‘This is an inspiring book by an inspiring man and deserves to be widely read…A must-read for all those interested in Dalit politics and caste change.’—Hugo Gorringe, author of Untouchable Citizens Eknath Awad was a rare Dalit Mang activist from the Marathwada region of Maharastra, who fought for the rights of all underprivileged communities, irrespective of their caste or religion. In his compelling autobiography, Awad describes his rage against the humiliation of the Mangs by the upper castes; and his struggle to overcome caste prejudices as well as extreme poverty to get an education. He revisits his heady days of activism: rejecting caste-based labour and religious practices by cutting the Potraj’s dreadlocks; joining the Dalit Panthers; being at the forefront of the Land Rights Movement; battling to rename Marathwada University after Dr Ambedkar; and working with an NGO in Thane that helped free Adivasis from bonded labour. He writes about his decision to return to Marathwada, where he continued to fight against caste-based discrimination until his death. Awad doesn’t shy away from admitting his shortcomings, such as his tendency to resort to violence to settle disputes. He also recounts the casteism he faced from other Mangs, and his pain and disillusionment after some of them attempted to kill him. Originally published in Marathi as Jag Badal Ghaluni Ghaav, Jerry Pinto’s remarkable translation makes this inspiring book available in English for the first time.
All rights available excluding South Asia
• The autobiography of a Dalit Mang activist, who was at the forefront of the Dalit and Adivasi struggle in Maharashtra from the 1970s until 2015
• Eknath Awad is well-known in Maharashtra and the book will be of interest to a large and varied audience
• Awad provides honest and straightforward accounts of the rampant caste-based discrimination and violence as well as his methods of tackling them
• Jerry Pinto’s earlier translations from Marathi have done well in the market
• Will also be of interest to universities with courses on Dalit studies, human rights and social work
‘This autobiography presents the struggle of an unusual individual against the most oppressive features of our society—exclusion and discrimination, and violence—the quality of which is shockingly cruel and inhumane. [It] will serve as a perennial source of inspiration to exploited Dalits everywhere.’— Sukhdeo Thorat, Professor Emeritus, Centre for the Study of Regional Development
Eknath Awad (1956–2015) was a prominent Dalit activist from Maharashtra. He was an active member of the Dalit Panthers and later joined the Vidhayak Sansad in 1981, where he worked to organize the Adivasi groups in Thane. He joined CASA in 1983 and helped established programmes against caste-based practices, and for literacy and women empowerment. He founded the Rural Development Centre in 1985 and the Maanavi Haq Abhiyaan in 1990. One of India’s finest and most celebrated writers, Jerry Pinto is also an acclaimed translator. He has translated Daya Pawar’s autobiography, Baluta; the memoirs I Want to Destroy Myself (Mala Udhvasta Vhachay) by Malika Amar Shaikh, and I, the Salt Doll (Mee Mithaachi Baahuli) by Vandana Mishra; Baburao Bagul’s short-story collection When I Hid My Caste (Jevha Mee Jaat Chorli Hoti); and the novels Cobalt Blue by Sachin Kundalkar and Half-Open Windows (Khidkya Ardhya Ughadya) by Ganesh Matkari. Jerry Pinto is the recipient of, among other honours, the Sahitya Akademi Award and Yale University’s Windham-Campbell Prize.
Originally published as Jag Badal Ghaaluni Ghaav in Marathi by Samakaleen Prakashan in 2012
Published in English by Speaking Tiger in paperback 2018