In 1992 When a Dalit Woman left the convent and wrote her autobiography, the Tamil publishing industry found her language unacceptable. So Bama Faustina Published her milestone work Karukku privately in 1992 – a passionate and important mix of history, sociology, and the strength to remember.
Karukku broke barriers of tradition in more ways than one. The first autobiography by a Dalit woman writer and a classic of subaltern writing, it is a bold and poignant tale of life outside mainstream Indian thought and function. Revolving around the main theme a caste oppression within the Catholic Church, it portrays the tension between the self and the community, and presents Bama’s life as a process of self-reflection and recovery from social and institutional betrayal.
The English translation, first published in 2000 and recognized as a new alphabet of experience, pushed Dalit writing into high relief. This second edition includes a Postscript in which Bama relives the dramatic moment of her leave-taking from her chosen vocation and a special note “Ten Year Later”. With an updated introduction by the translator Lakshmi Holmstrom, this Book will appeal to readers of Indian writing and Dalit, Gender, and cultural studies.
ABOUT THE TRANSLATOR:
Lakshmi Holmström is one of the most successful Indian translators from Tamil into English. She has received the Crossword Award for translation twice (2001 and 2007). She received the Iyal Award from the Tamil Literary Garden, Canada (2008) and is one of the Founder Trustees of the South Asian Diaspora Literature and Arts Archive.
BACK THE BOOK:
“When I was studying in the third class, I hadn’t yet heard people speak openly of untouchability. But I had already seen, felt, experienced, and been humiliated by what it is. …How is it that people consider us too gross even to sit next to when travelling? …Are Dalits not human beings? Do they not have common sense? Do they not have such attributes as a sense of honour and self – respect? Are they without any wisdom, beauty, dignity? What do we lack?...’
“Holmstrom’s Skilful translation conveys the intelligence and power of the original text without exoticizing or sensationalizing its subject matter.”
--- Paula Richman; William H. Danforth Professor of South Asian Religions, Department of Religion, Oberlin College
1. Ten Years Later
2. Translator's Note to the Second Edition
3. Introduction by Lakshmi Holmström
4. Author's Preface to the First Edition
5. Editor's Note to the First Edition
Author's Afterword to the First Edition