Author: Joydeep Bhattacharyya
Author Affiliation: Research Scholar in the Department of Modern Indian Languages and Literary Studies, University of Delhi
Abstract: Mainstream literature has been explicitly vocal about the exploitation of the downtrodden sections of the society. The ensuing discrimination towards this section is due to both the caste and the class position of the people. Kalipatnam Rama Rao was born in the year 1924 and is known as Kara Mestaru. Winner of Sahitya Academy Award in the year 1995 for his anthology of stories, Yagnam to Tommidi, Rao’s stories focus on rural India and the problems faced by the rural population. Rama Rao’s Yagnam was originally published in Telegu in 1971 and in this paper, the English translation by Subrahmanyam, which was published in the year 2001 has been used. The story of Yagnam is based on a rural village of Sundarapalem. The story explores the underlying reality of a well-developed village, where the contribution of the marginalised section, the Mala community goes unnoticed in the wake of the parameters that define the development of the village. In fact, the translated title of the story has been titled as ‘The Sacrifice’ by Subrahmanyam in this edition. The sacrifice, rather, the contribution of the Mala community surfaces through a dispute regarding the payment of a loan. The situational realities of the village are universal in its structure and can be observed in any agrarian village of India. Though on the surface level, the idyllic village of Sundarapalem is peaceful, deeper analysis questions the ideals that form the base of the societal schema. Though the villagers of Sunadarapalem are seen as a functional whole, within that functional schema, malfunctional elements creep up, partly in the wake of commercialisation and commodification and partly due to the sluggish attitude of the state authorities in resolving the conflict about the repayment of the loan as well as the acknowledgement of the contribution of the Mala community in building of this idyllic village. This paper looks at how a community is subtly pushed to the periphery and has been paying the price of the development of the village. This development is infrastructural in its orientation and is not directed towards the overall betterment of the society as it is not wholesome. On the surface level, it is difficult to understand how one section of the society has been deprived of the acknowledgement and the consequential benefits of their labour which lead to this development.
Keywords: Development, Marginalisation, Class Hierarchy, Caste Hierarchy.