Caste discrimination faced by Bama

Karakku is a novel written by the Tamil Dalit writer Mary Faustina Fatima Rani. In this novel she speaks about a lot of problems faced by the Dalits and how they were discriminated and exploited. She expresses her angst and her pain through her writing. The most prominent one is the problems faced by the dalits is that of caste discrimination. Bama belongs to the untouchable class called Parayas.

• Even though her living standards were not luxurious, it was still a little better than others as her father was an army officer and because of that, whenever he came back home, there was always food at the table. She also had an older brother who made her aware of the conditions of Dalits and help to understand why it is important to overcome it.

• In the Indian society, the discrimination of people based on their caste was rampant. Every person was judged according to which caste they belong to and showed respect accordingly.

• The problem with food:
The people of the upper caste always got to eat all the tasty food like the fishes with fancy names but the lower caste people always had to settle for the cheap fishes as that is what they could afford. She tells us how the lower caste people are the ones who do all the work yet only the rich benefit from it.

• The problem of exploitation and untouchability:
Bama mentions the exploitation of the poor Dalits by the rich Naickers and tells us how that is the reason that the Dalits haven’t prospered yet. She talks about work and how the Dalits had to work all their lives just to make ends meet and they were not even be rewarded for it. An example or incident is when a lady was holding a ‘bajji’ with a string so she does not touch it while giving it to a Naicker. At first Bama found this incident funny but after she was explained about the concept of untouchability by her brother she gets a little furious.

• The problem of Education:
The next problem that the Dalits face is the problem of education. Not all Dalits have the luxury or opportunity to attend school and receive an education. The children or not allowed education and even if they are, they are not given equal opportunities and are always identified by their caste.
Bama also faced or experienced these during her school days but she managed to gain the trust and respect of her peers and teachers as she was a very bright student. That is when Bama realised that if every child is given this opportunity to receive education, they would be independent and would not have to struggle to make ends meet and would also be a respectable citizen of the country.

• Visible Caste discrimination:
In the future when she joined the convent and taught for 5 years, Bama also realised that the caste discrimination still exists. She realised that where there was a vow to help the Dalit children, really care about that aspect. Nobody tried to teach the children what their rights are and how they can together work to overcome their problems as a community and prosper.

All of these incidents show us the plight of the dalits and how difficult their lives are on a daily basis. They need to overcome problems every day, in every field they go to. There is no leniency for the poor which shows us that the hierarchy of caste is an atrocious topic and everyone should be treated equally.