Subject

English

Class

CLAT Class 12

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 Multiple Choice QuestionsMultiple Choice Questions

11.

In Manu Joseph’s debut novel Serious Men, the protagonist, Ayyan Mani; is a sly, scheming Dalit-Buddhist who almost gets away with passing off his partially deaf son, Adi, as a prodigy, a genius who can recite the first 1,000 prime numbers. The garb of satire—where almost every character cuts a sorry figure—gives the author the licence to offer one of the most bleak and pessimistic portrayals of urban Dalits. Despite his savage portrayal of Dalit (and female) characters—or perhaps because of it?—Serious Men has won critical appreciation from a cross-section of readers and critics.
At a time when a formidable body of Dalit literature—writing by Dalits about Dalit lives—has created a distinct space for itself, how and why is it that a novel such as Serious Men, with its gleefully skewed portrayal of an angry Dalit man, manages to win such accolades? In American literature—and particularly in the case of African-American authors and character—these issues of representation have been debated for decades. But in India, the sustained refusal to address issues related to caste in everyday life—and the continued and unquestioned predominance of a Brahminical stranglehold over cultural production—have led us to a place where non-Dalit portrayal of Dalits in literature, cinema and art remains the norm.

The journey of modern Dalit literature has been a difficult one. But even though it has not necessarily enjoyed the support of numbers we must engage with what Dalits are writing—not simply for reasons of authenticity, or as a concession to identity politics, but simply because of the aesthetic value of this body of writing, and for the insights it offers into the human condition. In a society that is still largely unwilling to recognize Dalits as equal, rights-bearing human beings, in a society that is inherently indifferent to the everyday violence against Dalits, in a society unwilling to share social and cultural resources equitably with Dalits unless mandated by law (as seen in the anti-reservation discourse), Dalit literature has the potential to humanize non-Dalits and sensitise them to a world into which they have no insight. But before we can understand what Dalit literature is seeking to accomplish, we need first to come to terms with the stranglehold of non-Dalit representations of Dalits.
Rohinton Mistry’s A Fine Balance, published 15 years ago, chronicles the travails of two Dalit characters— uncle Ishvar and nephew Omprakash—who migrate to Bombay and yet cannot escape brutality. While the present of the novel is set at the time of the Emergency, Ishvar’s father Dukhi belongs to the era of the anticolonial nationalist movement. During one of Dukhi’s visits to the town, he chances upon a meeting of the Indian National Congress, where speakers spread the “Mahatma’s message regarding the freedom struggle, the struggle for justice,” and wiping out “the disease of untouchability, ravaging us for centuries, denying dignity to our fellow human beings.” Neither in the 1940s, where the novel’s past is set, nor in the Emergency period of the 1970s—when the minds and bodies Ishvar and Omprakash, are savaged by the state—do we find any mention of a figure like BR Ambedkar or of Dalit movements. In his ‘nationalist’ understanding of modern Indian history, Mistry seems to have not veered too far from the road charted by predecessors like Mulk Raj Anand and Premchand. Sixty years after Premchand, Mistry’s literary imagination seems stuck in the empathy-realism mode, trapping Dalits in abjection. Mistry happily continues the broad stereotype of the Dalit as a passive sufferer, without consciousness of caste politics.
According to the information available in the passage, the writer attributes the prevalence of representation of Dalits by non-Dalits in literature, art and media to:

  • The nationalist understanding of Indian history

  • Marginalization of B.R. Ambedkar from nationalist movement

  • The anti-reservation discourse

  • Brahminical control over cultural production


D.

Brahminical control over cultural production

108 Views

12.

