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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Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Want to Read saving…. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Preview — Karukku by Bama. Karukku by Bama. In 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 —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 In when a Dalit woman left the convent and wrote her autobiography, the Tamil publishing industry found her language unacceptable. 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 of 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.
Hardcoverpages. Crossword Book Award for Translation To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Karukkuplease sign up. Lists with This Book. I have recently decided to read more of Indian literature, and subaltern literature in particular. So it was natural for me to by this autobiography by Bama, a Tamil Dalit woman while I was in Chennai for three weeks recently.
Bama is the pen name of a Dalit Christian, a former nun who decided to renounce her habit and come out of the convent to fight for the rights of her community when she realised that in India, even the hallowed halls of the Roman Catholic church was contaminated with the po I have recently decided to read more of Indian literature, and subaltern literature in particular. Bama is the pen name of a Dalit Christian, a former nun who decided to renounce her habit and come out of the convent to fight for the rights of her community when she realised that in India, even the hallowed halls of the Roman Catholic church was contaminated with the poison of caste.
In her introduction, translator Lakshmi Holmstrom says Karukku means palmyra leaves, that, with their serrated edges on both sides, are like double-edged swords.
By a felicitous pun, the Tamil word karukku, containing the word karuembryo or seed, also means freshness, newness. In her preface, Bama draws attention to the symbol, and refers to the words in Hebrews New Testament’For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two – edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart’ Hebrews 4: And this has got nothing to do with the sincerity of the writer, let me assure you at the outset.
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. The fact that she is a Christian does nothing for the author – she is still an untouchable, the lowest among the low.
To tell the truth, this caste consciousness kaeukku Christians is quite common. In Kerala, “pedigreed” Christian families – who claim to have been converted by St. Thomas, almost always from Brahmin families – rarely enter into marriages with “convert” Christians, relatively recent converts from Dalit communities. Abma within the convent the way it is covertly described, it has to be the order of Mother Teresacaste rules the roost and the hierarchy is clearly delineated. Even among the students, the rich and pedigreed are preferred to the poor and needy.
Ultimately, Bama decides that enough is enough and gets out. The problem I had with the story is the writing. The narrative pace is very humdrum, and the sentences are repetitive and boring. I don’t know whether this is a problem with the translation. The structure is also a mess, with the story switching back and forth in time without proper transition rather akin to too many jump cuts within a movie.
This slim book ultimately proved a chore to get through. I salute Bama for her courage in coming out of her suffocating surroundings and speaking out courageously. I only wish it would have been done in a more readable way. Karukku is an intense autobiography that gives a searing account of the life of a Tamil Dalit Christian woman against a society which still discriminates on the basis of caste and practises untouchability.
She opens up about the discrimination she and her community faced, the difficulties and sufferings they had to go through in order to survive and the obstacles they had to face on their way to progress.
Bama focuses on two aspects, religion and caste to throw light on the oppression Dalits fac Karukku is an intense autobiography that gives a searing account of the life of a Tamil Dalit Christian woman against a society which still discriminates on the basis of caste and practises untouchability. Bama focuses on two aspects, religion and caste to throw light on the oppression Dalits face. As she describes her journey from childhood to adulthood, she narrates how caste and religion shaped her life and identity, and how it also worked as an oppressive force in the lives of Dalits.
She describes in detail her childhood in her village, her coming to terms with the reality that she is a Dalit, thus an untouchable and that she lived in a world that was hostile towards people like her.
Bama (writer) – Wikipedia
Later, Bama describes her adult life, how she became ,arukku nun, and later left the order when she witnessed the hypocrisy of the Church in its attitude towards the poor and the Dalits. It efficiently conveys the inner trauma of her being, her state of mind, feelings, and emotions. Karukku reads as a serrating monologue, Bama packs a vicious punch in this svelte autobiographical novel. The unnamed narrator a Dalit-Christian-Woman paints her painful and unsettling experience in various vignettes, written with charm, clarity and oodles of compassion.
The book is written in a very specific dialect Southern Tamil which definitely looses at least some of the lyricality and the rhythms in translation and may appear redundant to some. But if you read this in Tamil you are bma Karukku reads as a serrating monologue, Bama packs a vicious punch in this svelte autobiographical novel.
Karukkku dialect brings in the musical cadences of the language, each inflection and kzrukku adding a specific meaning to the writing. The book has to be written in this language, sorry the story has to be told in this way. Beyond all the oppression and humiliation there is HOPE.
Karukku answers the famous question “Can the subaltern speak? Here’s an excellent introduction written by the Lakshmi Holmstrom which appeared in Outlook.
Just a relentless description of the oppressed.
They are frequently humiliated and shamed by these. Case in point the “Cow vigilante groups”. Sadly most of the oppression related in the novel is still relevant.
Dec 18, Vishakh Unnikrishnan rated it it was amazing Shelves: A masterpiece in Dalit and feminist literature, the latter without the author even realizing it. A raw account of life as a Dalit Chiristian and the oppression that ensues. A simple read and a unique look into the lives that are largely left unaccounted.
Somehow this book didn’t work for me. And as with most translated books, I don’t know if it was the prose itself or the translation.
Karukku by Bama
Probably both, to varying extents. Krukku book chronicles the author’s journey from her childhood to the present, under the constant discrimination of being Dalit, and a woman and one who left a convent. This is what interested me. But most of the book feels like one big rant on social injustices with barely any mention of any extraordinary acts, either by her or the p Somehow this book didn’t work for me. But most of the book feels like one big rant on social injustices with barely any mention of any extraordinary acts, either by her or the people around her.
Maybe I have the wrong expectations, I don’t know. When the book is touted as a Dalit feminist writing, that’s probably what I looked for but didn’t find too many instances of.
Most of the episodes from her childhood are things I bmaa seen growing up, at my paternal grandparents’. I’ve heard of them from my father, so it probably wasn’t as shocking to me as it might be to folks not exposed to the specifics of the caste system in Tamil Nadu.
That said, the injustices perpetrated in the Catholic Church specifically the Order in which the author was training to be a nun was a revelation to me.
But, jarukku general, what put me off was this feeling of hypocrisy on the author’s part about caste discrimination – she tells us how her Paraya community was discriminated against but the tone she uses with the communities that are even lower on the caste hierarchy gypsies, karukuk example was quite discriminatory and stereotypical too.
And I wonder if caste has seeped in much deeper than we realise. The writing itself was very lacklustre lost in translation? Bama’s brave renunciation of the convent and setting up her life on her own terms is truly laudable, more so considering her Dalit and woman identity. And that’s all there is to this book. It is otherwise a partly nostalgic journey through her growing years, full of resentment on what life offered her or didn’t because of her caste and her struggles to overcome it, albeit a tad unsuccessfully.
Mar 06, Preeti Ramaraj rated it really liked it. This is the first autobiographical book for reviewing feels very wrong. And maybe that’s because there are so many moments of vulnerability in this book, in those individual chapters, just being able to read it feels like a big deal.
I read Bama’s interview and how this book was the first telling of the Dalit story. I do highly recommend reading it, just to get a glimpse of how things really are – no gloss, no glitter.
I wish I read it in tamil But I couldn’t get hold of the tamil version. Aug 25, Ritu rated it really liked it Shelves: An Autobiography by Bama. The life she led and the values she believes in.
She is a person of such ferocious integrity. It was an experience reading this. Dec 01, Anejana. C rated it really liked it Shelves: