The Kennedy Center

Faustina Bama



Biography

Faustina Bama is among the most important Dalit voices in contemporary Indian literature. Her first published work, Karukku (1992) was a major milestone; for the first time in the history of Tamil literature a Dalit woman was speaking in her own voice about the experience of being Dalit.  The first text to explore the connections between caste, religion, and Tamil identity Karukku drew a range of reactions from Tamil literary circles.  It received accolades as well as caustic criticism, was dismissed as mere reportage as well as hailed as a literary landmark.  Her Sangati (1994) deals with the strategies of resistance of Dalit women, and Kisumbukkaran (1996) presents vignettes of the lives of Dalit men and women.  Her latest novel, Vanmam, was published in 2010. Bama draws her energy from the Dalit movements in Tamil Nadu and her writing is a source of strength of the growing Dalit consciousness.
Faustina Bama