In Manu Joseph’s debut novel Serious Men, the protagonist, Ayyan Mani; is a sly, scheming Dalit-Buddhist who almost gets away with passing off his partially deaf son, Adi, as a prodigy, a genius who can recite the first 1,000 prime numbers. The garb of satire—where almost every character cuts a sorry figure—gives the author the licence to offer one of the most bleak and pessimistic portrayals of urban Dalits. Despite his savage portrayal of Dalit (and female) characters—or perhaps because of it?—Serious Men has won critical appreciation from a cross-section of readers and critics.
At a time when a formidable body of Dalit literature—writing by Dalits about Dalit lives—has created a distinct space for itself, how and why is it that a novel such as Serious Men, with its gleefully skewed portrayal of an angry Dalit man, manages to win such accolades? In American literature—and particularly in the case of African-American authors and character—these issues of representation have been debated for decades. But in India, the sustained refusal to address issues related to caste in everyday life—and the continued and unquestioned predominance of a Brahminical stranglehold over cultural production—have led us to a place where non-Dalit portrayal of Dalits in literature, cinema and art remains the norm.

The journey of modern Dalit literature has been a difficult one. But even though it has not necessarily enjoyed the support of numbers we must engage with what Dalits are writing—not simply for reasons of authenticity, or as a concession to identity politics, but simply because of the aesthetic value of this body of writing, and for the insights it offers into the human condition. In a society that is still largely unwilling to recognize Dalits as equal, rights-bearing human beings, in a society that is inherently indifferent to the everyday violence against Dalits, in a society unwilling to share social and cultural resources equitably with Dalits unless mandated by law (as seen in the anti-reservation discourse), Dalit literature has the potential to humanize non-Dalits and sensitise them to a world into which they have no insight. But before we can understand what Dalit literature is seeking to accomplish, we need first to come to terms with the stranglehold of non-Dalit representations of Dalits.
Rohinton Mistry’s A Fine Balance, published 15 years ago, chronicles the travails of two Dalit characters— uncle Ishvar and nephew Omprakash—who migrate to Bombay and yet cannot escape brutality. While the present of the novel is set at the time of the Emergency, Ishvar’s father Dukhi belongs to the era of the anticolonial nationalist movement. During one of Dukhi’s visits to the town, he chances upon a meeting of the Indian National Congress, where speakers spread the “Mahatma’s message regarding the freedom struggle, the struggle for justice,” and wiping out “the disease of untouchability, ravaging us for centuries, denying dignity to our fellow human beings.” Neither in the 1940s, where the novel’s past is set, nor in the Emergency period of the 1970s—when the minds and bodies Ishvar and Omprakash, are savaged by the state—do we find any mention of a figure like BR Ambedkar or of Dalit movements. In his ‘nationalist’ understanding of modern Indian history, Mistry seems to have not veered too far from the road charted by predecessors like Mulk Raj Anand and Premchand. Sixty years after Premchand, Mistry’s literary imagination seems stuck in the empathy-realism mode, trapping Dalits in abjection. Mistry happily continues the broad stereotype of the Dalit as a passive sufferer, without consciousness of caste politics.
Which of the following statement cannot be inferred from the passage

  • Upper-castes have dominated the instruments of cultural production in Indian society.

  • Indian society is unwilling to recognize Dalits as equal, rights bearing human beings.

  • Dalit writers have carved out a space for writings on Dalit experience and world view

  • The judiciary in India, in its opposition to reservation, has betrayed its unwillingness to acknowledge Dalits as equal bearer of rights


D.

The judiciary in India, in its opposition to reservation, has betrayed its unwillingness to acknowledge Dalits as equal bearer of rights

54 Views

13.

In Manu Joseph’s debut novel Serious Men, the protagonist, Ayyan Mani; is a sly, scheming Dalit-Buddhist who almost gets away with passing off his partially deaf son, Adi, as a prodigy, a genius who can recite the first 1,000 prime numbers. The garb of satire—where almost every character cuts a sorry figure—gives the author the licence to offer one of the most bleak and pessimistic portrayals of urban Dalits. Despite his savage portrayal of Dalit (and female) characters—or perhaps because of it?—Serious Men has won critical appreciation from a cross-section of readers and critics.
At a time when a formidable body of Dalit literature—writing by Dalits about Dalit lives—has created a distinct space for itself, how and why is it that a novel such as Serious Men, with its gleefully skewed portrayal of an angry Dalit man, manages to win such accolades? In American literature—and particularly in the case of African-American authors and character—these issues of representation have been debated for decades. But in India, the sustained refusal to address issues related to caste in everyday life—and the continued and unquestioned predominance of a Brahminical stranglehold over cultural production—have led us to a place where non-Dalit portrayal of Dalits in literature, cinema and art remains the norm.

