Sheoraj Singh Bechain’s short stories are infused with Dalit consciousness and struggle

Mobilization based on Varna and caste has pushed Dalits out of the social, political, economic and educational realms. Sheoraj Singh Bechain’s short stories depict the mobilization against the protagonists of the Varnashrama and caste system, writes Suresh Kumar

There can be little doubt that the caste system has contributed significantly to creating a tiny elite and to marginalizing the majority. The caste system and its implications for society have found expression in literature. Dalit Literature contends that even in the 21st century, the upper castes have not shed casteism. The Dalit litterateurs have used every intellectual tool in their possession to expose the monstrosities of the caste system. However, the question of caste was missing from the “Nai Kahani” movement, which was focused on the aspirations, the desires and the pains of the middle class. The credit for social mobilization against the caste system must largely go to Dalit Literature. This series dwells on short stories by leading Dalit writers which explore social discrimination and a casteist mindset. The first part looked at Om Prakash Valmiki’s short stories and the second at Mohandas Naimishray’s. Here Suresh Kumar turns his attention to Sheoraj Singh Bechain’s short stories:      

The works of author Sheoraj Singh “Bechain” are milestones in Hindi Dalit literature. At the heart of his short stories is the struggle of the Dalits against exploitation, poverty, lack of education, casteism and discrimination. Starting in the 1990s, Bechain, through his writings, has been pinpointing the exploitative forces that have deprived the Dalits of their social rights and pushed them to the margins. Bharose Ki Bahan (2010) and Meri Priya Kahaniyan (2019) are among his anthologies of short stories. Both these collections stand out for their advocacy of Dalit rights and entitlements.

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