Life of an Untouchable
by Viramma Translated by Will Hobson Retold by Josiane Racine and Jean-Luc Racine
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$29.95$20.9630% off
332 pages / February 1998 / 9781859841488

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An intensely personal and moving self-portrait of a woman living at the very margins of Indian society, informed by a sense of profound social change.

Viramma tells her fascinating life story with the unsentimentality, humor and dramatic sense of a born storyteller: her carefree childhood; her marriage before puberty; giving birth to twelve children ‘very gently, like stroking a rose’; adult life as an agricultural worker ‘condemned to bake in the sun’; tales of gods and malign forces, like Irsi Katteri ‘the foetus-eater’, who cast their shadow over her daily life.

Told over ten years to Josiane and Jean-Luc Racine, this is an intensely personal and moving self-portrait, informed by a sense of profound social change in contemporary India. To emancipationists Viramma is a Dalit, one of the oppressed; to Gandhians she is a Harijan, a daughter of God; in her village she is still treated as an Untouchable, a Pariah. In this remarkable book she reveals the world of an extraordinary woman living at the very margins of Indian society.


“...a staggering book.”

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