The journey of modern Dalit literature has been a difficult one. But even though it has not necessarily enjoyed the support of numbers we must engage with what Dalits are writing—not simply for reasons of authenticity, or as a concession to identity politics, but simply because of the aesthetic value of this body of writing, and for the insights it offers into the human condition. In a society that is still largely unwilling to recognize Dalits as equal, rights-bearing human beings, in a society that is inherently indifferent to the everyday violence against Dalits, in a society unwilling to share social and cultural resources equitably with Dalits unless mandated by law (as seen in the anti-reservation discourse), Dalit literature has the potential to humanize non-Dalits and sensitise them to a world into which they have no insight. But before we can understand what Dalit literature is seeking to accomplish, we need first to come to terms with the stranglehold of non-Dalit representations of Dalits.
Rohinton Mistry’s A Fine Balance, published 15 years ago, chronicles the travails of two Dalit characters— uncle Ishvar and nephew Omprakash—who migrate to Bombay and yet cannot escape brutality. While the present of the novel is set at the time of the Emergency, Ishvar’s father Dukhi belongs to the era of the anticolonial nationalist movement. During one of Dukhi’s visits to the town, he chances upon a meeting of the Indian National Congress, where speakers spread the “Mahatma’s message regarding the freedom struggle, the struggle for justice,” and wiping out “the disease of untouchability, ravaging us for centuries, denying dignity to our fellow human beings.” Neither in the 1940s, where the novel’s past is set, nor in the Emergency period of the 1970s—when the minds and bodies Ishvar and Omprakash, are savaged by the state—do we find any mention of a figure like BR Ambedkar or of Dalit movements. In his ‘nationalist’ understanding of modern Indian history, Mistry seems to have not veered too far from the road charted by predecessors like Mulk Raj Anand and Premchand. Sixty years after Premchand, Mistry’s literary imagination seems stuck in the empathy-realism mode, trapping Dalits in abjection. Mistry happily continues the broad stereotype of the Dalit as a passive sufferer, without consciousness of caste politics.
Which of the following is the closest description of the central argument of this passage:

  • Manu Joseph’s novel presents a scathing portrayal of Dalits.

  • Contemporary American literature is very cautious on politically correct representation of minorities.

  • The last two decades have witnessed the rise of a very vibrant Dalit literature.

  • Portrayal of Dalits by non-Dalits merely as passive victims has been the dominant norm in Indian literature, cinema and art


D.

Portrayal of Dalits by non-Dalits merely as passive victims has been the dominant norm in Indian literature, cinema and art

88 Views

14.

In Manu Joseph’s debut novel Serious Men, the protagonist, Ayyan Mani; is a sly, scheming Dalit-Buddhist who almost gets away with passing off his partially deaf son, Adi, as a prodigy, a genius who can recite the first 1,000 prime numbers. The garb of satire—where almost every character cuts a sorry figure—gives the author the licence to offer one of the most bleak and pessimistic portrayals of urban Dalits. Despite his savage portrayal of Dalit (and female) characters—or perhaps because of it?—Serious Men has won critical appreciation from a cross-section of readers and critics.
At a time when a formidable body of Dalit literature—writing by Dalits about Dalit lives—has created a distinct space for itself, how and why is it that a novel such as Serious Men, with its gleefully skewed portrayal of an angry Dalit man, manages to win such accolades? In American literature—and particularly in the case of African-American authors and character—these issues of representation have been debated for decades. But in India, the sustained refusal to address issues related to caste in everyday life—and the continued and unquestioned predominance of a Brahminical stranglehold over cultural production—have led us to a place where non-Dalit portrayal of Dalits in literature, cinema and art remains the norm.

