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Article from Josiane RACINE
Josiane RACINE
"In my days, school existed but my parents never thought it necessary to send me there. They did not understand, they did not think of our future: life was on a day-to-day basis… If they had given us an education, we would have earned more money, but they were ignorant. As for us, we only had one son. I wanted him to study with all my heart. I remember the Karani School well, I built it with Anjalai, Pakkiam, Kannima, Managatti…

We were young then. We laughed, we sang while making the whitewash, while carrying the bricks. We worked until the building was finished. I hoped that one day I would put my son in that school - Anbin wasn't born yet - And, after his birth, not telling anyone, I started saving to buy him new clothes and to change his red cord into a silver chain. The first day he went to school, I gave him a new shirt and new shorts to wear and I gave him a tray of sweets to offer to the teacher.

He was the Great Vattiar, he had just been appointed. Anbin stayed with him for three years, but then a new teacher came. He used to beat up the children and many a time Anbin wanted to quit but every time I brought him back to school (…) When my eldest daughter got married, no one could keep the small ones. So I had to take Anbin out of school; he was the one who would take them out on his hip while I was at work. Anjalai also had young children. She understood how sorry I was and offered to look after mine as well so that Anbin could go to school. I gave her some rice in thanks. But after I had to stop working as well so that Anbin could continue his studies. I made a lot of sacrifices to educate him, Sinnamma!"
VIRAMMA, Josiane et Jean-Luc Racine: Une vie paria. Le rire des asservis. Inde du Sud. Collection Terre Humaine, Plon-UNESCO, Paris 1995, pages 244-245
(indian version : Viramma, Josiane Racine & Jean-Luc Racine: Viramma. Life of Dalit, Social Sciences Press, New Delhi, 2000

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