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Religious conversion in Kerala was an immediate solution for the lower caste people who sought to break free from the slavery and structural inequalities of caste. Though proselytization was accelerated by egalitarian and emancipatory ideologies, it became a shift from one oppressive, exploitative social fabric to another hegemonic structure composed of institutionalized religion underlined by casteist ideologies. Christianity in Kerala turned out to be Brahminical and catered to the interest of upper-caste Christians. Despite its egalitarian claims, discrimination unabashedly pervaded the churches of Kerala. Dalit liberation movements in the twentieth century heralded by both the Dalit and Dalit Christian leaders profoundly influenced the public life of Kerala and brought a new paradigm to the slave castes. Such changes were reflected in the literary articulations of the period also. This article examines how the Dalit Christian discourse is inaugurated in Malayalam novels as the result of the Dalit Christian liberation movements in the twentieth century. By employing textual analysis as the research methodology and intersectionality as a theoretical lens, this article analyses Paul Chirakkarode’s Pulayathara (1962) and examines how the Dalit Christian liberation movement in the twentieth century is instrumental in shaping an alternative epistemology and Dalit Christian identity.
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