Autobiography is a genre of literature where an individual narrates his/her own life to others through the act of writing. Generally, this is done by the privileged to display their inherent superiority and worthiness to other members, less worthy. Even when personalities from minority or disadvantaged groups are recognized, the standards of evaluating the life of these individuals might be reinforcing the dominant group’s evaluative criteria. In this genre, the autobiographical notes of Anne Frank, who was a victim of Nazi persecution and ideology and their desire to exterminate all Jews, come to mind. It is a kind of landmark case because it is not the overtly heroic acts performed by individuals but the unseen heroism of average individuals that come to the fore and are recognized. Dalit autobiographies in this sense bring into relief the unseen struggles and heroism of Dalits in coping with their stigmatized social predicament. One of the authors in the volume, Francesca Denegri compares the struggle of a gay person in disclosing her/his sexual orientation. Apart from dealing with stigma, Dalit autobiography also deals with other forms of humiliation and oppression specific to Dalits and in general to everyone.
Krishna Swamy Dara
SUBALTERNITIES IN INDIA AND LATIN AMERICA: DALIT AUTOBIOGRAPHIES AND THE TESTIMONIO by Sonya Surabhi Gupta Routledge India, 2021, 216 pp., ₹ 995.00
February 2023, volume 47, No 2