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Scholarly Article

Kunal Kumar Halder

Breaking the Prisons: A Study of Select Dalit Women Autobiographies

Dalit, autobiographies, patriarchal, marginalized, literary canon, caste,
gender, class

The existence of Dalit women is spotted and stained by their gender and caste positioning in the patriarchal and hierarchical social order. Dalit writers like Babytai Kamble and Urmila Pawar show how Dalit women fight against the multi-layered pervasive ‘prisons’ expressed in their autobiographies. Dalit women’s voices have been inadequately represented or sometimes completely erased from the literary canon. Other times, Dalit women have been represented in romanticized narratives, without a real examination of their marginalized position in the hierarchy of caste, gender and class. Through their autobiographies, Dalit woman writers have shown the world that a subaltern woman of the lowest caste can speak and even expatiate her individual and social vision. The autobiographies are odyssey of their selves and show their spiritual journey from ignorance to knowledge, from helplessness to courage; from diffidence to confidence and from multiple bondages to emancipation within the patriarchal framework.
About the Author
Mr. Kunal Kumar Halder is an Assistant Professor in the Department of English at Bangabasi Morning College, Sealdah. He completed his Post Graduation in English Literature from Presidency College in 2005. He qualified for UGC NET in 2011. Presently he is a Ph.D. research scholar in the Department of English at Bankura University. His areas of interest are gender studies, partition literature and children’s literature. His papers were published in various journals and he also presented papers in national and international seminars. He may be contacted at
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