ECSAS 2023 – Turin 26-29 July

Anna Bhau Sathe and the Dalit Recovery of the Political


K V Cybil - IIT BHU, Humanistic Studies, Varanasi, India


35 – Postmodern Narratives of Caste and Indigeneity


 Modern Marathi literature that emerged out of the clutches of the Peshwa period expressed its freedom in many ways. It elaborated an expression of its own that embraced values of revolt and liberation. Walking down this aisle was not an easy job for an illiterate,unskilled young man in the 1940’s Mumbai. The strong grip in which romantic literature in Marathi held its readers imprisoned was broken down by Anna Bhau Sathe (1920-69)in his five novels, ten plays (loknatya), twenty three short stories and sixteen poems (powadas). All of this came in a space of two decades witnessing the birth of Dalit literature on the one hand and the birth of a united state of Maharashtra on the other.

It is hard to put Anna Bhau Sathe on the side of any given formation. One has to think twice before reducing any of his readers to the cool comforts of a secure society, the dominant motif that made romantic literature popular and sustainable . He drove literature to cross the boundaries of romance, pitted characters in their extremities, a society where the possibility of remaining human made little sense, sought their escape from this existence and derived a new language for their expression and in the process a new literature, a new sensibility, a new voice and a new body.