Bama (born ), also known as Bama Faustina Soosairaj, is a Tamil, Dalit feminist, committed teacher and novelist. She rose to fame with her autobiographical novel Karukku (), which for Dalit children in Uttiramerur. Bama’s Karukku has been translated to English and Kusumbukkaran and Sangati to French. Using Bama’s Karukku as a case-study, it explores the shift between the generic conventions Bama’s Karukku appeared in the Tamil version in (English. 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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This is what drew me to Karukku and this is why the book will stay with me.

I find it extraordinary given the central position Ambedkar holds now in the Dalit activism. The unnamed narrator a Dalit-Christian-Woman paints her painful and unsettling experience in various vignettes, written with charm, clarity and oodles of compassion.

With the encouragement of a friend, she wrote on her childhood experiences. Can’t stop thinking about the strength of her writing. Devoid of most personal and identifying details of both the author as well as the institutionsthe story chronicles the initial hopes and later disillusionment of the narrator with the casteism she witnessed in Church and other christian institutions.

While both psychological and physical disabilities are stigmatised by society, here are ten women with disability who kicked ass in She is a mathematics teacher by profession, a novelist by passion and an activist by nature. She describes in detail her childhood in kaukku village, her coming to terms englixh the reality that she is a Dalit, thus an untouchable and that she lived in a world that was hostile towards people like her.

Even leaving the convent proved a Herculean task as she was constantly stopped by the more senior nuns. Bama remembers their games as children where they did role play as upper caste men insulting Dalits or as men who went for work and came home to beat their wives up!

‘Karukku’: An Autobiography By Bama Exploring Her Tamil, Dalit And Christian Identity

I don’t know whether this is a problem with the translation. Most of the episodes from her childhood are things I have seen growing up, at my paternal grandparents’. Education also becomes one of the most prominent factors, for the story bqma the hypocrisy that is bu in educational institutions.


Even 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.

Want to Read saving…. Aparna Sairamesh rated it it was amazing Oct 03, And that’s all there is to this book. The first autobiography In when a Dalit woman left the convent and wrote her autobiography, the Tamil publishing industry found her language unacceptable.

See all free Kindle reading apps. She writes of the oppression she faced within the convent to practice her religion and daily life in a particular manner. It is also notable for outlining karukju experience of Dalit Christians and the same caste discrimination that Dalits face as Hindus, they face as Christians and the casteism that permeates Church institutions.

Bama (writer)

Engljsh describes a college party that she did not attend because she could not afford englisg buy a new saree, hiding in the bathroom until it was over. The first autobiography by a Dalit woman author published in I love the beginning and the end.

I wish to believe that my first hypothesis is true inspite of enough evidence in favour of the second one. I wish I read it in tamil But I couldn’t get hold of the tamil version. Books like this should be read and taught because they impart a deeper understanding and could make us more empathetic and humane.

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Jun 01, Dhanya Narayanan rated it liked it. Bama focuses on two aspects, religion and caste to throw light on the oppression Dalits face. This book is about her journey spanning over many years of hardship, when she finally realised why it was so. Bama rendered her tale in simple and plain words. The English translation, first published in and recognized as a new alphabet of experience, pushed Dalit writing into high relief. Tamil writers births Living people Indian feminist writers Roman Catholic feminists 20th-century Indian women writers 21st-century Indian women writers 21st-century Indian novelists Women writers from Tamil Nadu 20th-century Indian novelists Indian women novelists 20th-century Indian short story writers 21st-century Indian short story writers Indian women short story writers Novelists from Tamil Nadu.


Sadly most of the oppression related in the novel is still relevant. The narrative pace is very humdrum, and the sentences are repetitive and boring. I’d like to read this book on Kindle Don’t have a Kindle? There are no discussion topics on this book yet. It efficiently conveys the inner trauma of her being, her state of mind, feelings, and emotions. Hardcoverpages.

In when a Dalit woman left the convent and wrote her autobiography, the Tamil publishing industry found her language unacceptable.

Karukku by Bama

So Bama Faustina published her milestone work Karukku privately in a passionate and important mix of history, sociology, and the strength to remember. I do highly recommend reading it, just to get a glimpse of how things really are – no gloss, no glitter. The book was originally written by her in Tamil in and translated into the English version that I read by Lakshmi Holmstrom in Here’s how terms and conditions apply.

I really enjoyed Bama’s writing. The 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.

Bama (writer) – Wikipedia

The writing itself was very lacklustre lost in translation? In Karukku, Karukju introduces us to her people who live like any one of us, trying hard to make a living but yearning to enjoy simple pleasures in life by singing and dancing amidst all baka. Please try again later. 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.

Her narrative is nuanced in exploring her intersecting identities as Dalit and woman in detail.

Part of that disillusionment also came from the difference between what most religions preach and what they practice – speaking of poor but living in luxury, speaking of a benevolent and loving God but prescribing strict rituals to please him.