ECSAS 2023 – Turin 26-29 July

The revenge of the pigs: postmodern strategies in Dalit fiction by Roop Narayan Sonkar


Ghirardi Veronica - Università degli Studi di Torino, Humanities, Torino, Italy


35 – Postmodern Narratives of Caste and Indigeneity


 Postmodern thinking foregrounds pluralism as the key principle and rejects all those grands récits that, with due time and place differences, have always pigeonholed human existence. In this very light, Dalit writing, in virtue of its fight against casteism and restrictive literary canons, should be read as a crucial manifestation of the postmodern in the Indian vernacular literatures. Furthermore, Hindi Dalit writing, despite being often linked to realism and a lack of stylistic experimentation, has embraced in the new millennium a series of postmodern strategies to voice its social and literary critique. With this paper I aim to discuss Roop Narayan Sonkar’s fiction and particularly his thought-provoking novel Sūardān (The gift of the pig), focusing on its challenging intertextual games and the configuration of the pig farm as a heterotopic space of compensation. Not only the novel evidently echoes Premchand’s masterpiece Godān (The gift of the cow), but it is strewn with allusions to multiple hypotexts, from the Mahābhārata to Orwell’s Animal Farm. Moreover, Sonkar builds up the pig farm as an alternate world (not by chance the novel is even defined of science-fiction on the back cover of the English translation) a world that is other than the actual deteriorated world, but real, where Ambedkarite values can flourish, bringing prosperity to the whole community.