The journey of modern Dalit literature has been a difficult one. But even though it has not necessarily enjoyed the support of numbers we must engage with what Dalits are writing—not simply for reasons of authenticity, or as a concession to identity politics, but simply because of the aesthetic value of this body of writing, and for the insights it offers into the human condition. In a society that is still largely unwilling to recognize Dalits as equal, rights-bearing human beings, in a society that is inherently indifferent to the everyday violence against Dalits, in a society unwilling to share social and cultural resources equitably with Dalits unless mandated by law (as seen in the anti-reservation discourse), Dalit literature has the potential to humanize non-Dalits and sensitise them to a world into which they have no insight. But before we can understand what Dalit literature is seeking to accomplish, we need first to come to terms with the stranglehold of non-Dalit representations of Dalits.
Rohinton Mistry’s A Fine Balance, published 15 years ago, chronicles the travails of two Dalit characters— uncle Ishvar and nephew Omprakash—who migrate to Bombay and yet cannot escape brutality. While the present of the novel is set at the time of the Emergency, Ishvar’s father Dukhi belongs to the era of the anticolonial nationalist movement. During one of Dukhi’s visits to the town, he chances upon a meeting of the Indian National Congress, where speakers spread the “Mahatma’s message regarding the freedom struggle, the struggle for justice,” and wiping out “the disease of untouchability, ravaging us for centuries, denying dignity to our fellow human beings.” Neither in the 1940s, where the novel’s past is set, nor in the Emergency period of the 1970s—when the minds and bodies Ishvar and Omprakash, are savaged by the state—do we find any mention of a figure like BR Ambedkar or of Dalit movements. In his ‘nationalist’ understanding of modern Indian history, Mistry seems to have not veered too far from the road charted by predecessors like Mulk Raj Anand and Premchand. Sixty years after Premchand, Mistry’s literary imagination seems stuck in the empathy-realism mode, trapping Dalits in abjection. Mistry happily continues the broad stereotype of the Dalit as a passive sufferer, without consciousness of caste politics.
The writer of this passage is critical of Rohinton Mistry’s A Fine Balance for the reason that:

  • It is an example of a book of Dalit characters by a Non-Dalit

  • The book suggests that Dalits are nothing more than passive sufferers without any agency

  • The book ignores the everyday violence that Dalits have to confront with

  • It bares the passive literary style of the author, Rohinton Mistry.


B.

The book suggests that Dalits are nothing more than passive sufferers without any agency

67 Views

15.

In Manu Joseph’s debut novel Serious Men, the protagonist, Ayyan Mani; is a sly, scheming Dalit-Buddhist who almost gets away with passing off his partially deaf son, Adi, as a prodigy, a genius who can recite the first 1,000 prime numbers. The garb of satire—where almost every character cuts a sorry figure—gives the author the licence to offer one of the most bleak and pessimistic portrayals of urban Dalits. Despite his savage portrayal of Dalit (and female) characters—or perhaps because of it?—Serious Men has won critical appreciation from a cross-section of readers and critics.
At a time when a formidable body of Dalit literature—writing by Dalits about Dalit lives—has created a distinct space for itself, how and why is it that a novel such as Serious Men, with its gleefully skewed portrayal of an angry Dalit man, manages to win such accolades? In American literature—and particularly in the case of African-American authors and character—these issues of representation have been debated for decades. But in India, the sustained refusal to address issues related to caste in everyday life—and the continued and unquestioned predominance of a Brahminical stranglehold over cultural production—have led us to a place where non-Dalit portrayal of Dalits in literature, cinema and art remains the norm.

