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Malapalli by Unnava LakshminarayanaMalapalli by Unnava Lakshminarayana

By the beginning of 20th century nationalist leaders realized that along with political fight against the British, it was crucial to eradicate the prevalent social weaknesses plaguing the society simultaneously, to achieve complete independence. Malapalli (Harijan Quarter), written by nationalist leader Unnava Lakshminarayana (1877-1958) of Guntur district, remains a significant work dealing with untouchability as a political and social issue, dominant in rural Andhra under the British. Divided into four parts named after four important characters, Malapalli describes the conditions of the depressed castes in Andhra Pradesh, how they suffered from the social evil of untouchability, as well as the economic exploitation by their landlords. The novel succinctly outlines the political awakening of the harijan communities and their mobilization not just to fight against the oppressive feudal economic system, but also against the British Raj which facilitated their degradation and suffering. The characters of the novel support non-violent Gandhian politics. Malapalli describes the establishment of a Sanga Pitham to educate the Harijan children, and emphasizes on the need for upliftment of the oppressed communities. Malapalli remains a pioneering work addressing the issue of untouchability, making it a part of national consciousness. It successfully linked questions of social reforms with the larger political issues of the day, and thus played a great role in inculcating nationalism among the people.

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Malapalli by Unnava Lakshminarayana