There is much in Vasant Moon's extraordinary story of his vasti, his childhood neighbourhood in India, that would probably be true of any urban ghetto anywhere in the world. But there is much that is peculiarly and vividly Indian. In this first autobiography of a so-called Untouchable, we learn about the inescapable hierarchy imposed by caste, based on ancient principles of heriditary pollution. We see the unmatched importance of the heroic Dr. B. R. Ambedkar for India's awakened and newly ambitious Dalits. We feel, viscerally, Nagpur's heat and the joy brought by the monsoon. Vasant Moon's Vasti, the first Dalit autobiography to be published in English, is a moving and eloquent testament to a uniquely Indian life as well as to the universal human spirit.
Vasant Moon is a retired civil servant and Dalit activist. He is the editor of 17 volumes of Dr. AmbedkarOs writings and speeches in English. Gail Omvedt is a freelance writer and frequent visiting professor of sociology. Eleanor Zelliot is Laird Bell Professor of History emerita at Carleton College.
Chapter 1 The Neighborhood Chapter 2 Fearless Chapter 3 Callousness and Clouds Chapter 4 The Heat and Rain of Childhood Chapter 5 Dev Master's Curse Falls Chapter 6 Religious Hymns Chapter 7 Shooting Star Chapter 8 Chickpeas and Parched Rice Chapter 9 The Unconquered Chapter 10 Parade of Lions and Tigers Chapter 11 Foreshadowing Chapter 12 Holy Victory Chapter 13 Robust and Rollicking Chapter 14 Sports and Study Chapter 15 Pigeons and Politics Chapter 16 Climax Chapter 17 Wrath Chapter 18 Cultural Transformation Chapter 19 An Unspoiled Picture Chapter 20 The Welfare of the World Chapter 21 For What? For Books! Chapter 22 I Begin to Write Chapter 23 The End of Umar Khayam Chapter 24 Rising Moon Chapter 25 The Vows of Religion Chapter 26 Falling Star Chapter 27 Tying the Knot Chapter 28 The Spinning Top Chapter 29 Summing Up