first Dalit autobiography to be published, Baluta caused a sensation
when it first appeared, in Marathi, in 1978. It quickly acquired the
status of a classic of modern Indian literature and was also a
bestseller in Hindi and other major languages. This is the first time
that it has been translated into English. Set in Mumbai and rural
Maharashtra of the 1940s and 50s, it describes in shocking detail the
practice of untouchability and caste violence. But it also speaks of the
pride and courage of the Dalit community that often fought back for
dignity. Most unusually, Baluta is also a frank account of the authors
own failings and contradictions - his passions, prejudices and betrayals
- as also those of some leading lights of the Dalit movement. In
addition, it is a rare record of life in Maharashtras villages and in
the slums, chawls and gambling dens of Mumbai.
About the Author
Daya Pawar (1935 - 1996) was born in Dhamangaon, Maharashtra in 1935. Primarily a poet, he published his first poem in the Dalit literary journal Asmitadarsh in 1967. His first collection of poems, Kondvada, appeared in 1974 and won the Maharashtra Government Award for literature. In 1979, he won the award for the second time for Baluta. Apart from these, his published works include Chavdi and Dalit Jaanivaa - both collections of his essays on Dalit literature, culture and politics - and Vittal, a book of short stories. He also wrote the screenplay for Jabbar Patels film Dr. Ambedkar. He received the Government of Indias Padma Shri Award in 1990. The Translator: Jerry Pinto is a writer and translator based in Mumbai. He is the author of the novel Em and the Big Hoom (winner of the Hindu Literary Prize and the Crossword Book Award for Fiction) and the non-fiction book Helen: The Life and Times of an H-Bomb (winner of the National Award for the Best Book on Cinema). His other works include a book of poems, Asylum, and Cobalt Blue, the English translation of Sachin Kundalkars Marathi novel of the same title, which was shortlisted for the Crossword Book Award for Indian Language Translation.