Contemporary Dalit narrative is marked by struggles -- struggles for identity, struggles for rights, struggles for equality and struggles for inclusion. However, it was a different kind of battle that laid path for all these articulations of emancipation.
It was fought by those Dalit forefathers, who sensed the import of educating their offspring, even if it meant pushing them into the unremittingly hostile waters that higher education had been.
Yelikati Baliah, the protagonist of the narrative ‘My Father Baliah' which was released here on Thursday, was one such unsung hero. An autobiographical memoir penned by his son and retired principal Y.B.Satyanarayana, the book traces through the arduous journey undertaken by four generations of Dalits towards progress.
“I look upon it as a source book for the implementation of Right to Education,” declared the chief guest and retired IAS officer K.R. Venugopal, and strongly prescribed the book for those debating on the standards to be set in governance for education, health, nutrition, and other such developmental parameters.
Describing the theme of ‘Education' as a golden thread that runs through the book, he said it was an ‘epic story of a Dalit family'. Dr. Ambedkar is now an iconic figure for all the Dalit struggles, but deserving rich tributes were those forefathers who strove for education in anticipation of Ambedkars, Mr. Venugopal asserted.
Author and president of Centre for Dalit Studies Dr. Satyanarayana said the book speaks of cultural, economical and social changes marking the history of Dalits through four generations, with the last generation producing three doctorates in a single family.
He attributed the progress amply to his father, sister and elder brothers.
Journalist Mallepally Lakshmaiah who presided over the event said it was the first time an international publisher such as Harper Collins came forward to publish the work of a Telugu writer. The book was released by prominent journalist and editor of HMTV K. Ramachandra Murthy.