The journey of modern Dalit literature has been a difficult one. But even though it has not necessarily enjoyed the support of numbers we must engage with what Dalits are writing—not simply for reasons of authenticity, or as a concession to identity politics, but simply because of the aesthetic value of this body of writing, and for the insights it offers into the human condition. In a society that is still largely unwilling to recognize Dalits as equal, rights-bearing human beings, in a society that is inherently indifferent to the everyday violence against Dalits, in a society unwilling to share social and cultural resources equitably with Dalits unless mandated by law (as seen in the anti-reservation discourse), Dalit literature has the potential to humanize non-Dalits and sensitise them to a world into which they have no insight. But before we can understand what Dalit literature is seeking to accomplish, we need first to come to terms with the stranglehold of non-Dalit representations of Dalits.
Rohinton Mistry’s A Fine Balance, published 15 years ago, chronicles the travails of two Dalit characters— uncle Ishvar and nephew Omprakash—who migrate to Bombay and yet cannot escape brutality. While the present of the novel is set at the time of the Emergency, Ishvar’s father Dukhi belongs to the era of the anticolonial nationalist movement. During one of Dukhi’s visits to the town, he chances upon a meeting of the Indian National Congress, where speakers spread the “Mahatma’s message regarding the freedom struggle, the struggle for justice,” and wiping out “the disease of untouchability, ravaging us for centuries, denying dignity to our fellow human beings.” Neither in the 1940s, where the novel’s past is set, nor in the Emergency period of the 1970s—when the minds and bodies Ishvar and Omprakash, are savaged by the state—do we find any mention of a figure like BR Ambedkar or of Dalit movements. In his ‘nationalist’ understanding of modern Indian history, Mistry seems to have not veered too far from the road charted by predecessors like Mulk Raj Anand and Premchand. Sixty years after Premchand, Mistry’s literary imagination seems stuck in the empathy-realism mode, trapping Dalits in abjection. Mistry happily continues the broad stereotype of the Dalit as a passive sufferer, without consciousness of caste politics.


Which of the following statements is least likely to be inferred from this passage.
  • The author of Serious Men has used the literary device of satire to present an unflattering picture of women characters

  • Issues of representation of minorities have been debated extensively in American literature

  • The writer of this passage believes that engagement with Dalits is necessary only because such engagement affirms the importance of identity politics

  • The writer believes that Rohinton Mistry presented a stereotypical representation of Dalits character in his book


C.

The writer of this passage believes that engagement with Dalits is necessary only because such engagement affirms the importance of identity politics

65 Views

16.

In Manu Joseph’s debut novel Serious Men, the protagonist, Ayyan Mani; is a sly, scheming Dalit-Buddhist who almost gets away with passing off his partially deaf son, Adi, as a prodigy, a genius who can recite the first 1,000 prime numbers. The garb of satire—where almost every character cuts a sorry figure—gives the author the licence to offer one of the most bleak and pessimistic portrayals of urban Dalits. Despite his savage portrayal of Dalit (and female) characters—or perhaps because of it?—Serious Men has won critical appreciation from a cross-section of readers and critics.
At a time when a formidable body of Dalit literature—writing by Dalits about Dalit lives—has created a distinct space for itself, how and why is it that a novel such as Serious Men, with its gleefully skewed portrayal of an angry Dalit man, manages to win such accolades? In American literature—and particularly in the case of African-American authors and character—these issues of representation have been debated for decades. But in India, the sustained refusal to address issues related to caste in everyday life—and the continued and unquestioned predominance of a Brahminical stranglehold over cultural production—have led us to a place where non-Dalit portrayal of Dalits in literature, cinema and art remains the norm.

