A Life Uprooted: A Dalit Refugee Remembers. A Tale of Loss and Rehabilitation


  • Aparna Singh Assistant Professor at Diamond Harbour Women's University


Translation not only connects writers to new readers but also shapes and alters the course of literary history across caste, class and gender boundaries. Translating Dalit writing entails personal and political ramifications. It comes with a set of conflicts - dealing with one’s limitations and restrictions that is the result of a particular kind of upbringing, of one’s caste-based subjectivities and of a carefully constructed cosmopolitan identity that translators translating into English are usually embedded in. The translators are expected to display a deep understanding of their position as translators and the responsibilities they own up to by making an unmistakably political choice. First and foremost a reader, they engage at a visceral level with the narrative of pain and oppression. According to Rita Kothari, translation is one of the many consolidations that show a Dalit subject as an active participant in Indian democracy. The concerns about the authenticity of English as the target language should best be sidestepped as “its ideological potential to "translate" the Dalit life from fatalism to an identity of rights outweighs considerations of its distance from 


dalit, translation, oppression


BALA, JATIN, A Life Uprooted: A Bengali Dalit Refugee Remembers, translated by Mandakini Bhattacherya and Jaydeep Sarangi, Sahitya Akademi, 2022.

BISWAS, MANOHAR MOULI. (2015) Surviving in My World: Growing up Dalit in Bengal. Chaturtha Duniya.

BYAPARI MANORANJAN. (2018) Interrogating My Chandal Life: An Autobiography of a Dalit, trans. Shipra Mukherjee. Samya.

CHARAL, KALYANI THAKUR, AND SAYANTAN DASGUPTA (Eds). (2020) Dalit Lekhika: Women’s Writing from Bengal. Stree.

KOTHARI, RITA. (2013) "Caste in a Casteless Language? English as a Language of 'Dalit' Expression", Economic and Political Weekly, September 28, Vol. 48, No. 39: 60-68

LIMBALE, SHARAN KUMAR. (2004) Towards an Aesthetic of Dalit Literature: History, Controversies and Considerations, trans. Alok Mukherjee. Orient Blackswan,

VALMIKI, OM PRAKASH. (2007) Joothan, trans, Arun Prabha Mukherjee. Samya.

Author Biography

Aparna Singh, Assistant Professor at Diamond Harbour Women's University

Aparna Singh is an Assistant Professor at Diamond Harbour Women’s University in the Department of English. She is a poet and short story writer. She is the author of Periodic Tales a short story collection, and one of the contributing poets to Three Witches’ Songs.. Her area of interest is Indian Writing in English and her Ph.D from the University of Calcutta is on Dalit Writing. She has worked as a copyeditor with Sahitya Akademi.  

Cover of A Life Uprooted




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