Tamil writer and poet Bama conferred Verchol Dalit Literary Award

Bama is renowned for her Tamil novels Karukku and Sangati, among others, and has been hailed for her nuanced portrayal of Dalit women’s inner lives and the oppression they face.
Writer Bama
Writer BamaX
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Dalit writer and poet Bama received the Verchol Dalit Literary Award from anti-caste filmmaker Pa Ranjith at the Verchol Dalit Literary Conclave on Sunday, April 28. The literary festival was a part of the Vaanam Arts Festival held in Chennai. Bama is known for her Tamil novels Karukku, Sangati, among others.

Bama has been hailed for a nuanced portrayal of Dalit women’s inner lives and the oppression they face. Her novel Karukku is autobiographical and looks at the intersections of the writer’s identity as a Dalit Christian woman. Similarly, Sangati also focuses on the lives of Dalit women and the double oppression they face on account of their caste and gender identities. 

The Hindu reported that before Bama was presented the award at the Conclave, a documentary on her life was screened. Speaking at the event, Bama said that her life had not been easy but she chose her path and her hardships she experienced were worthy. She added, “I have received many awards, but this is special. It feels like a family function. I have no words to thank Pa Ranjith.”

The festival was organised by Neelam Cultural Centre under Pa Ranjith. Speaking at the event, Ranjith, who is also a Dalit filmmaker, said that Bama’s work was of great importance and was an eye-opener for him. He added, “When non-Dalit writers write about Dalit women, they often write about their sexual desires. Karukku does not fall under this category. I could see the women of my family in Karukku. This is why I think Dalits should create their own stories.”

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