Caste has emerged as one of contemporary India's most explosive issues, with the advent of majoritarian nationalism along with neoliberal globalization. While Indian English writing with its focus on the middle-class, upper-caste citizen-subject has garnered substantial attention in the global literary market, Dalit literature, especially in the vernacular languages has remained in the shadows. The representation of “personhood” in Dalit “life-writing” offers an effective counterpoint to dominant Anglophone or postcolonial cultural production. I explore Marathi writer Laxman Gaikwad's Uchlaya (1987) (The Branded [1998]) and the more recently published Manoranjan Byapari's Bengali-language Itibritte Chandal Jiban (2013) (History of a Corpse-Handler's Life) as narratives of Dalit self-articulation that mount a formal and thematic critique of nationalist culture and its male, upper-caste, normative subject.

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