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MUKTABAI (1841–?)

Muktabai was an essayist. Little is known about her except that she was a Mang woman, an untouchable. She steps into history because, in 1855 at the age of 14, she wrote an essay in the journal Dhyanodaya, a periodical devoted to discussing the new sciences as well as issues of morality and culture. The essay, collected in Susie Tharu and K. Lalita, eds. Women Writing in India: 600 BC to the Present, (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1991) is remarkable for the passion and lucidity with which it condemns the casual abuse, discrimination and racism faced by untouchable men and women at the hands of caste rulers. Unfortunately, having published the essay, Muktabai disappears from the view of posterity.
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