Writing on the lives of the Mahars of Maharashtra, Baby Kamble reclaims memory to locate the Mahar society before it was impacted by Babasaheb Ambedkar, and tells a consequent tale of redemption wrought by a fiery brand of social and self-awareness. The Prisons We Broke provides a graphic insight into the oppressive caste and patriarchal tenets of the Indian society, but nowhere does the writing descend to self-pity. With verve and colour the narrative brings to life, among other things, the festivals, rituals, marriages, snot-nosed children, hard lives and hardy women of the Mahar community.
The original Marathi work, Jina Amucha, re-defined autobiographical writing in Marathi in terms of form and narrative strategies adopted, and the selfhood and subjectivities that were articulated. It is the first autobiography by a Dalit woman in Marathi, probably even the first of its kind in any Indian language. The Series: The books in the Literature in Translation series are translations of significant literature from Indian languages.
Baby Kamble and Maya Pandit (tr.)