Overview for The Outcaste: Akkarmashi
The Outcast is the emotionally violent and noisy autobiography of a half-caste growing up in the Mahar community, and the anguish he suffers from not belonging fully to it. An acknowledged masterpiece in the Mahar dialect (of Maharashtra), this first-person narrative is the numbing account of the humiliation of a community at the hands of an unthinking privileged class. Sharan, the protagonist, is haunted by the question of his fractured identity, 'Am I an upper caste or an untouchable?' A reflection of the darker side of Indian society, this book is a bitter critique of the lack of compassion that the lower castes have endured for centuries. Silenced for generations of prejudice and oppression, Dalits found expression in a wave of writing which exploded in poetry, fiction and autobiography, providing critical insights on the question of their identity. A true milestone that publicized the Dalit cause, the Marathi original went through four editions. This translation is of the first edition, which eschewed standard Marathi. It will appeal to students and general readers interested in regional Indian literature.