Bama (writer)

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Bama (writer)
Born Faustina Mary Fatima Rani
1958 (age 56–57)
Pudhupatti, Madras State, India
Nationality Indian
Occupation writer

Bama (born: 1958), also known as Bama Faustina Soosairaj, is a Tamil novelist. She rose to fame with her autobiographical novel Karukku (1992), which chronicles the joys and sorrows experienced by Dalit Christian women in Tamil Nadu.[1] She subsequently wrote two more novels, Sangati (1994) and Vanmam (2002) along with two collections of short stories: Kusumbukkaran (1996) and Oru Tattvum Erumaiyum (2003).[2]

Early life[edit]

Bama was born in 1958 as Faustina Mary Fatima Rani in a Roman Catholic family from Puthupatti in the then Madras State.[1] Bama's grandfather had converted from Hinduism to Christianity.[1] Bama's ancestors were from the Dalit community and worked as agricultural labourers. Her father was employed with the Indian Army.[1] Bama had her early education in her village. On graduation, she served as a nun for seven years.[3]


After serving as a nun for seven years, Bama left the convent and began writing. With the encouragement of a friend, she wrote on her childhood experiences.[1] These experiences formed the basis for her first novel, Karukku published in 1992.[1] When the novel was published, Bama was ostracised from her village for portraying it in poor light and was not allowed to enter it for the next seven months.[3] Karukku was, however, critically acclaimed and won the Crossword Book Award in 2000.[4][5] Bama followed it with Sangati and Kusumbukkaran. Bama got a loan and set up a school for Dalit children in Uttiramerur.[3] Bama's Karukku has been translated to English[4] and Kusumbukkaran and Sangati to French.[1]


Bama's novels focus on caste-based and gender discrimination. They also portray caste-discrimination practised by the religion.Critics like Jaydeep Sarangi and Ram Kumar opine that Bama's works have an internal strength; dalit feminism.


  • Karukku (1992)
  • Sangati (1994)
  • Kusumbukkaran (1996)
  • Vanmam (2002)
  • Oru Tattvum Erumaiyum (2003)


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Dutt, Nirupama. "Caste in her own image". The Tribune. 
  2. ^ "Biography, Tamil Studies conference". Tamil Studies Conference. 
  3. ^ a b c Hariharan, Gita (December 28, 2003). "The hard business of life". The Telegraph. 
  4. ^ a b Kannan, Ramya (4 May 2001). "Tales of an epic struggle". The Hindu. 
  5. ^ Prasad, Amar Nath (2007). Dalit literatuer: A critical exploration. Sarup & Sons. p. 69. 


Jaydeep Sarangi in Conversation with Bama Faustina, muse India::