Memoirs of a Dalit Communist
R.B. More (1903–1972) was a leader in Babasaheb Ambedkar’s movement, a trade unionist and a member of the Communist Party of India (Marxist). More’s life, narrated in his words and those of his son Satyendra, illuminates the conflict between the promise of Marxist emancipation and the hard reality of the hierarchies of caste. His radicalism challenged both the limits of the politics of caste and the politics of the Left; his was a politics that frontally challenged the rigidities of the caste system and of the class structure. This memoir, written in Marathi, is here published for the first time in English. This is a rare work that brings together family history, political thought, and the social experience of urban workers whose lives are intertwined with the city they built, Bombay.
A translator, biographer and historian/anthropologist help us navigate the layered lives of Dalits in cosmopolitan Bombay, which makes the text more fascinating as a bottom-up account of the tumultuous period before and after India’s independence.
Chinnaiah Jangam, The Wire
This volume, which combines More’s unfinished autobiography with his son Satyendra’s biography of his father, is a much needed corrective. It plugs a gap in the histories of both Dalit politics and Indian communism. Translated from Marathi by Wandana Sonalkar, it has a scholarly introduction by historian Anupama Rao that contextualises More’s life and work against the backdrop of Dalit movements and trade unionism in early 20th century Maharashtra.
G. Sampath, The Hindu
[T]he experiences of a Dalit who stood against caste all his life, even after making an ideological shift to Communism, have been laid out [in this memoir].
Yogesh Maitreya, Firstpost