A Book entitled “Cultural Identity and Dalit Literature” (Emergence of Madigas in Indian Society) jointly authored by Prof. Darla Venkateswara Rao, Head, Department of Telugu, School of Humanities and Dr. J. Bheemaiah, Associate Professor, Centre for Comparative Literature, School of Humanities, University of Hyderabad (UoH) has been published by the Prestige Books International, New Delhi.
About the Book
This book foregrounds and traces the cultural identity of Madigas living across India in different nomenclatures such as Chamars, leather workers and cobblers. Being part of the Dalit community, they have been associated with tanning, leather working and cobbling for centuries. The book establishes jambapurana, which is like any other Indian purana, is a representative text that signifies Jambavas and extols their culture. It significantly refers to Jambavanta, a primordial Madiga who is a cultural spirit of the community. It also attempts to subvert the negative stereotypes attributed to this community by the dominant savarna Hindus who historically exploited the Madigas and treated them as untouchables. It draws on how the issues of Madigas strongly reflect in different genres of modern Telugu literature produced by both Madiga and non-Madiga writers. Besides critiquing the religious fascism and spiritual denial in India, the book also looks into parallel cultures and traditions of the oppressed in other societies too. It provides a wider scope for further research on social margins.
About the Authors
Prof. Darla Venkateswara Rao is presently the Head, Department of Telugu, School of Humanities, University of Hyderabad. He has published more than 18 books on various issues. Bahujana Sahitya Drukpataham (A Perspective of Bahujans), Dalita Sahityam-Madiga Drukpatham (Dalit Literature- Madiga Perspective), Veechika, Punarmulyankanam are among those well-known books on research and Criticism. Nemali Kannulu and Darla Matasatakam are the books on poetry being translated into both English and Hindi languages. Under his supervision, he has guided 14 Ph.D students and 12 M.Phil students. His works have been used as reference texts in research. Some of his books have been prescribed for study in curriculum in various universities. Some students have done research on his works and several others are doing research in Universities.
Prof. Rao was conferred with the Chancellor’s Award for his academic merit, which is constituted to be given every year for the meritorious teachers under forty. He received an amount of rupees one lakh cash for research as a special grant. He has designed syllabus on Dalita Sahityam, Diaspora Sahityam and Srujanatmaka Naipunnyalau (Creative Skills). He has successfully completed UGC major research project on Madigala Charita Samskriti, Sahityam. He was awarded Keerthi Puraskaram by Potti Sreeramulu Telugu University, Hyderabad and Mahakavi Gurram Joshua national award for his literary contributions.
Dr. J. Bheemaiah, Associate Professor at the Centre for Comparative Literature, School of Humanities, University of Hyderabad, has published 3 full-length books which include Caste and Class in Literature (2005), Asamaanathalu-Adhikaralu (2006), Tracing Traits: A Comparative Study of Hamlet and Chivaraku Migiledi (2007) and edited 3 volumes- Dalits and Social Marginalisation (2012), Counter Writing: Dalits and other Subalterns (2016), Tribal Development, Culture, Fiction (2021) on social margins and tribal culture apart from the translation of Telugu Dalit poetry and mainstream poetry into English. He has published more than 30 research papers in various reputed journals and edited volumes. He has successfully completed ICSSR research project on the Dalit sub-castes in Telangana State. He has immensely contributed to the university, by coordinating the UGC programmes and administrative assignments. He is presently working on his auto-biography.