articles by Yogesh Maitreya

Entertainment

Indian cinema and the Dalit identity: Karuna Kumar's Palasa 1978 is a sublime song of resistance

Palasa 1978 does not merely narrate the resistance of Dalits — the film sings it.

Entertainment

Indian cinema and the Dalit identity: Veyilmarangal's searing depiction of displacement, dreams and hope

Bijukumar Damodaran’s Veyilmarangal — like his other stories — is also dream-like, but set in a reality we ruthlessly ignore.

Entertainment

Indian cinema and the Dalit identity: In Dhanush's 2019 film Asuran, the rise of a new national hero 

Asuran is a story of a Dalit, Sivasamy (played by Dhanush), and his family. It is an unusual story in that it doesn’t succumb to violence or revenge, but rises about it.

Entertainment

Indian cinema and the Dalit identity: In Pariyerum Perumal, love is the only meaningful resistance in a caste-society

Coming out of our caste-mentality is a freedom, but most of us fear this freedom, especially those who benefit by it. Pariyerum Perumal provides us the courage to emerge from this fear.

Entertainment

Indian cinema and the Dalit identity: Kaala represents resurrection of masses in world of cinematic stories

It is not the case that Indian movies have never dealt with political subjects or politics in their stories, but they lacked aesthetics from the lives of the masses. Kaala breaks this monotony.

Entertainment

Indian cinema and the Dalit identity: Chamm spurs viewers to think rationally about emotional complexities of exploitation

Chamm establishes a truth about today’s Punjab with every frame: that this Punjab is not “grand” anymore, it is organically deprived.

Entertainment

Indian cinema and the Dalit identity: Kammatipaadam deftly unravels the connection between land and caste

Kammatipaadam is a 2016 Malayalam movie directed by Rajeev Ravi, which captures in a simple yet profound manner what land means to Dalits.

Entertainment

Indian cinema and the Dalit identity: How Masaan confronts us with a truth caste norms would have us negate

In post-constitutional India, the meeting points of two castes or of people from two historically opposed castes, has become a vantage point for understanding the process of society’s democratisation.

Entertainment

Indian film and the Dalit identity: Perariyathavar is the cinema that a caste-society needs to become humane

Perariyathavar’s biggest achievement is that it takes us into a long-invisibilised world, through the eyes of a man (played by Suraj Venjaramoodu) employed as a sweeper, and his son.

Entertainment

Indian cinema and the Dalit identity: The groundbreaking defiance of Nagraj Manjule's Fandry

Fandry is a rigorous cinematic exercise for viewers to contemplate on: what kind of society we have become; what kind of cinema this society has produced; and what kind of society cinema has constructed, in which a man is denied love just because he is Dalit.

Lifestyle

Dalit writing, global contexts: From JV Pawar to Manoranjan Byapari, examining the English translations of literary works from across India

The ‘Dalit Writing, Global Contexts’ series looks at 10 Dalit writers and examines their works, which have been translated into English.

Life

A Dalit in the Sangh: Bhanwar Meghwanshi's disillusionment with RSS lays bare agenda of Brahmin colonisation

The story of Bhanwar Meghwanshi, a Dalit youth who was associated with the RSS as a Karsevak, is one of breaking free from the mental colonisation by the Brahmins through the RSS. His fight against the Sangh, after having experienced their agenda against minorities first-hand, is primarily shaped by the intellectual quest for his history, and his vision to resurrect the history of Dalits, which has been appropriated by the RSS.

Life

Memoirs of a Dalit Communist: RB More's writings offer critique of untouchability, Savarna communism

Memoirs of a Dalit Communist should be read for the explanations it offers for the failure of communism in India, in particular the ideology's unsuitability to the social reality of Indian politics. The book is also a critical read because it lays bare how Savarna leaders used caste to their advantage within the communist groups.

Life

Mooknayak turns 100: How Babasaheb Ambedkar's Marathi weekly for Dalits came into being

As word of Ambedkar's newspaper spread, Kolhapur’s Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj himself visited Babsaheb in his chawl in Mumbai, offering a donation of Rs 2,500 to start Mooknayak. The first issue was printed on 31 January 1920

Life

Dalit writing, global contexts: The River Speaks by Bojja Tharakam stands as a poetic beacon against injustice

Even more than their content or literary merit, Bojja Tharakam’s poems stand tall for the history of resistance against oppression they narrate.

Life

Dalit writing, global contexts: In ND Rajkumar's poetry, echoes of folk rhythms, myths and local history

ND Rajkumar's poetic voice is distinct, for it carries the stories of his ancestors, who did not bow down to their oppressors – oppressors who wanted to erase their existence from history. His style, on the other hand, has the rhythm of a folk artist

Life

Dalit writing, global contexts: S Joseph combines critique and compassion in My Sister’s Bible

In Communist Kerala, S Joseph emerged as the forerunner of the Malayalam Dalit literary tradition. He was able to challenge Brahminical poetic traditions while offering verses that soothed the wounds of the lower caste people

Life

Dalit writing, global contexts: The tour de force that is Manoranjan Byapari's Interrogating My Chandal Life

Being a pioneer of Dalit literature in West Bengal, Manoranjan Byapari has ensured that the stories which were historically neglected and rejected by Brahminical literary pundits no longer need their mercy or even their attention.

Life

Caste Matters author Suraj Yengde: 'There's a new class of global Brahmin of each society'

Through the story of his life growing up in a basti, the discrimination Dalits face everyday and the love and creativity that binds the community together, Suraj Yengde challenges many notions in his book Caste Matters. In this conversation, he speaks about his experience as a Dalit in the West, the radical rebellion that is Dalit love, and how Brahmin participation in the anti-caste movement can be made more meaningful.

Life

Dalit writing, global contexts: Neerav Patel's Severed Tongue Speaks Out skewers casteism, with humour

Even as a bilingual writer (English and Gujarati) and despite being possessed of a poetic imagination far more creative than his contemporary Arun Kolatkar (upper caste, and bilingual), Neerav Patel wasn’t exempt from the prejudiced and casteist nature of Indian literary criticism. Savarna critics immortalised Kolatkar and invisiblised Patel.