The journey of modern Dalit literature has been a difficult one. But even though it has not necessarily enjoyed the support of numbers we must engage with what Dalits are writing—not simply for reasons of authenticity, or as a concession to identity politics, but simply because of the aesthetic value of this body of writing, and for the insights it offers into the human condition. In a society that is still largely unwilling to recognize Dalits as equal, rights-bearing human beings, in a society that is inherently indifferent to the everyday violence against Dalits, in a society unwilling to share social and cultural resources equitably with Dalits unless mandated by law (as seen in the anti-reservation discourse), Dalit literature has the potential to humanize non-Dalits and sensitise them to a world into which they have no insight. But before we can understand what Dalit literature is seeking to accomplish, we need first to come to terms with the stranglehold of non-Dalit representations of Dalits.
Rohinton Mistry’s A Fine Balance, published 15 years ago, chronicles the travails of two Dalit characters— uncle Ishvar and nephew Omprakash—who migrate to Bombay and yet cannot escape brutality. While the present of the novel is set at the time of the Emergency, Ishvar’s father Dukhi belongs to the era of the anticolonial nationalist movement. During one of Dukhi’s visits to the town, he chances upon a meeting of the Indian National Congress, where speakers spread the “Mahatma’s message regarding the freedom struggle, the struggle for justice,” and wiping out “the disease of untouchability, ravaging us for centuries, denying dignity to our fellow human beings.” Neither in the 1940s, where the novel’s past is set, nor in the Emergency period of the 1970s—when the minds and bodies Ishvar and Omprakash, are savaged by the state—do we find any mention of a figure like BR Ambedkar or of Dalit movements. In his ‘nationalist’ understanding of modern Indian history, Mistry seems to have not veered too far from the road charted by predecessors like Mulk Raj Anand and Premchand. Sixty years after Premchand, Mistry’s literary imagination seems stuck in the empathy-realism mode, trapping Dalits in abjection. Mistry happily continues the broad stereotype of the Dalit as a passive sufferer, without consciousness of caste politics.
The writer refers to the ‘anti-reservation discourse’ in order to argue that:

  • Dalit literature has had a very difficult journey since its origins

  • Manu Joseph is viscerally opposed to Dalits

  • Persons belonging to the upper castes are inherently indifferent to routine violence against Dalits.

  • Indian society is not yet ready to equitably share, on its own, social, cultural and political space with Dalits.


D.

Indian society is not yet ready to equitably share, on its own, social, cultural and political space with Dalits.

57 Views

17.

In Manu Joseph’s debut novel Serious Men, the protagonist, Ayyan Mani; is a sly, scheming Dalit-Buddhist who almost gets away with passing off his partially deaf son, Adi, as a prodigy, a genius who can recite the first 1,000 prime numbers. The garb of satire—where almost every character cuts a sorry figure—gives the author the licence to offer one of the most bleak and pessimistic portrayals of urban Dalits. Despite his savage portrayal of Dalit (and female) characters—or perhaps because of it?—Serious Men has won critical appreciation from a cross-section of readers and critics.
At a time when a formidable body of Dalit literature—writing by Dalits about Dalit lives—has created a distinct space for itself, how and why is it that a novel such as Serious Men, with its gleefully skewed portrayal of an angry Dalit man, manages to win such accolades? In American literature—and particularly in the case of African-American authors and character—these issues of representation have been debated for decades. But in India, the sustained refusal to address issues related to caste in everyday life—and the continued and unquestioned predominance of a Brahminical stranglehold over cultural production—have led us to a place where non-Dalit portrayal of Dalits in literature, cinema and art remains the norm.

The journey of modern Dalit literature has been a difficult one. But even though it has not necessarily enjoyed the support of numbers we must engage with what Dalits are writing—not simply for reasons of authenticity, or as a concession to identity politics, but simply because of the aesthetic value of this body of writing, and for the insights it offers into the human condition. In a society that is still largely unwilling to recognize Dalits as equal, rights-bearing human beings, in a society that is inherently indifferent to the everyday violence against Dalits, in a society unwilling to share social and cultural resources equitably with Dalits unless mandated by law (as seen in the anti-reservation discourse), Dalit literature has the potential to humanize non-Dalits and sensitise them to a world into which they have no insight. But before we can understand what Dalit literature is seeking to accomplish, we need first to come to terms with the stranglehold of non-Dalit representations of Dalits.
Rohinton Mistry’s A Fine Balance, published 15 years ago, chronicles the travails of two Dalit characters— uncle Ishvar and nephew Omprakash—who migrate to Bombay and yet cannot escape brutality. While the present of the novel is set at the time of the Emergency, Ishvar’s father Dukhi belongs to the era of the anticolonial nationalist movement. During one of Dukhi’s visits to the town, he chances upon a meeting of the Indian National Congress, where speakers spread the “Mahatma’s message regarding the freedom struggle, the struggle for justice,” and wiping out “the disease of untouchability, ravaging us for centuries, denying dignity to our fellow human beings.” Neither in the 1940s, where the novel’s past is set, nor in the Emergency period of the 1970s—when the minds and bodies Ishvar and Omprakash, are savaged by the state—do we find any mention of a figure like BR Ambedkar or of Dalit movements. In his ‘nationalist’ understanding of modern Indian history, Mistry seems to have not veered too far from the road charted by predecessors like Mulk Raj Anand and Premchand. Sixty years after Premchand, Mistry’s literary imagination seems stuck in the empathy-realism mode, trapping Dalits in abjection. Mistry happily continues the broad stereotype of the Dalit as a passive sufferer, without consciousness of caste politics.
Which of the following is not among the reasons suggested by the writer for engaging with Dalit writing:

