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Average Reading Time

352 mins

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Book Description

Dalpat Chauhan's first novel Homeland (Malak in Gujarati) is set in rural northern Gujarat in pre-independence India and tells the tale of a community of Dalits who eke out an existence on the margins of an upper castr village. They belong to the Vankar caste and are considered 'Untouchables' by the upper caste villagers. Many of them because of small loans taken by them or their forefathers from the village landlords are 'bonded' for generations to them and have to provide them with free labour. Their women are sexually harassed and at times raped and murdered. Yet these Vankars are attached to their Malak and are traumatised when they are forced to leave it due to the threat of uppar caste reprisal over the relationship between a young Dalit man and upper castemarried woman. Homeland is writtten in what be termed the postcolonial narrative style, with interior monologues, interventions of the past into the present and alternative voices. The language is a judicious mix of Northern Gujarat rural dialect and standard Gujarati. This gives the novel a very authentic and contemporary edge.

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