Category Archives: Book Review

Book Review of The Autobiography of A Sex worker by Nalini Jameela


You can get The Autobiography of A Sex worker from Flipkart 

I read ‘The Autobiography of A Sex worker’ book written by Nalini Jameela few months back. Though I don’t agree with her where she is trying to justify sex-work like just as another work. It’s a good read to understand sex-trade and sex-slavery in India.

the-autobiography-of-a-sex-worker-400x400-imadz66qu9mevfrxFiery, outspoken and often wickedly funny, this candid account of one woman’s life as a sex worker in Kerala, India became a bestseller when it was first published in Malayalam. Nalini Jameela, who takes her name from both Hindu and Muslim traditions, worked as a child in the clay mines. She has been a wife, mother successful businesswoman and social activist-as well as a sex worker-at different stages in her life. This is Nalini Jameela’s story, told in her inimitably honest and down-to-earth style, of her search for dignity, empowerment and freedom on her own terms. (Review from GoodRead)

Read also – India and Prostitution 

You can get The Autobiography of A Sex worker from Flipkart 

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Filed under Book Review, Books, Dalit, Dalit Woman, Dr B R Ambedkar

Must Read Book – Hatred in the belly: Politics behind the appropriation of Dr Ambedkar’s writings


Dear friends, we’re happy to announce the release of our first book, Hatred in the belly: Politics behind the appropriation of Dr Ambedkar’s writings, published by The Shared Mirror Publishing House. It is available on amazon here.

Hatred in the belly, as you know, is a compilation of the debates triggered by the attempted appropriation of Babasaheb’s Annihilation of Caste, which were featured on Round Table India.

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Hatred in the Belly is a Telugu phrase (kaDupulO kasi) taken from a speech delivered by poet Jupaka Subhadra, in Hyderabad, on the appropriation of Babasaheb Ambedkar’s Annihilation of Caste. The speech, included in this volume, aptly summarises the deep-seated hostility of Brahminic India towards the Dalit Bahujan. Similarly, the other essays and speeches collected in this volume, written and delivered by a number of writers, academics, students, and activists (referred to as the Ambedkar Age Collective in this book), unfurl before you a critical tapestry dissecting the hegemonic brahminic discourse which works towards delegitimizing the radical legacy of Amebdkarite thought. The most stark example of these efforts, from the ‘left’ and the ‘right’ of the Indian political spectrum, is the Navayana edition of Babasaheb’s AoC with an ‘introduction’ by Arundhati Roy. The works collected here emerged as spontaneous reactions to the Roy-Navayana project from multiple locations and in multiple languages. The varied interventions, which began online, and the discursive terrains it opened up offer us a glimpse of the ways through which the marginalised resist continued attempts made at hegemonising their knowledge and lives by the brahminic oppressors irrespective of their political leanings. Authors include: Anu Ramdas, Kuffir, Gurinder Azad, Bojja Tharakam Adv. Dr. Suresh Mane, Anoop Kumar, U. Sambashiva Rao, Shakyamuni, Dr Sangeeta Pawar, Sunny Kapicadu, O.K. Santhosh, Dr B. Ravichandran, Dalit Camera: Through Un-Touchable Eyes, Karthik Navayan, Joopaka Subhadra Dr. K Satyanarayana, Vaibhav Wasnik, Nilesh Kumar, Asha Kowtal, Nidhin Shobhana, Gee Imaan Semmalar, Syam Sundar, Murali Shanmugavelan, Praveena Thaali, Dr Karthick RM, Huma Dar, Joby Mathew, James Michael, Akshay Pathak, Vinay Bhat, Yogesh Maitreya, Thongam Bipin, K K Baburaj, Sruthi Herbert, Gaurav Somwanshi, Kadhiravan, Rahul Gaikwad, Joe D’Cruz

Product details

Paperback: 263 pages
Publisher: The Shared Mirror Publishing House; First Edition edition (2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 8192993000
ISBN-13: 978-8192993003

Buy the book on Amazon

Source – Round Table India

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15 books every Dalit must read


Books written by Baba Saheb Ambedkar are must read for every Dalit-Bahujan. You can download those books from here. Apart from these books, here is the list of few more books, which every Dalit must read.

