Analysis of Joothan

This essay will deal with the critical analysis of Joothan as a memoir.“Joothan” is written by Omprakash  Valmiki. It provides insight into the life of a Dalit in the late twentieth century. This is an account of non Brahmanical text which started growing in the recent past and made people think about the flaws that were  there in the learnings and studies. Earlier people were largely the least bothered about the perspective of  lower caste people.

There was no place for Dalit literature and narratives in the learnings of the student, but  when there were movements led by socialists such as Ambedkar and Jyotiba Phule about the atrocities faced  by lower caste people (Chuhre)it led to change in the theory of knowledge offered by Brahmanas. Earlier the  knowledge and education system were dominated by Upper-Class people, thereupon there was no need for  discussion about the caste, and caste was hardly a matter of discussion. In fact, caste was never an issue for  women as we as well. The feeling of sisterhood among all the women was beyond the caste. After a clear  discussion about the caste with the knowledge of the books of Phule and Ambedkar, everybody understood  the difference between the way caste is described as consensual in theoretical knowledge and the way it is  practiced in society. When Mandal issued the reservation of other castes came into being.

It proved the fact  that caste was no longer a private and personal matter. It came to public debates and created arguments  about the reservation among the Upper and Lower castes of people. The people from the Upper caste claimed that they were not connected with any specific identity, it was lower caste people who started the claim of  identities themself. This assumption was challenged by Anti Mandal protests.

Another challenge came in the  form of opposition to a series of protests organized by Dalit women at the regional level and at the national level. The Dalit female groups organized protests on the issues of quotas within quotas. They also raised the  concept of genderless caste and casteless gender.

The elimination of the concept of discrimination based on  race was also a big challenge during that time. In the book, the struggle of a child born in the lower class has  been shown. The boy had to face harassment from the upper class. Luckily, he got a proper education and was able to establish himself.

This is a memoir of the past. Some people say that the introduction of Dalit  testimonies as a historical narrative of experience is a way to counter the caste system. As Guru (2003) said  that writing performs a double function. They will create an inferiority complex about the ancestors in the  mindset of readers.

Readers will start thinking about the wrongdoings done by upper-class people. At the  same time, they also result in sympathy and love for lower caste people. Writing of Autobiography of the Dalit  writer brings new theories to the Brahmanical institution of knowledge. The way the curriculum, methods of  teaching, and position of stories have been constructed depicts what a student should be taught.

The study  about the lower caste people cannot be separated from the main course and taught as an option course to the students. This also brings into notice the changing conception of attitude towards studies.

This also shows the  overall purpose of the studies which is the democratization of knowledge not the colonization of knowledge.  The issue of gender inequality was also linked with the issue of caste. The women in the middle class were  unhappy because they were subjugated by the old and conservative traditions. It became very important to  resolve the gender inequality faced by women to resolve the issue of caste. Hence the studies about women  also became part of the curriculum of the undergraduate course of subaltern students. Recognizing caste,  class, and differences meant a change in power, politics, subjectivities, and pedagogies.

It was not easy to  challenge the institution of the caste system that was many years old. At one level, we need to recognize the  culture of those who were marginalized. We need to accept our lack of understanding of their culture. We  need to open ourselves to the process of learning. Women's studies have transformed our thinking.

It does not mean we will forget all about caste and focus on their issues. We need to be very democratic in taking up  knowledge from our surroundings. Women’s studies also show our lack of engagement with Non – Brahmanical ideas. There has been an increased interest in Dalit writers in the last few years. As correctly said  by S. Ananda (2003) The creativity of Dalit writers has been shown in different languages. It is a positive  development. There are several questions about the politics of publication and translation that has been  developed. The scholars and publishers started to reflect upon the politics of consumption of the literature of  the Dalit writers. This also resulted in changes in the priorities of certain kinds of literary work. and control of  publishing by non-Dalits. It is also important to remember that there is politics in the selection of work that is  what is translated? and by whom is it translated? Historians of the Dalit movement see this as a development  due to the coming together of global alliances. Many global alliances came together to oppose racism.

Many  chroniclers argued that when the bond of protest and literature becomes weak, there is a greater need to  read books by state and nation. Several scholars argued that autobiographies of Dalits are digging out a strong hateful smell of the past. They defended the style in which these autobiographies were written.

Other scholars emphasized the characteristics of a specific person from the narrative and explained the importance of that  character to the whole community. Politics, style, and other important things about that time period were  discussed. Is the Dalit text a moral source of political movement or they were reminders of the hateful past?  The style of Dalit writing is completely different from the writing of the rich middle class. Dalit genre in unique  in itself. It explores about itself and society.

Therefore, in the book “Joothan” the author explores about  torture which he was subjected to on the daily basis. He was badly tortured by his teachers; they asked him to  sit separately during the classes. They did not drink the water touched by him. He had to sit on the floor  during the class. They also made him broom all the class during his study hours. The most interesting part of  this book that affected me was the time when his mother refused to take the joothan from upper class lady. 


Anonymous said...

Highly impressive.

Abhinav Bajpai said...

Thank you very much

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