Interrogating the ‘Past’: Phule’s Slavery and Ilaiah’s Why I am Not a Hindu
The past has always been a ‘hazy’ ground to tread on and this, among other things, also makes it a place to alter and modify history. Indian social order has been no exception with history and myth playing together to construct some sacrosanct ‘facts’ that created a domain outside the boundaries of questioning and interrogating. This domain comprises the mainstream, in society and literature alike, and projects a way of writing and living that does not offer any space to any ‘digressing’ voices. These ‘digressing’ voices, though, sustained the adversities and created a culture that stood distinct from that of the mainstream. These voices organized themselves in literature too and tried to present their side of the story, “hisstory”. Two such texts are Phule’s Slavery and Kancha Ilaiah’s Why I am Not a Hindu. The paper strives to assess the interrogation of the past by these two writers in their seminal works. An attempt has been made to look into the way these two works, separated by nearly 90 years, have demystified and humanized the historically divine and the sacred. Finally, the paper aims at foregrounding a social order that shall stand as an alternative to the mainstream and in the process challenge the absoluteness of a past glorified by the mainstream.
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