1. Kanshiram – Leader of the Dalits (English) by Narayan Badri

To buy it from Flipkart, click here.

2. Behenji : A Political Biography of Mayawati (English) by Ajoy Bose

To buy it from Flipkart, click here.

3. Why I am not a Hindu (English) by Kancha Ilaiah

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4. Buffalo Nationalism (English) by Kancha Ilaiah

To buy it from Flipkart, click here.

5. Ambedkar : Towards an Enlightened India (English) by Gail Omvedt

To buy it from Flipkart, click here.

6. Dr Ambedkar And Untouchability : Analysing And Fighting Caste (English) by Christophe Jaffrelot

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7. Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar (English) by Dhananjay Kheer

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8. The Essential Writings of B. R. Ambedkar (English) by Rodrigues Valerian 

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9. Understanding Caste: From Buddha to Ambedkar and Beyond (English) by Gail Omvedt

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10. Dalit Visions (English) by  Gail Omvedt

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11. Buddhism in India Challenging : Brahmanism and Caste : Challenging Brahmanism and Caste (English) by  Gail Omvedt

To buy it from Flipkart, click here.

12. Ambedkar : Awakening Indias Social Conscience (English) by Narendra Jadhav

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13. India’s Silent Revolution (English) by Christophe Jaffrelot

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14. Defying the Odds : The Rise of Dalit Entrepreneurs (English) by Chandra Bhan Prasad ,Devesh Kapur , D. Shyam Babu

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15. Civility Against Caste : Dalit Politics and Citizenship in Western India (English) by Christophe Jaffrelot

To buy it from Flipkart, click here.

Do you have any other good book in mind? Please let us know in the comments.

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Book Review of “A Forgotten Liberator : The Life and Struggle of Savitribai Phule”


“A Forgotten Liberator : The Life and Struggle of Savitribai Phule”, is the first endeavour in English to spotlight upon one of the supreme names who fought against the totalitarianism of caste and other social evils in India. The book brought out by “Mountain Peak Publishers” on the life of Savitribai Phule (1831-1897) is a collection of essays written by six authors, those account the life struggle of marginalized and lower class women.

Read also – Mahatma Jotiba Phule and Savitribai Phule’s contribution towards women empowerment

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ISBN 978-81-906277-0-2, pp 95, price Rs.200/-

In times when even the shadow of untouchables were considered impure, when the people were unwilling to offer water to thirsty untouchables, Savitribai Phule and Mahatma Jotiba Phule shared their their house with them. It was a challenge thrown at the Brahmins to change their mindset towards untouchables. But even after almost 200 years, Dalits (untouchables) are still struggling for water rights.

In the essay “The Stuff Legends are made of” Cynthia Stephen writes “The young couple faced severe opposition from almost all sections. Savitribai was subject to intense harassment everyday as she walked to the school. Stones, mud and dirt were flung at her as she passed”.

Three letters written by Savitribai Phule to Mahatma Jotiba Phule are included in the anthology. From the letters it becomes evident that Savitribai Phule had great respect for her husband and had knowledge of all spheres of life and adept in handling difficult situations.

Sunil Sardar and Victor Paul present translations of Savitribai Phule’s five poems written in Marathi in the essay titled “Pioneering Engaged Writing”. Savitribai Phule was the first Dalit women, in-fact the first women whose poems drew attention in the British Empire. Savitribai Phule was the mother of modern poetry stressing necessity of English and education through her poems.

Read also – ‘First Lady’ Teacher of India: Savitribai Phule

The volume also contains a letter written by a eleven year old girl, Muktabai studying in Phule’s school under the chapter ‘Grief of the Mangs and Mahars’. The content of this letter is so strong for anyone to believe that this was written by a eleven year old girl. This shows the level of education and upbringing those children were getting in Phule’s school.

During the famines of 1876 – 1898, Savitribai Phule worked courageously with her husband and suggested many new ways to overcome the difficult times.  They started distributing free food at many locations. She died while she was nursing a plague – affected child — she got infected while serving the affected people. Apart from the exceptionally narrated essays of all six authors there are pictures and a list of important days in the life of Savitribai Phule, which give a glimpse into the life of the great liberator.

