Delhi Just Hosted Its 'First' Dalit Literature Festival

Over 100 writers, artists, academicians and social activists took part in the event to address issues pertaining to Dalits.

In a bid to unite the voices of the marginalised, Delhi University recently hosted ‘Dalit Literature Festival’, probably the first such event in India. The two-day festival was organised by Kirorimal College’s Hindi Dept in collaboration with several Dalit groups such as Ambedkarvadi Lekhak Sangh, Rashmi Prakashan, Lucknow, Ridam Patrika, National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM), Delhi Solidarity Group (DSG), Alag Duniya, Mantavya Patrika, Akshar Publishers & Distributors, Delhi, Forum for Democracy.

“It is the country’s first literature festival for Dalits. It has never happened before,” said Sanjeev Danda, one of the organisers.

“Dalits do not mean only Scheduled Castes. It also represents farmers, tribals (Adivasis), the working class. It represents everyone,” he added.
Over 100 writers, artists, academicians and social activists took part in the event. From marginalisation to caste-based discrimination, the participants addressed all issues pertaining to Dalits. “There are so many issues but no one is addressing them. They say Dalits are taking up all the jobs. But where? Just have a look at the Indian govt’s survey and you’ll see that the upper castes dominate every ministry. Where are the Scheduled Castes? Not more than 2 percent,” Balbir Madhopuri, a renowned Dalit Punjabi writer said.

The event was a big draw among students as well. “Not just Ambedkar, there are many other writers who have written extensively on caste. Their writings give a glimpse of our history and social order. The eagerness to read their works and to get knowledge about our past brought me here,” Arpit Awasthi, a Physics student said.