Father May Be an Elephant and Mother Only a Small Basket, But…
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    Father May Be an Elephant and Mother Only a Small Basket, But… (English, Hardcover, Gogu Shyamala)

    Father May Be an Elephant and Mother Only a Small Basket, But…  (English, Hardcover, Gogu Shyamala)

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    Features
    • Language: English
    • Binding: Hardcover
    • Publisher: Navayana Publishing
    • ISBN: 9788189059514, 8189059513
    • Edition: 2012
    • Pages: 263
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    Description
    Gogu Shyamala’s stories dissolve borders as they work their magic on orthodox forms of realism, psychic allegory and political fable. Whether she is describing the setting sun or the way people are gathered at a village council like ‘thickly strewn grain on the threshing floor’, the varied rhythms of a dalit drum or a young woman astride her favorite buffalo, Shyamala walks us through a world that is at once particular and small, and simultaneously universal.

    Set in the madiga quarter of a Telangana village, the stories spotlight different settings, events and experiences, and offer new propositions on how to see, think and be touched by life in that world. There is a laugh lurking around every other corner as the narrative picks an adroit step past the grandiose authority of earlier versions of such places and their people—romantic, gandhian, administrative—and the idiom in which they spoke. These stories overturn the usual agendas of exit—from the village, from madiga culture, from these little communities—to hold this life up as one of promise for everyone.

    With her intensely beautiful and sharply political writing, Shyamala makes a clean break with the tales of oppression and misery decreed the true subject of dalit writing.

    I am tempted to suggest that we think of Shyamala’s stories as prototypes of a compact new genre that might be called, not a short, but a little story. The ‘little’ here would of course recall the intrepid independence of the little magazines that have nourished the Telugu reading public since the 1960s; it would make reference to Walter Benjamin’s famous essay, “A little history of photography”, that cuts deep to track over a quick few pages the photographic element’s degeneration from the enchanted portraiture of its early years into a realist endorsement of middle class life; and it would point to the world of the little, subaltern traditions, as against that of the great traditions. —Susie Tharu, co-editor of the two-volume Women Writing in India and No Alphabet in Sight: New Dalit Writing from South India

    About the author
    Gogu Shyamala is a senior fellow at the Anveshi Research Centre for Women, Hyderabad. She has edited Nallappoddu: Dalitha Sthreela Sahithyam 1921–2002 (Black Dawn: Dalit Women’s Writings, 1921–2002). This was followed by Nallaregatisallu: Madiga Madiga Upakulala Aadolla Kathalu (Furrows in Black Soil: The Stories of Madiga and Madiga Subcaste Women) in 2006. In 2011, she published a biography of one of Telangana’s leading dalit politicians, T.N. Sadalakshmi (Nene Balaanni, T.N. Sadalakshmi Bathuku Katha), based on a series of interviews with her (forthcoming from Navayana in 2012 as The Last Place for a Dalit Woman: The Life of T.N. Sadalakshmi, translated by Gita Ramaswamy). This is her first collection of stories translated from Telugu.

    Translators
    Diia Rajan; Sashi Kumar; A. Suneetha; N. Manohar Reddy; R. Srivatsan; Gita Ramaswamy; Uma Bhrugubanda; P. Pavana; Duggirala Vasanta
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    Specifications
    Book Details
    • Publication Year
      • 2012
    Contributors
    • Author
      • Gogu Shyamala
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    Father May Be an Elephant and Mother Only a Small Basket, But…
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