The Prisons We Broke


Maya Pandit (Tr.) Baby Kamble


Baby Kamble recovers memory in order to restore the Mahar community’s history before it was influenced by Babasaheb Ambedkar, and recounts a subsequent narrative of redemption wrought by a fiery brand of social and self-awareness.

Prisons We Broke is a powerful and concise novel that provides a graphic view of the oppressive, caste-based, and patriarchal traditions that pervade Indian society. The narrative depicts, among other things, the holidays, rituals, superstitions, snot-nosed kids, arduous lifestyles and strong women of the Mahar community with verve and color.

In terms of form and narrative methods utilized, the Marathi edition of Jina Amucha (serialized in 1982 and published as a book in 1986) re-defined autobiographical writing for both Marathi speakers and readers. It’s probably the first autobiography written by a Dalit woman in Marathi, or at least the first of its kind anywhere in India.

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