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First ever poetry collection on lives of Dalit women launched in Delhi
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First ever poetry collection on lives of Dalit women launched in Delhi

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Rajeev R Singh

A unique collection of Hindi poetry was launched in Delhi. It’s the 1st ever collection of poetry about the lives and struggles of Dalit & Adivasi women – by 65 young poets of the democratic tradition. (Editors: Anita Bharti & Bajrang Bihari Tiwari).

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There was a different kind of excitement and expectation in the air. As history was being created at the meeting hall of the Gandhi Peace Foundation, New Delhi, the crowd looked expectantly towards the podium to catch a glimpse of ‘Yathastithi se Takraate Hue Dalit Stree Jeewan se Judi Kavitaayein‘, a unique collection of Hindi poetry by 65 poets.

Dalits are ex-untouchables, the lowest castes in the highly hierarchical Hindu caste system. Though un-touchability is outlawed under the Indian Constitution, social norms and practices have changed little over the decades in India.

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Dalits have struggled for a dignified existence since centuries. However under the championing leadership of Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar, Dalits got a new voice and direction. He was also the chairperson of the Indian Constitution’s drafting committee.

The Indian social landscape provides intertwined layers of patriarchy, caste, class and poverty to give dalit women some of the worst kinds of discrimination seen anywhere on the planet. While there have been instances of meteoric rise of some dalit women to corridors of power, authority and decision making, the overwhelming majority of Dalit women live subhuman lives.

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Carrying of night soil, toiling as bonded labour, dancing in temples as ‘servants of god’, working endlessly – doing the most menial jobs as agricultural labor, working practically with no wages in factories, toiling in brick kilns, working as domestic helps to ensure that urban India’s ‘economic super engines’ function smoothly, facing endless bouts of domestic and other violence, facing sexual exploitation of the worst kinds, being ‘witch hunted’ and killed, facing starvation, being forced to live on a diet of rats etc., are some aspects that are frequent excerpts from the work and life sagas of Dalit women in India.

Born out of the above situation is determined resistance and struggle for change. The literature of suffering is the literature of change.

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Seen from the eyes and ears of 65 poets of India’s democratic tradition, this poetry of ‘resistance to the status quoist existence of Dalit women’s lives’ is a unique insight into the lives, struggles and successes of Dalit women. Women, who have dared to wage war against patriarchy, and casteism, which have given Indian society its worst scourge.

Eminent poets, litterateurs, researchers, social activists, feminists, academicians and other concerned individuals participated in the event.

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The poets who contributed to the collection are:

1) Achyutananda Mishra,

2) Anita Bharti,

3) Arvind Shesh,

4) Anuj Lugun,

5) Archana Rani,

6) Alpana Mishra,

7) Arjun Savedia,

8) Aarti Prajapati,

9) Ayesha Khan,

10) Ashish Kumar Anshu,

11) Upasna Gautam,

12) Om Prakash,

13) Kavita Nandan,

14) Kulina Kumari,

15) Krishna Kant,

16) Kailash Wankhede,

17) Kaushal Pawar,

18) Gurinder Singh Azad,

19) Gulzar Hussain,

20) Chandrakanta,

21) Jai Kaushal,

22) Tekachand,

23) Tarushikha,

24) Deepak Panwar,

25) Naresh Kumar Tank,

26) Niranjan Sahai,

27) Nirmala Putul,

28) Pooja Kumari,

29) Pooja Prajapati,

30) Poonam Tushamad,

31) Poonam Dahiya,

32) Puran Singh,

33) Praveen Kumar,

34) Priyanka Sonkar,

35) Faruk Shah,

36) Bipin Kumar Sharmam,

37) Bharat Prasad,

38) Bhasha Singh,

39) Madhu,

40) Manoj Kumar Singh,

41) Musafir Baitha,

42) Ranjana Jaiswal,

43) Rajatrani Meenu,

44) Rajni Anuragi,

45) Raj Valmiki,

46) Lallanji Gopal,

47) Lalitya Lalit,

48) Vandana Sharma,

49) Vinod Vishwakarma,

50) Vipin Chaudhary,

51) Vimal Chandra Pandey,

52) Vivek Nirala,

53) Vivek Mishra,

54) Shravan Kumar,

55) Sridhar Mishra,

56) Sanjeev Kaushal,

57) Sanjeev Chandan,

58) Siddharth Anand,

59) Sudha Upadhyay,

60) Sudha,

61) Sudhir Sagar,

62) Sumitra Mehrol,

63) Sushil Kumar ShiLu,

64) Sushil Kusumakar,

65) Hemlata Mahishwar.

The volume is edited by Anita Bharti and Bajrang Bihari Tiwari.

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