The role of a writer is to highlight reality of the society through his writings as literature should become the voice of voiceless, eminent Indian language writers said Tuesday.
Around 15 writers of Dalit literature from different parts of India assembled at Sahitya Akademi on the occasion of Ambedkar Jayanti and presented their views on how the genre should reach out to a global audience and how the literary body should ensure these writings are translated into other languages.
The father of Indian constitution, BR Ambedkar, a Dalit himself, campaigned against social and caste discrimination, unaccountability and discrimination against women.
"Literature doesn't become literature unless it becomes the voice of the voiceless. We have a great responsibility of bringing forth the voices of marganalised and deprived community," said Tamil writer RN Joe D'Cruz.
"At the same time, it is equally important for India to make available its literature in world languages so that they too understand the wealth of writings India can produce or has been producing that reflect the socio-cultural milieu," he added.
D'Cruz has been writing about the life and difficulties faced by coastal fishermen communities.
However, prominent Dalit writer JV Pawar said the irony of today's time is even though the constitution seeks removal of untouchability, the practice is very much prevalent in today's time.
"It is unfortunate but because of poverty we see discrimination in our society. While we aspire for social and political justice, they (Dalits) need freedom from oppression," he said.
Marathi writer Ravindra Gole had a different take altogether. According to him, writers shouldn't look only within their community but should also try to understand the plight of other people and write about it.
"Literature should be appreciated and shouldn't limit itself to some genre or community," he added.
As many of these writers pointed out how their award-winning writings have failed to generate interest among the mainstream audience, K Sreenivasa Rao, secretary of Sahitya Akademi said, "The government has launched a new scheme 'Indian Literature Abroad' for translation, under which some classic Indian language novels are being translated into world languages."
"Two-three books are already out and we are trying to speed up the process," he added.