Check also – Few poems by Savitribai Phule

Indian women are not aware of the greatness of Savitribai Phule, who dared to purse the profession of teaching in the ‘Dark Age’. She dared to speak against the unpardonable boundaries imposed on women in the Indian society, for which today’s women should be grateful to her.  The book is one of its kinds and a must read for all those who believe in human rights and by those women organisations who speak a lot for women empowerment and feminism!

Braj Ranjan Mani writes:

“Savitribai Phule (1831-97), struggled and suffered with her revolutionary husband in an equal measure, but remains obscured due to casteist and sexist negligence. Apart from her identity as Jotirao Phule’s wife, she is little known even in academia. Modern India’s first woman teacher, a radical exponent of mass and female education, a champion of women’s liberation, a pioneer of engaged poetry, a courageous mass leader who took on the forces of caste and patriarchy certainly had her independent identity and contribution. It is indeed a measure of the ruthlessness of elite-controlled knowledge-production that a figure as important as Savitribai Phule fails to find any mention in the history of modernIndia. Her life and struggle deserves to be appreciated by a wider spectrum, and made known to non-Marathi people as well.”

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“I, Phoolan Devi – The autobiography of India’s Bandit Queen”


Get your copy of I, Phoolan Devi – The autobiography of India’s Bandit Queen from here.

I wanted to prove that we all have our honour, whatever our origins, our caste, the colour of our skin or our sex. — Phoolan Devi

I was about sixteen years old the day Phoolan Devi was shot dead at Delhi. I don’t remember whether I know anything about her at that time, all I remember is that I had heard her name before. Maybe, I had read about her somewhere or watched her on television or my father had talked about her. So, the day she died I felt like low-caste people of India lost someone important. That’s all what I remember about the day, yes dated 25th July, 2001 the day Phoolan Devi was shot.

Days rolled and years passed when few days back I got my hands on the book named “I, Phoolan Devi – The autobiography of India’s Bandit Queen”. As, I was turning pages while reading the book my heart sank many times and every time same question came to my mind why us? Why low-caste people have to suffer in their own homeland, why? Is it because, low-caste people were born under the dark stars? When will we be able to live peacefully without being assaulted? (After reading the book, I also watched the movie named “Bandit Queen” by Shekhar Kapoor and I must admit that the movie shows just a fraction of the sufferings Phoolan Devi endured and what I hate the most about the Shekhar Kapoor and his movie is that he didn’t even dare to meet Phoolan Devi once for the movie!) I was born brought up in a village and I’ve witnessed the pain and suffering women have to undergo. While reading the book, I decided that I’ll review-cum-summary the book as a tribute to the Phoolan Devi for her courage and suffering in the hands of so called upper caste people.

Book, “I, Phoolan Devi – The autobiography of India’s Bandit Queen” is a true story of Phoolan Devi, as narrated to French authors Marie-Therese Cuny and Paul Rambali. Phoolan Devi was born into a family of Mallahs, considered lower caste, in the village named Ghura Ka Purwa (Uttar Pradesh). This is a story of a woman who stood against the brutality of Thakurs and woman who decided not to be docile Indian women. Phoolan Devi’s mother always encouraged her not to accept injustice. In Phoolan Devi’s own words:

“The poor must bow down and touch the feet of the rich. The poor eat a few grains of millet while the rich feast on mangoes. The pain of hunger in the belly of the poor produces fear and submission. I tried to submit, as my father said I should, but I was unable. I was like my mother. There was too much anger in me.” 

Even at the tender age of ten, she took fight with her cousin, Mayadin, who had grabbed her father’s land; she forced the Panchayat to reopen the land case. She fought with Mayadin when he tried to cut Neem tree, which belonged to her family. At the age of 10, she could hold snakes without fear. She was a brave fighter from the start, never accepted the degradation and kept dignity above everything. There were times when her family had nothing to eat and her mother cursed for giving birth to girls. Mallahs as other lower castes were expected to do all kind of worst jobs such as herding the Thakurs’ animals, cut grass for those animals, collect dung, massage Thakurian’s head, and the worst was they were not allowed to ask anything in return. If, anyone refused to do work for Thakurs, they were beaten; even Phoolan was beaten more than once for refusing to do menial chores for Thakurs.

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