  • Dalit literature has the potential to sensitize non-Dalits about the experiences of the former

  • Dalit writing is more authentic than representation of Dalits by non-Dalits

  • Dalit literature does not have the support of numbers.

  • The aesthetic value of Dalit writing


C.

Dalit literature does not have the support of numbers.

85 Views

18.

In Manu Joseph’s debut novel Serious Men, the protagonist, Ayyan Mani; is a sly, scheming Dalit-Buddhist who almost gets away with passing off his partially deaf son, Adi, as a prodigy, a genius who can recite the first 1,000 prime numbers. The garb of satire—where almost every character cuts a sorry figure—gives the author the licence to offer one of the most bleak and pessimistic portrayals of urban Dalits. Despite his savage portrayal of Dalit (and female) characters—or perhaps because of it?—Serious Men has won critical appreciation from a cross-section of readers and critics.
At a time when a formidable body of Dalit literature—writing by Dalits about Dalit lives—has created a distinct space for itself, how and why is it that a novel such as Serious Men, with its gleefully skewed portrayal of an angry Dalit man, manages to win such accolades? In American literature—and particularly in the case of African-American authors and character—these issues of representation have been debated for decades. But in India, the sustained refusal to address issues related to caste in everyday life—and the continued and unquestioned predominance of a Brahminical stranglehold over cultural production—have led us to a place where non-Dalit portrayal of Dalits in literature, cinema and art remains the norm.

The journey of modern Dalit literature has been a difficult one. But even though it has not necessarily enjoyed the support of numbers we must engage with what Dalits are writing—not simply for reasons of authenticity, or as a concession to identity politics, but simply because of the aesthetic value of this body of writing, and for the insights it offers into the human condition. In a society that is still largely unwilling to recognize Dalits as equal, rights-bearing human beings, in a society that is inherently indifferent to the everyday violence against Dalits, in a society unwilling to share social and cultural resources equitably with Dalits unless mandated by law (as seen in the anti-reservation discourse), Dalit literature has the potential to humanize non-Dalits and sensitise them to a world into which they have no insight. But before we can understand what Dalit literature is seeking to accomplish, we need first to come to terms with the stranglehold of non-Dalit representations of Dalits.
Rohinton Mistry’s A Fine Balance, published 15 years ago, chronicles the travails of two Dalit characters— uncle Ishvar and nephew Omprakash—who migrate to Bombay and yet cannot escape brutality. While the present of the novel is set at the time of the Emergency, Ishvar’s father Dukhi belongs to the era of the anticolonial nationalist movement. During one of Dukhi’s visits to the town, he chances upon a meeting of the Indian National Congress, where speakers spread the “Mahatma’s message regarding the freedom struggle, the struggle for justice,” and wiping out “the disease of untouchability, ravaging us for centuries, denying dignity to our fellow human beings.” Neither in the 1940s, where the novel’s past is set, nor in the Emergency period of the 1970s—when the minds and bodies Ishvar and Omprakash, are savaged by the state—do we find any mention of a figure like BR Ambedkar or of Dalit movements. In his ‘nationalist’ understanding of modern Indian history, Mistry seems to have not veered too far from the road charted by predecessors like Mulk Raj Anand and Premchand. Sixty years after Premchand, Mistry’s literary imagination seems stuck in the empathy-realism mode, trapping Dalits in abjection. Mistry happily continues the broad stereotype of the Dalit as a passive sufferer, without consciousness of caste politics.
Which of the following words would be the best substitute for the word ‘sly’ in this passage

  • Bright

  • wise

  • devious

  • dim


C.

devious

73 Views

19.

