My Childhood on My Shoulders is a translation of Sheoraj Singh Bechain's autobiographical work Mera Bachpan Mere Kandhon Par, a paradigmatic life-story of a member of one of India's numerous Dalit castes. The book narrates his struggle against the social disabilities imposed on him by the material circumstances of his 'outcaste' family and succeeding in his quest for an education.
Born in 1960 into a family of 'chamars' (tanners), and therefore stigmatized by the prevalent pollution norms maintained in his village community, Bechain was constrained to bear, all through his childhood, the burden of acute economic hardship. Despite being sold-off by his stepfather to serve as a bonded labourer at a brick kiln, after his rescue he remains a self-supporting individual throughout his childhood, earning through odd jobs like polishing shoes and serving in hotels. All through
this time, he never gave up his aspiration for learning, for reading, and writing, and after much struggle, managed to get enrolled in formal schooling. Rendered in the folk idiom of western Uttar Pradesh, the author's native region, Bechain's autobiography, throws light upon the dismal lot of all
those who grow up disenfranchised in free India.
Publisher: OUP India
Number of pages: 276
Weight: 306 g
Dimensions: 216 x 147 x 21 mm