The Search for Self and Space by Indian Dalit Joseph Macwan and African American Richard Wright
Vaseemahmed G Qureshi
Assistant Professor, Vishwakarma Government Engineering College, Chandkheda
A B S T R A C T
The subjugation of Dalits in India and Blacks in America is the result of slavery imposed on them in the name of castism in India and racism in America. Writers from these marginalized groups express their revolt against slavery through words. This presentation focuses on one black and one Dalit novel as a manifestation of the quest for self and space.
Joseph Macwan comes forward as a prophet of Dalits’ welfare in Gujarat with his Angaliyat (1987) which is a representation ...view middle of the document...
C O M P L E T E P R E S E N T A T I O N
“Shape without form, shade without colour,
Paralysed force, gesture without motion”
These lines by T S Eliot in his poem “The Hollow men” fit in drawing the actual picture of the existentialism of the marginalized groups. These groups may be given physical area where they are allowed to live in ghetto but they are not offered any space to breathe freely in. They are entitled as individuals but have no individual identity. Their search for self and space sets in motion from the moment when they realize their marginalized condition.
Marginality is a blot on humanity as a universal phenomenon. Marginality may have different forms but it exists globally. As R. Bhongle writes:
What is Marginality? The term applies to those areas of human interactions and activities which had only peripheral values, which were relegated to and looked upon as irrelevant and insignificant to the mainstream interest, and which appeared occasionally either to entertain or as an object of pity and sympathy in the so-called mainstream literature. (25)
Marginality and suffering result into the search for the self-esteem and self-establishment. To discuss the theme of search for self and space, here this presentation compares and contrasts two texts by two marginalized writers from two different nations: The Angliyat by Indian Dalit Joseph Macwan and The Outsider by African American Richard Wright.
India is a country which boasts of centuries-old traditions and culture. It’s the reason why it is called “Incredible” India. Though it is considered incredible in many ways today, it has had its share of dark moments. It has a very long history about the suffering and mal-practices in the name of religions and morality, in the name of socialism and ethics. One of the major draw backs of the country, even today, is the caste system ‘varna vyavastha’. The caste system was established in the name of religion and enforced with the help of law books such as the Manusmriti and the support of kings who considered themselves as upholders of religion - ‘dharma’. The force of tradition, superstition, religious beliefs, fear of punishment, the Law of Karma - ‘karma siddhant’ also played an important role in its success. The caste system was based on birth. People inherited caste from their parents and passed it on to their children. They had no right to change their caste as long as they practised the Vedic religion.
The four main castes, recognized by the traditional Hindu society based primarily on hereditary occupation, are mentioned below:
Brahmins: They were the priestly class, who were entitled to study of the Vedas-the Hindu scriptures, perform rites and rituals for themselves and for others and obliged to observe the sacraments. They were believed to be the “middle” men between gods and ordinary men.
Kshatriyas: They were the warrior class, who were commanded (by tradition) to protect the people.
Vaishyas: They were the...