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Asprishya Ganga and other stories

 | Book Awards 2022 | Translation from Regional Language to English

Asprishya Ganga and other stories ()

What happens to the woman who is loved, used and discarded because of her caste? Will a Vice Chancellor give in to the political pressures of a minister, when both of them are Dalits? What happens to a man destined to live in stench all his life? Whose victory is it – that of the Dalit boy who plays the tappeta or the landlord who wins the election? Does one have the right to decide on another’s life no matter how beholden he is? What is the relationship between sub-castes among Dalits? Will the exploitation of the poor Dalit continue? What is the bond between the bull and the Dalit who tends it? These are only some questions these twelve stories raise. Drawing on the material from his life, Enoch jolts us out of our complacency to ponder over the questions of caste, class and gender; of love, friendship, power games, exploitation and politics. His characters infuse self-confidence and a sense of pride in their work and culture. In their incessant struggle, they strive to survive equally with others. Through the title story, Enoch brings out the relationship between the Ganga, the revered river and the water in the well of the ‘untouchable’.

Full Title: Asprishya Ganga and other stories

Author: Kolakaluri Enoch
Publisher: Ratna Sagar
Translator: Alladi Uma & M. Sridhar
Original Language: Telugu

Award Category: Translation from Regional Language to English
About the Book: 

What happens to the woman who is loved, used and discarded because of her caste? Will a Vice Chancellor give in to the political pressures of a minister, when both of them are Dalits? What happens to a man destined to live in stench all his life? Whose victory is it – that of the Dalit boy who plays the tappeta or the landlord who wins the election? Does one have the right to decide on another’s life no matter how beholden he is? What is the relationship between sub-castes among Dalits? Will the exploitation of the poor Dalit continue? What is the bond between the bull and the Dalit who tends it?

These are only some questions these twelve stories raise. Drawing on the material from his life, Enoch jolts us out of our complacency to ponder over the questions of caste, class and gender; of love, friendship, power games, exploitation and politics. His characters infuse self-confidence and a sense of pride in their work and culture. In their incessant struggle, they strive to survive equally with others. Through the title story, Enoch brings out the relationship between the Ganga, the revered river and the water in the well of the ‘untouchable’.


About the Author: 

Born in 1939 to poor Scheduled Caste parents in Vejendla, Guntur district, Andhra Pradesh, KOLAKALURI ENOCH, a prolific Telugu writer, has contributed more than hundred works as a poet, short story writer, novelist, playwright, critic, researcher and translator. A master craftsman, he writes with clinical precision about the lives of Dalits, women, backward classes, tribals and religious minorities. From his early works like Oorabavi (Village Well), considered a modern classic translated into several Indian languages, to Asprishya Ganga to Ananta Jeevanam, he has written about basic needs like water that affect the lives of Dalits. His works bring to the fore the caste-related pain of the Dalits in its varied manifestations and their struggle to survive. Depicting the lives of Dalits that are intricately connected with those of other castes in Indian society, he lays bare the inherent contradictions which arise from the upper caste dependence and intolerance. Among his significant works are Adi Andhrudu (Poetry), Randhi (Novel), Munivahanudu (Play), Adhunika Sahitya Vimarsa Sutram (Research), Janapadula Sahitya Vimarsa (Criticism) and Awakened Soil (Translation). He has won many prestigious awards including Padma Shri, Moortidevi, Central and State Sahitya Akademi Awards. His works have been translated into English, Hindi, Tamil, Kannada, Malayalam, Punjabi, Manipuri and Oriya. Having taught Telugu for four decades in the University system, he rose to the position of a Vice Chancellor. Most recently, he held the position of Chairman, Andhra Pradesh Sahitya Akademi.


Excerpt: 

Is a man, a woman or a child doomed by the overpowering circumstances if he or she is born a Dalit in a poor, helpless family or a broken family? Need not be. That’s what these gritty stories in Asprishya Ganga and Other Stories by Dalit, academic, writer-critic Kolakaluri Enoch bring home to readers. His special genius in highlighting women’s issues, tussle for power between the mighty and marginalized and dreams of ostracized children growing up in strained circumstances is displayed brilliantly.

The stories in the present volume bristle with miseries of the poorest of the poor and the helpless, whose frustrated struggles may brim over into either violence or into new springs of hope for a new life when a straw of human warmth and support is available as in “Victory”. Most of his battlers never give up hope and love and end up either as survivors or victors. Enoch’s pen needs a large canvas to slowly and steadily build the narrative into a climax by detailing the socio-economic contexts of human figures bound in powerful yet breakable enclosures.


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