A Novel Ahead of Its Times
GS Jayasree
PULAYATHARA by Paul Chirakkarode Oxford University Press, 2019, 212 pp., Rs.595.00
April 2020, volume 44, No 4

Pulayathara was published in the year 1962. It was the first novel in Malayalam to give a graphic description of the Dalit Christian condition. The novel was largely ignored by the reading public and critical establishments. However, the scorching issues of land, labour and faith that the book sought to project, continue to haunt millions.

It is seldom that critical readings of d├ębut novels by Dalit authors talk about anything other than the caste oppression represented in the book. Very often such novels reinforce the credo that in India, you are born into a caste. It is true that these novels, patently autobiographical, talk about the strange logic of the caste system, the accident of birth that determines the course of the rest of your life.

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