Dalit literature helped me find my voice, says Pa. Ranjith

A two-day Dalit Literary Gathering, organized as part of the Dalit History Month celebration, started Friday at World Tamil Sangam.

The literary encounter was conceptualized by Neelam Cultural Centre, an organization led by director and producer Pa. Ranjith and attended by various writers and artists. Marathi Dalit writer Sharankumar Limbale and writer Stalin Rajangam chaired the event which discussed Dalit literature, culture and art forms.

For the first time, Dalit History Month was widely observed in the state in line with Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar’s birthday month, Stalin said.

“Reading Dalit literature shaped me as a person to find my voice. Interestingly, I was also able to connect with African literature. said Mr. Ranjith.

Writer Tamizhprabha said Dalit life is nothing without art forms, and that many stories he heard as a child were steeped in a caste-based climax.

Azhagiya Periyavan spoke on the impact of Babasaheb Ambedkar’s centenary on Tamil literature, followed by a panel discussion on the classification of Dalit literature as questionable.

Two other round tables took place later in the day on the relationship between Dalits and Indian cinema.

A book, “Makkalisai Mamani” by the team of Margazhiyil Makkalisai was published by artist Chandru and received by scholar Raj Gowthaman.

Another book, “Panpattin Palakani” written by Mr. Stalin was published by Mr. Ranjith and received by A. Muthukrishnan.

A book corner on site housed books on Dalit literature in Tamil and English.

Throughout the month, various festivals such as a three-day film festival, a music festival by Casteless Collective, a Thamma theater festival and a photo exhibition in Chennai and Pondicherry have been scheduled.

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