Mukta Salve

- October 29, 2021


By Krithika Nair

Illustration: Narendra Pardhi

Mukta Salve belonged to the Mang community of Maharashtra, one of the many lower caste communities which were subjected to the cruel practice of untouchability. She became a student at Savitribai and Jyotiba Phule’s school, where women of all communities were taught to read and write. At the age of 14, she wrote a scathing essay titled ‘About the grief of Mangs and Mahars’ wherein she questioned the discriminatory nature of the caste system in the Hindu religion. Her essay delved into the horrors faced by the community and the subhuman conditions they led their lives in. The essay is considered to be the first work of literature by a Dalit woman. Although it is her only work to be recovered, Mukta Salve continues to be an important voice of inspiration among Dalits and women.

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