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  ‘AAMCHI MUMBAI’1: THE CITY IN THE DALIT IMAGINATION

PALLABEE DASGUPTA

RESEARCH SCHOLAR

DEPARTMENT OF ENGLISH

 BANARAS HINDU UNIVERSITY

 INDIA

 

Abstract

The phenomenon of Migration be it emigration from one country to another or movement of people from the rural to the urban within a country, , has always had an interesting impact on the literature and culture of a particular region. Within India, this movement has happened from the villages to the urban areas, mostly to the cities like Delhi, Mumbai etc. In the case of Mumbai, it has faced a huge influx of immigration from the hinterlands of Maharashtra as well as from other states of India like Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. This influx of migrants is not only a burning political issue in the state but has also featured strongly in the literature and culture of the city. This cosmopolitan nature of the city as well as its financial prosperity has also attracted a huge population of Dalits who have flocked to the cities, since pre-colonial times. The dynamic all-encompassing nature of the city offered them a chance of living a normal life independent of caste professions and its associated humiliations. But while their anonymity helped them escape their inherent caste-identity, it offered them more obstacles in the form of unemployment, poor quality of living in the cities, environmental degradation, corruption etc.

This paper attempts to trace the portrayal of the city as perceived by generations of Dalit migrants, how they perceived and represented Bombay/Mumbai in their literature. The paper will focus on the city as a metaphor of both utopia and dystopia for them. Also it attempts to do a socio-literal study of the condition of the Dalit migrant, the obstacles they face while negotiating their identity in the ‘urban anarchy’ of the cosmopolitan city of dark sordid realities, of poverty, differing regional identities and violence through a study of Dalit poetry and short stories.

Keywords: Dalit, Migration, Mumbai, Dystopia.

[1] Aamchi is roughly translated in the Marathi language to mean “Our”. It is also used to refer to the female form of the possessive verb mine.

 

journal of english

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2017-09-11T07:07:48+00:00
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