The Dalit Literature in South Asia: A Graphic Novel and the Caste System

Publication Information

Journal Title: Asian Journal of Multidisciplinary Research & Review
Author(s): Chhavi
Published On: 27/02/2022
Volume: 3
Issue: 1
First Page: 300
Last Page: 304
ISSN: 2582-8088
Publisher: The Law Brigade Publisher

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Chhavi, The Dalit Literature in South Asia: A Graphic Novel and the Caste System, Volume 3 Issue 1, Asian Journal of Multidisciplinary Research & Review, 300-304, Published on 27/02/2022, Available at


This is a book review of Bhimayana which, as a meta- text and a graphic novel, goes beyond probing the caste system prevalent in the continent of South Asia, in general, and in India, in particular. It merges the community with the individual. There are references to the past and the present memory which makes each episode polychromic where moment/time is cyclical and interruptions are acceptable. The authors have invited the readers for a new kind of reading that relies upon reading the visuals which is associated with non- linear aesthetics of a collage or montage. There is also an inter- sectionalist edge to the text where memory of the public and private meets. “Migrants engaged with past…they are not ostensibly part of.”[i] In this context its complex since Ambedkar was a sufferer at the hands of the caste system but he denotes such experiences of his community. And the photographic images portray this individual inserted in the community memory. Documents used, thus, forge memory citizenship of the protagonist and the readers, as a part of the memory citizenship: “Untouchability is a blot on Hinduism. It is a canker eating into its vitals.”[ii] Hence, this book review carries the intention of achieving a mass consciousness, brobdingnagian awareness and cognizance amongst its readers about the caste system through a newfangled medium of canon production, i.e., a graphic novel. The Varna system came into reality from the later Vedic era, as the historians have noted, on the landmass of South Asia and dug its claws as a non-changing reality deep within the minds of the general public. And when a Dalit woman is brutally gang raped in Hathras (India), in a very recent year of 2021, it becomes an area of a modern reader to deliberate upon, as it is still not a practice of the past.

[i] Pothberg and Yildiz

[ii] Mahatma Gandhi

Keywords: Bhimayana, Dalit Literature, Graphic Novel, Caste System, Untouchability, Hathras

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