Surendhar Reddy

Book Review — My Father Baliah

It’s a good memoir which discusses all the sacrifices and hardships author’s father faced for being a Dalit. He talks of all his hard work to build and give his family a high standard quality life.

I assumed this book to discuss more about caste based discrimination and its fundamental effects, but it’s not. Mr. Satyam (the author), discusses Dalit issues on a very high level (made some references to Manusmriti at some parts but not detailed) and emphasizes more on getting access to education and valuing family that his father enabled for him and his siblings.

I really appreciate his emphasis on how getting access to education helped him (and his siblings) to grow along with others and achieve a high standard life. Especially, felt the usefulness of reservations his siblings used to become what they’re now. Also, how his siblings taking up railways jobs (which are available for anyone without discrimination) improved their quality of life.

The best part? The book was raw and super real in talking about the Telangana people’s culture and their practices. It gives a fair amount of details on how Hyderabad and Secunderabad (+ some other regions) transformed under different leadership (all Britishers,Nizams and Indian governments). It gives a quick glimpse on the first Telangana state separation movement. It also shares good details on how British Indian Railways and its administration operated in early days.