In Manu Joseph’s debut novel Serious Men, the protagonist, Ayyan Mani; is a sly, scheming Dalit-Buddhist who almost gets away with passing off his partially deaf son, Adi, as a prodigy, a genius who can recite the first 1,000 prime numbers. The garb of satire—where almost every character cuts a sorry figure—gives the author the licence to offer one of the most bleak and pessimistic portrayals of urban Dalits. Despite his savage portrayal of Dalit (and female) characters—or perhaps because of it?—Serious Men has won critical appreciation from a cross-section of readers and critics.
At a time when a formidable body of Dalit literature—writing by Dalits about Dalit lives—has created a distinct space for itself, how and why is it that a novel such as Serious Men, with its gleefully skewed portrayal of an angry Dalit man, manages to win such accolades? In American literature—and particularly in the case of African-American authors and character—these issues of representation have been debated for decades. But in India, the sustained refusal to address issues related to caste in everyday life—and the continued and unquestioned predominance of a Brahminical stranglehold over cultural production—have led us to a place where non-Dalit portrayal of Dalits in literature, cinema and art remains the norm.

The journey of modern Dalit literature has been a difficult one. But even though it has not necessarily enjoyed the support of numbers we must engage with what Dalits are writing—not simply for reasons of authenticity, or as a concession to identity politics, but simply because of the aesthetic value of this body of writing, and for the insights it offers into the human condition. In a society that is still largely unwilling to recognize Dalits as equal, rights-bearing human beings, in a society that is inherently indifferent to the everyday violence against Dalits, in a society unwilling to share social and cultural resources equitably with Dalits unless mandated by law (as seen in the anti-reservation discourse), Dalit literature has the potential to humanize non-Dalits and sensitise them to a world into which they have no insight. But before we can understand what Dalit literature is seeking to accomplish, we need first to come to terms with the stranglehold of non-Dalit representations of Dalits.
Rohinton Mistry’s A Fine Balance, published 15 years ago, chronicles the travails of two Dalit characters— uncle Ishvar and nephew Omprakash—who migrate to Bombay and yet cannot escape brutality. While the present of the novel is set at the time of the Emergency, Ishvar’s father Dukhi belongs to the era of the anticolonial nationalist movement. During one of Dukhi’s visits to the town, he chances upon a meeting of the Indian National Congress, where speakers spread the “Mahatma’s message regarding the freedom struggle, the struggle for justice,” and wiping out “the disease of untouchability, ravaging us for centuries, denying dignity to our fellow human beings.” Neither in the 1940s, where the novel’s past is set, nor in the Emergency period of the 1970s—when the minds and bodies Ishvar and Omprakash, are savaged by the state—do we find any mention of a figure like BR Ambedkar or of Dalit movements. In his ‘nationalist’ understanding of modern Indian history, Mistry seems to have not veered too far from the road charted by predecessors like Mulk Raj Anand and Premchand. Sixty years after Premchand, Mistry’s literary imagination seems stuck in the empathy-realism mode, trapping Dalits in abjection. Mistry happily continues the broad stereotype of the Dalit as a passive sufferer, without consciousness of caste politics.


According to this passage, Premchand and Mulk Raj Anand:
  • Presented a stereotyped version of Dalit characters in their writings

  • Excelled in writing satires on social inequality

  • Were politically opposed to the views of B.R. Ambedkar

  • Were closely involved with the leadership of the nationalist movement


A.

Presented a stereotyped version of Dalit characters in their writings

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20.

“It is not as if Dalit movements________ not active during the periods that form A Fine Balance’s backdrop.” Select the most appropriate choice to fill in the blank in the above sentence:

  • is

  • was

  • were

  • are


C.

were

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