SUPPRESSIONS IN KARUKKU
Bama (born:1958), also known as Bama Faustina Soosairaj, is a Tamil, Dalit Feminist and novelist. She rose to fame with her autobiographical novel Karukku (1992), which portrays the sorrows experienced by Dalit Christian women in Tamil Nadu.
The life as portrayed in Karukku throws light on the most agonizing and hapless lives of the Dalits. The journey that Bama travelled was rather very tedious, the encounters were painful and her experiences reveal her agony. There is a little scope for Scheduled caste people to elevate their position mostly because of their nonâ€“acceptance in the day-to-day public affair. Bama has never heard of untouchability until her third standard in school. The first time she comes to know her community’s pathetic state, which is ironically tinged with humours. As Bama was returning from school, she finds an elder from her street. He was holding out a small packet of snacks. This packet of snacks is tied in a string. The elder was bringing the snacks by holding the strings without touching the packet and was giving it to a Naicker in the village. Bama was unable to control her laughing, looking at the funny sight. Bama says ‘Just then, an elder of our street came along from the direction of the bazaar. The manner in which he was walking along made me want to doubleup’. Bama starts to look out for means to uplift herself and her community from the trampled existence. Her elder brother shows her the right path and tells her that education is the only way to attain equality. Bama’s elder brother’s advice makes a very deep impression on her and she wanted to prove herself. Ever since her brother spoke to her she started studying very seriously. She saw to it that she always stood first in the class. Throughout her education, Bama found that wherever she went, there was a painful remainder of her caste in the form of untouchability. The Government Officers provided the financial grants and special tuitions to the Harijans. These grants and tuitions were more of humiliation than consolation, mainly because it singled out her caste identity.
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