When I Hid My Caste

Stories

Baburao Bagul

Translated by Jerry Pinto

SKU

‘Jevha Mi Jaat Chorli Hoti (When I Hid My Caste) was hailed as “the epic of Dalits”. These brilliant stories gave Dalits the strength to face the painful and humiliating experiences of their wretched lives…’ 

— K Satyanarayana and Susie Tharu

LWB621

‘Jevha Mi Jaat Chorli Hoti (When I Hid My Caste) was hailed as “the epic of Dalits”. These brilliant stories gave Dalits the strength to face the painful and humiliating experiences of their wretched lives…’ 

— K Satyanarayana and Susie Tharu

Baburao Bagul’s debut collection of short stories, Jevha Mi Jaat Chorli Hoti (1963), revolutionized Dalit literature, bringing to it raw energy and a radical realism—a refusal to understate or dress up gritty, brutal reality.

Through the lives of people on the margins, Bagul exposed the pain, horror and rage of the Dalit experience. The unnamed young protagonist of the title story risks his life and job, and conceals his caste from his fellow workers in the hope of bringing about social change. Damu, the village Mahar, demands the right to perform a religious masque—a preserve of the upper castes—thus disrupting the village order. Jaichand Rathod revolts against his parents’ wishes and refuses to take up the caste-enforced task of manual scavenging. Years of repressed maternal love begins to resurface when, in the face of death, Banoo calls out to her estranged son. And behind Savitri’s desire for revenge lies the gruesome pain she suffered at the hands of her husband.

Utterly unsparing in its depiction of the vicious and inhumane centuries-old caste system, this landmark book is now finally available in English, in a brilliant new translation by the award-winning author and translator Jerry Pinto.

Baburao Bagul

Baburao Bagul (1930–2008) was born in the Nashik district of Maharashtra. A short-story writer, poet and essayist, he is regarded as a pioneer of modern Marathi and Dalit literature. He was among the leading lights of the radical Dalit Panthers group, together with Namdeo Dhasal and Arun Kamble. His best known works, in addition to Jevha Mi Jaat Chorli Hoti, are Maran Swasta Hot Ahe, Sud and Ambedkar Bharat.

Jerry Pinto

Jerry Pinto is the author of the novels Murder in Mahim (2017) and Em and the Big Hoom (2012; winner of the Hindu Prize and the Crossword Book Award), and the non-fiction book Helen: The Life and Times of an H-Bomb (2006; winner of the National Award for the Best Book on Cinema). His other books include Asylum and Other Poems, Surviving Women, A Bear for Felicia, Monster Garden, When Crows Are White and, as editor, A Book of Light: When a Loved One Has a Different Mind, Reflected in Water: Writings on Goa, The Greatest Show on Earth: Writings on Bollywood, Bombay, Meri Jaan: Writings on Mumbai (with Naresh Fernandes) and Confronting Love: Poems (with Arundhathi Subramaniam). He has also translated (from Marathi) Daya Pawar’s classic autobiography Baluta, and the memoirs I Want to Destroy Myself (Mala Udhvasta Vhachay) by Malika Amar Shaikh and I, the Salt Doll (Mee Mithaachi Baahuli) by Vandana Mishra.

Jerry Pinto also teaches journalism at the Sophia Institute of Social Communications Media in Mumbai and is on the board of directors of Meljol, which works in the sphere of child rights.

In 2016, Jerry Pinto was awarded the Windham-Campbell Prize and the Sahitya Akademi Award.