A call for mutual change and progress: An interview with Aravind Malagatti and Dharani Devi Malagatti

Surya Simon

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This interview with Dr Aravind Malagatti and Dr Dharani Devi Malagatti, conducted in Mysore, India, in April 2019, was one of several interviews I conducted for my doctoral thesis that examines caste system and Dalit struggles in the context of India. Dr Aravind Malagatti has contributed more than sixty books to Kannada literature, out of which his autobiography, Government Brahmana published in 1994 is considered the first Dalit autobiography in Kannada (Government Brahmana, 2007). It was translated and published in English in 2007, and Dr Dharani Devi Malagatti is one of the three translators who translated the work. In this interview, Government Brahmana is discussed as a springboard to understand the social, economic, religious, political and legal aspects of caste and its practices in modern India. Dr Aravind Malagatti provides anecdotes to explain the significance of Dalit consciousness, what it entails and who can possess it. His responses are powerful statements calling for mutual change and progress for Dalits and non-Dalits. Dr Dharani Devi Malagatti talks about the challenges of translating the radical aesthetics of Dalit personal narratives as well as the scope and possibilities offered through translation. The interview explores the undertones of patriotism in Dalit identity, and the synthesis of individual and collective consciousness.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)723-735
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Commonwealth Literature
Issue number3
Early online date18 Nov 2021
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2023


  • Ambedkar
  • Aravind Malagatti
  • Dalit
  • Dalit consciousness
  • Dharani Devi Malagatti
  • Government Brahmana
  • autobiography
  • caste
  • translation

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