Defying the Odds: The Rise of Dalit Entrepreneurs is a book co-authored by Devesh Kapur, D. Shyam Babu and Chandra Bhan Prasad. Written in English and published by Vintage Books, the book is a pretty recent work and the publication date happens to be July 1, 2014. The book is bound by Paperback and is of approximately 336 pages.
About the authors: All the three contributors of the book are highly reputed senior academicians. Prof. Devesh Kapur is Director of the Centre for the Advanced Study of India at the University of Pennsylvania. Chandra Bhan Prasad has made a special place for himself as an immensely talented political commentator in respect of contemporary Dalit politics. D. Shyam Babu is a Fellow at the New Delhibased Rajiv Gandhi Institute for Contemporary Studies. He has done considerable amount of work in the area of social justice with special focus on Dalits.
The book as the name suggests is a seminal work that is a collection of actually inspiring stories of men and women who have defied all odds, fought against a long tradition of prejudices and exploitation and emerged victorious at the end. Therefore, the struggle of real life heroes is what this book is all about. The stories are inspiring because they all have that one factor which inspires one and all which is rags to riches journey.
A struggle for establishing an identity and that too after going through a saga of victimization surmised upon caste is what Defying the Odds: The Rise of Dalit Entrepreneurs captures with brevity. The book simply put is about the path breaking journey of twenty Dalit entrepreneurs who have braved social, economical and political barriers to make a mark in their lives. It marks the rise of such people devoid of any privileges in a world driven by powerful and privileged class of businessmen. One of the most striking features of the book is the fact that the struggle is not seen as something which is absolutely grim. In fact, the struggle actually is said to have instilled resilience and certain other traits in these entrepreneurs who eventually rise up the social ladder.
Dalit literature has always been known to focus on the difficulties that they have been able to suffer. However, this book moves a step beyond and gives a perfect amalgamation of struggles and seizing the best of opportunities in difficult times. This particular feature makes the tales even more alluring and endearing. The book also highlights the importance of entrepreneurship as a stepping stone to not only success but also a larger movement of social empowerment and societal inclusion.
The book is extremely overwhelming in an emotional way as it compels the reader to give a thought to the rigid boundaries of social mobility that have restricted people in India in a big way. It answers the never asked question which is how can we dilute the social fabric we live in to make it an egalitarian world.