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Dalit Literature and Experience A Journey towards Empathy: Character portrayals in short stories of Jayprakash Kardam and Ajay Navaria
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Languages, Department of Linguistics and Philology. (Hindi)
2019 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

During the last decades, a Hindi Dalit literary movement has emerged in North India. This essay is a study and comparison on character portrayals in short stories by two authors from this movement, Jayprakash Kardam and Ajay Navaria. The aim of this essay is to explore the implications of these portrayals considering these authors’ views on social change, their literary affiliations and a theoretical discussion on Dalit literature. The methodical basis for this study is a detailed character analysis of these short stories’ protagonists, antagonists and other relevant characters, supported by narrative- and conceptual analyses. This essay argues that the theoretical abstraction of Dalit consciousness [cetnā] has a mainstreaming effect on the Dalit experience [anubhūti] when it is portrayed in literature. These dynamics are visible in Kardam’s stories, in which his portrayals of the Dalit protagonist follow the conventional Dalit character template, a forthright and innocent archetype juxtaposed against an evil Brahmin. The pivoting moment in Kardam’s stories is when consciousness awakens in the Dalit protagonist and he joins the corporate resistance against a casteist society. In comparison, Navaria makes the individual the site for change in his stories—reflecting the Gandhian notion of hṛday parivartan (“change of heart”). Navaria foregrounds alternative perspectives to Dalit cetnā in his stories and seeks to understand his characters from a broader human experience. I further argue that Navaria’s stories are suggestive of an expansion of the binary discussion on anubhūti (“experience”) and sahānubhūti (“sympathy”) by the term samānubhūti (“empathy”) since Navaria, by his more complex, nuanced and personalised characterisation of both Dalits and Brahmins, provides a common ground that invites to reconciliation. This study concludes that while Kardam could be designated as a conventional Dalit author, Navaria should rather be situated in the boundaries between the Dalit and the mainstream Hindi literary field. It further concludes that more research is needed on theoretical concepts used in the Dalit literary discourse.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019. , p. 97
Keywords [en]
Dalit, Dalit Literature, Dalit Consciousness, change of heart, experience, empathy, sympathy, caste-system in India, casteism, short story, character analysis, Jayprakash Kardam, Ajay Navaria, Hindi literature
Keywords [hi]
Dalit cetnā, hṛday parivartan, anubhūti, samānubhūti, sahānubhūti
National Category
Specific Literatures Specific Languages
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-392447OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-392447DiVA, id: diva2:1348493
Subject / course
Hindi
Educational program
Freestanding course
Presentation
2019-06-12, Engelska parken Hus 9, Thunbergsvägen 3H, Uppsala, 14:00 (English)
Supervisors
Examiners
Note

Kandidatuppsats i indologi

Available from: 2019-09-04 Created: 2019-09-04 Last updated: 2019-09-04Bibliographically approved

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