Laura Brueck on the emerging complexity of Dalit consciousness in Himal Southasian:
Hindi Dalit literature’s moment has arrived. After years of obscurity and unflattering comparisons to the maturity and expressiveness of Dalit literature in languages such as Marathi and Tamil, creative Dalit writing in Hindi is finally reaching a more visible level of popular recognition. Hindi Dalit novels, autobiographies, short-story and poetry anthologies, as well as volumes of literary criticism, are today being regularly published by Delhi’s top Hindi-language publishing houses, Rajkamal and Radhakrishna Prakashan. Dalit writers infuse the pages of Delhi’s top Hindi literary magazines, such as Hans and Katha Desh, with their poetry, prose and political perspectives....With the growing shift of Hindi Dalit literary voices from marginalised spheres of ‘alternative’ social discourse to more mainstream platforms, Hindi Dalit literature is quickly becoming deeply embedded in the changing cultural politics of modern India. But it is wrong to think of Dalit literature as speaking in a single voice in the Hindi literary and political landscapes. In what might be best categorised as the Hindi Dalit literary sphere, there exists a plurality of people, life experiences, literary voices and perspectives that often find themselves at odds with one another when trying to fulfil the demands of a mainstream audience for a recognisable, ‘authentic’ and even ‘digestible’ Dalit literary voice. There are fissures within the Dalit literary sphere, situated along the fault-lines of gender, geography (urban and rural) and class, which create a vibrant and vital field of debate over the strategies of ‘writing resistance’.
Here is another article on the topic in the WSJ. My review of Omprakash Valmiki's Joothan with appear here and in 3 Quarks Daily on 29th March, along with pointers to other English translations of recent Dalit literature from other Indian languages.