The Analysis Of Sharankumar Limbale's Autobiography "Akkarmashi"

Categories: IndiaSociety

The caste of an individual determines everything in his life from clothes he wears to what food he will eat and also whom he will marry.Sharankumar Limbale in his autobiography ‘Akkarmashi’, is talking about a man who was not even allowed in the caste system, who was an outcaste ‘An Akkarmashi’.‘Akkarmashi’ written by Sharankumar Limbale in 1984 is a landmark in Marathi Dalit literature . Through his book he portrayed the miserable life he lived as an untouchable.Later in 2003 Shantosh Bhoomkar translated this work in English, titled as ‘The Outcaste’.

‘The Outcaste’ is an autobiography of a Dalit man depicting the community struggles of an untouchable family. It also reflects the conditions of a particular oppressed class, the Mahar community and has given a realistic and a true picture of Indian society. Reading the words of those who have lived through the experience is the best way to understand and find out the sufferings of the Dalits and other marginalised sections of the society.

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They have education as well as talent to pen down their pain and sufferings and reach out to the world for help and demanding existence in the society.Sharankumar Limbale,was born on 1st June, 1956 to a Mahar woman and a Patil (belonging to the uppercaste) man.

He wrote this autobiography at the age of 25. It took him a great deal of courage to put his mother’s life in front of the world. This autobiography shades a light on discrimination of two types. The most common discrimination was on the basis of the segregation of castes and the other was based on gender.

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He has used personal descriptive style in his autobiography to shade a light on his personal experiences as a Dalit and also to show the discrimination, inequality and indifference they suffered in their lives. He talks about his pathetic situation where he did not even knew his father’s name, hence not even having an identity or place of belonging. Sharankumar Limbale was an illegitimate child of the high caste Patil – Hanmanta Limbale of Baslegaon, and his mother a poor, landless, untouchable woman.

Limbale says that this particular book was written in order to put a light on the sufferings of his mother, Masamai and his grandmother, Santamai. According to him the history of his mother and his grandmother is his ancestry. Caste based discrimination was very prominent but besides the gender based discrimination was also very prominent. The women had always faced problems and were exploited in two ways. One by the society for being a low caste and two, for being a woman. Since the ancient times women have always been considered as submissive and were a mere piece of flesh meant to satisfy a man’s sexual hunger. Even the women of high castes were considered as objects and were meant to stay at home and cook and look after her husband and children, whereas the men could go around doing whatever they wanted.

The Dalit women faced double exploitation as the high caste men exploited them as well as their own fathers and husbands also exploited them. There are many such incidents that Limbale , in his life, came across. His own mother was exploited by her husband , deserted and left on her own. Another such incident occurred with a girl named Dhanavva, who was a widow, but pregnant with her own father’s child.Shankar her father said,”I have sown the seed from which she has grown as a plant.Now why shouldn’t I eat the fruits of this plant?”Limbale’s mother was deserted by her husband Ithal Kamble because of the Patil of Baslegaon. Ithal Kamble also snatched away her two sons and remarried. A man could remarry but a woman could not. Masamai was then lured by Hanmanta Limbale and when she got pregnant with his son, he also deserted her. She then eventually had to move back to Hanoor. It is always seen that women are the ones who suffer, especially the Dalit women.

Casteism in that period was very prominent, Limbale was an untouchable, hence even their shadow and touch is considered to be impure. If they accidently happened to touch any highcaste individual or drank water from their well it was considered as contaminated. Dalits were supposed to do all the dirty work, such as cleaning cow dung, smearing the cow dung, sweeping and cleaning the village. They lived in the Maharwada, that is the garbage heep of the village. These people did not even have a proper hut. Men , women and children urinated and shit in the open. They lived on the remains of the high caste people in utter poverty.Sharankumar Limbale has written about his childhood days, the conditions of Dalits, their women and children. Being a Dalit he has closely witnessed all this discrimination. His family included of Masamai, Santamai, Dada ( Mahmood Dastagir Jamadar), Chandamai, Sharan himself, followed by his sisters and brothers, Nagubai, Nirmala, Vanmala, Sunanda, Pramila, Shrikant, Indira and Sidram.

Masamai who was initially married to Ithal Kamble, had three sons from him, out of which one died early and the other two were snatched away from her. Then from an affair with Hanmanta Limbale, Sharankumar was born. The rest of the children were born from her affair with the Patil of Hanoor, Yashwantrao Sidramappa , also the head of the village. In the beginning of the novel, the writer started with his childhood experiences. There was utter poverty hence scarcity of food was common. They had been to a picnic to a nearby garden, the upperclass children brought variety of food in their tiffin whereas these Dalit boys hardly had a piece of bhakari and chutney. Also they were made to sit separately and later were given the leftover food of the upperclass children. Dalit children were also not allowed in the classroom, they were made to sit at the door. Limbale was also teased as Mahar and was called ‘son of a whore’. He was considered as impure as his blood consisted of a Patil and a Mahar woman. Neither did the uppercaste people accept him nor did the Mahars. Hence he was called as ‘Halfcaste’ or ‘Outcaste’.

Dalits were not even allowed to enter the temple, by mistake a friend of Sharankumar named Harya entered the temple and touched the deity, after that his father bit him and was really angry over him for doing such shameful deed. Because they were devoid of basic amenities, they had a very different lifestyle. They had no land to cultivate food and crops, hence they had no options of food availability. The landowners took advantage of their helplessness and made them work extra but didn’t pay as per the work. Inorder to survive and fill their empty stomachs, Limbale’s grandmother Santamai used to collect Jowar grains from cow dung, washed and dried them and then ground them to make Bhakaris.The people belonging to Dalit community were considered untouchable hence they did not even get work. They always did the odd jobs like, Porter , Liquor supplier, Prostitutes, Keeps, Labourers, Watchmans, Sweeper, etc. Limbale’s had a life full of struggle because at every step he was discriminated on the basis of his caste.

He wrote this autobiography inorder to bring attention upon the discriminatory practices that take place on a daily basis. How a low caste individual suffers throughout his life because of his caste. And a woman of the low caste has to suffer even more. He questions the readers that,“Why are we ostracized? Why are we kept away from other human beings? Why are we kept out of our own selves? Why this discrimination between one human being and another? after all, isn’t everybody’s blood red?”He also says that if their touch is considered impure, why do the high caste men come and sleep with Dalit women? Beacause he has seen his mother and sisters suffer, he knows the agony of both, an Outcaste and a Dalit woman.

Updated: Feb 02, 2024
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The Analysis Of Sharankumar Limbale's Autobiography "Akkarmashi". (2024, Feb 02). Retrieved from

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