‘How I became a Writer’: English translation of Manoranjan Byapari’s memoir to release June 22



NEW DELHI: The English translation of the second volume of Bengali litterateur Manoranjan Byapari’s acclaimed autobiography “Itibritte Chandal Jivan” will hit the stands on Wednesday.

‘How I Became a Writer: An Autobiography of a Dalit’, translated by Anurima Chanda, continues the inspirational memoirs of the Bengali Dalit writer after the award-winning ‘Interrogating My Chandal Life’ in 2018 — which talked about Byapari’s growing-up years in refugee camps in West Bengal and Dandakaranya.

In this translated volume, the author talks of his roller-coaster life in Kolkata after leaving the Chhattisgarh Mukti Morcha, and how he took up the job of a cook at a school.

It is jointly published by SAGE Publications India and Samya under the Samya SAGE Select imprint.

The 72-year-old writer, who is also the Trinamool Congress MLA from Balagarh, West Bengal, has worked as a cook for over two decades at the Helen Keller School for the Deaf and the Blind.

“Time had gifted me with a mere pen. All I wanted to do was to hold on to it with all my might, just like a small dinghy on a vast ocean, a lamp on a dark night, or a stick in a blind man’s hand,” said Byapari reflecting on his life story.

While part one of the volume describes how Byapari carried out his duties even after being treated contemptuously because he was a Dalit; the second part reveals how his persistence gradually resulted in his works being published in little magazines and, later, by mainstream publishers.

“He discusses Dalit writings, Dalit literary organizations, and whether he is a ‘Dalit writer’. His forthright observations on society and governance provide many insights,” said the publishers about the book.

Some of Byapari’s notable works include ‘Chhera Chhera Jibon’, ‘Amanushik’, and ‘Motua Ek Mukti Senar Naam’.

He has received several awards such as the Suprabha Majumdar Smarak Puraskar in 2014 and the Hindu Literary Fest’s non-fiction award in 2019.

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