‘Antyaj’–Hindi translation of ‘Mukkam Post Devache Gothne’-Marathi Dalit autobiography by Madhav Kondvalikar
by Chaman Lal on Sunday, 08 May 2011 at 19:16
15. **’Antyaj’, Madhav Kondvalikar, translation from Marathi,Uttam Kanitkar, Vidya Prakashan Mandir, New Delhi, Ist ed. 1992, Price Rs. 125/, pages 222
Hindi translation of Marathi Dalit autobiographical novel-‘Mukkam Post Devache Gothne’, published in Marathi in 1977. Ist published in ‘Tanmay’ magazine’s Dipavli issue of 1977.Written in diary form from 17-11-1969 to last entry 1-2-1977, covering little over eight year period of struggles of author in his own village, where he got posted as Govt. school teacher and his sufferings include at the hands of his own caste men. Madhav Kondvalikar was born on 15th July 1941 in a Chamar or cobbler family of Devache Gothne village, where he got posted as school teacher after getting education in trying circumstances, but his sufferings did not end with getting respectable job. Village children and his students insulted him by taking bath in river, after the touch of ‘Chamar’ teacher and his writing to a paper about it became further cause for harassment. His house was few miles away, so he wanted to live near the school, no one was ready to rent him house and in compulsion, he had to accept a house of his own caste man, which he would not have accepted, given other option. The boy of the house is spoiled child and harasses Master and later his wife to no end. Seven years he runs after any person with influence in society, big names in literary world like P L Deshpande, Baba Aadhav try their best to just get him transferred from the harassed place, but do not succeed and he go through all kinds of indignities, but getting established as significant writer in the Marathi literary world. At long last he is transferred to Rajapur in early 1977 and his diary concludes at this relieving juncture, though it is still not certain that he would not go through another bout of harassment at Rajapur.
Writer is unhappy at the flaws of his own Dalit society, where untouchability exists even among various dalit castes. Mahars and Chamars of his village don’t live in harmony, rather they are in conflict, makes writer sad, he wishes to see enlightenment in his own alit society, but which is not visible.
‘Antyaj’ is term used for fifth among four varna Hindu society-Brahmins,Kshatriyas, Vaishya and Shudras are four tier varna system of Hindus, Antyajs are considered ati shudra or untouchable castes among Shudras.
Madhav Kondvalikar referred to many Marathi classics, which he has been reading through all his sufferings. In fact books are his only solace during this period and he spends most of his salary on books, annoying his parents to no end, as he is not giving any financial support to family, which they expect from him.
Writer has claimed it to be first Dalit autobiography of Marathi, which I doubt. Marathi Dalit literary scholars can shed some light on it. On the whole it is an important dalit narrative of Marathi literature; writer rightly got many literary honours.