Book Review: ‘Fear and Other Stories’ by Dalpat Chauhan

The stories that explore the atrocities faced by the Dalits for ages!

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Book Title: Fear and Other Stories
Author: Dalpat Chauhan
Translated by: Hemang Ashwinkumar
Publisher: Penguin Hamish Hamilton (24 April 2023)

Book Review
Resistance literature is written in response to harsh or unfair social and political situations. It is writing that expresses opposition or dissent to existing conditions, frequently emphasizing the experiences of marginalized or oppressed communities and calling for social justice or political reform. Chauhan’s written works qualify as resistance literature since they resonate with the distressing cries of a populace that has been silenced for an extended period.

Fear and Other Stories by Dalpat Chauhan Book Cover
Fear and Other Stories by Dalpat Chauhan Book Cover

“Fear and Other Stories” serve as a reminder of the inherent dangers of being a Dalit, whose existence is plagued by terrible violence and dread, even amid their daily routine. Penguin published the book and is already released in April, also known as Dalit History Month in India.

The book contains eleven stories, each set in a different setting but all with a common theme: the brutality perpetrated on Dalits because of their caste. The book illustrates the worries, discrimination, and silenced voices of individuals living in rural towns whose livelihoods rely on farming, cattle rearing, or daily salaries via these experiences.

The book challenges Savarna’s brutality against Dalit communities in a variety of settings while also highlighting their resistance and anger. Furthermore, it questions and deconstructs dominant myths and silences concerning caste oppression in history and mythology.

Even though it is a translation, the book expresses strange and emotional thoughts through its language and detailed depiction of circumstances. The book’s aesthetics, notably the cover image of charred matchsticks, are both striking and tragic, representing the delicate and ephemeral quality of Dalit life.

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Adopting a comfortable font type and size increases the book’s readability and accessibility to a larger audience. Hemang Ashwinkumar’s skillful translation again introduces the reader to Chauhan’s tragic stories. His previous translation, Vultures, written by Dalpat Chauhan in Gujarati, also talks about the pitiful lives of Dalits and also reveals a rural Gujarat that is far from the lovely vistas that the state is known for.

Overall, the book “Fear and Other Stories” is an excellent translation that portrays the heartbreaking experiences of the Dalit minority in an engaging and relevant manner.

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Storizen Magazine March 2023 Cover - Anuja Chandramouli
Storizen Magazine March 2023 Cover – Anuja Chandramouli

Read more book reviews in our March 2023 Issue featuring Anuja Chandramouli