‘The legend of Ramulamma’ (by Prof Vithal Rajan)is one of the best works I have ever read- possibly the best.
It is a work of pure brilliance about Ramulamma, an old Dalit dai (mid-wife) who has her own ingenious, quiet and subtle ways of dealing with the social realities of caste, untouchability, oppression and exploitation that so characterize rural India.
It brings out a refreshingly new way of looking at exploitation and oppression. It is neither the remedial perspective of a sympathetic, charitable outsider from above who believes in uplifting ‘harijans’ by providing them with a few facilities and civilizing (or cleaning) ‘them’ to render them touchable, or a radical, revolutionary ‘dalit’ perspective that believes in violently opposing and annihilating caste.
It is the perspective from below, where the person below does not see herself as down-trodden, but uses her intelligence and her wits to bring justice to her people in her own small, simple ways without making a show of it.
Besides being a brilliant read, capturing one’s attention and interest from cover to cover, it leaves one with a sense of hope, assuring one that situations are never hopeless and need not always be battled head on, but can be dealt with, with subtlety and finesse.