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Fear and Other Stories

Fear and Other Stories

Dalpat Chauhan
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Chauhan’s writing is resistance literature. It echoes the harrowing screams of a people long suppressed.

Fear and Other Stories is a reminder of the inherent dangers of the Dalit life, a life subjected to unimaginable violence and terror even in its most mundane moments. In this collection of short stories, veteran Gujarati writer Dalpat Chauhan narrates these lived experiences of exasperation and anger with startling vividity. His characters chronicle a deep history of resistance, interrogating historical, mythological and literary legends, foregrounding the perspectives of the disenfranchised.

Chauhan deftly wields his prose to counter dominant narratives, pointing out gaps and voicing the silences within. In ?The Payback, for a change, we see famished savarnas begging Dalit families for food that they scorn otherwise. The eponymous Fear follows the heroic but doomed resistance of Dalit youths fighting against savarna men with the ‘right’ to enter their homes and molest women inside. And the allegorical Cold Blood features a doctor who tries to leave behind his identity with his surname, only to be reminded of it when the savarnas accept his blood, but not water from his hands.

Hemang Ashwinkumar’s nimble translation introduces the English reader to Chauhan’s heart-wrenching stories while unmasking a rural Gujarat unrecognizable from its supposedly vibrant idylls. His introduction to the book not just contextualises Chauhan’s work, but is also a touching and thought-provoking commentary on the larger canvas of Dalit literature.

Imprint: India Hamish Hamilton

Published: Apr/2023

ISBN: 9780670096435

Length : 220 Pages

MRP : ₹499.00

Fear and Other Stories

Dalpat Chauhan

Chauhan’s writing is resistance literature. It echoes the harrowing screams of a people long suppressed.

Fear and Other Stories is a reminder of the inherent dangers of the Dalit life, a life subjected to unimaginable violence and terror even in its most mundane moments. In this collection of short stories, veteran Gujarati writer Dalpat Chauhan narrates these lived experiences of exasperation and anger with startling vividity. His characters chronicle a deep history of resistance, interrogating historical, mythological and literary legends, foregrounding the perspectives of the disenfranchised.

Chauhan deftly wields his prose to counter dominant narratives, pointing out gaps and voicing the silences within. In ?The Payback, for a change, we see famished savarnas begging Dalit families for food that they scorn otherwise. The eponymous Fear follows the heroic but doomed resistance of Dalit youths fighting against savarna men with the ‘right’ to enter their homes and molest women inside. And the allegorical Cold Blood features a doctor who tries to leave behind his identity with his surname, only to be reminded of it when the savarnas accept his blood, but not water from his hands.

Hemang Ashwinkumar’s nimble translation introduces the English reader to Chauhan’s heart-wrenching stories while unmasking a rural Gujarat unrecognizable from its supposedly vibrant idylls. His introduction to the book not just contextualises Chauhan’s work, but is also a touching and thought-provoking commentary on the larger canvas of Dalit literature.

Buying Options
Paperback / Hardback

Dalpat Chauhan

Dalpat Chauhan is a veteran Gujarati Dalit writer waiting to be discovered by the non-Gujarati readership, academia and world literary cultures. Chauhan's work unfolds at the intersection of social and literary movements that the Dalits of Gujarat waged in 1970s and 80s. While his activism led him to actively associate with the Gujarat Dalit Panthers (1974) and Dalit Sangharsh Sangh (1982), the radical little magazines like Kalo Suraj (The Black Sun), Akrosh (Outrage) and Sarvanam (Pronoun) that he edited served to pioneer the Dalit Literary Movement in Gujarati. Between 1982 and 1985 when Gujarat burned with anti-reservation riots, Chauhan brought out anthologies of Dalit Poetry, little magazines and investigative booklets that condemned atrocities on Dalits and questioned Government reports on them. Due to his untiring literary activism, Gujarati Dalit literature could chalk out a radical literary manifesto in 1987, sealing the boundaries of its definition and functions for future generations of Dalit writers.

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