Gogu Shyamala

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Gogu Shyamala
Occupation Writer, activist
Known for Dalit short stories

Gogu Shyamala is a Telugu language writer and women's activist.[1] She is also a prominent Dalit writer.[2][3]


Gogu Shyamala was born in 1969 in Peddemul village in Ranga Reddy district. Her parents are agricultural workers. She was also the leader of a vetti (unpaid labour) team that worked for the local landlord.[4][5] She has stated that her brother Ramachandra was forced into agricultural labour, but she was the only one of her three siblings who obtained higher education.[6] Financial constraints initially prevented her from enrolling in college, however she eventually obtained a Bachelor of Arts from the Bhim Rao Ambedkar Open University.[6]


She is a senior fellow at the Anweshi Centre for Women Studies.[7] she writes for publications like Bhumika, Prasthanam, Pratighatana, Mana Telangana, Praja Kala Mandali and Nigha.


In an interview in 2016, Gogu Shyamala described her awakening consciousness to casteism and discrimination in India as an adult, noting “I never realized that there was any discrimination as a kid. It was after growing up that I discovered it."[6] As a student leader, she protested living conditions and food provisions in her hostel.[6] In college, she became an activist with the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist), but since parted from them following the Tsundur massacre.[6] She identifies herself as a Dalit feminist.[6]

Following the suicide of a Dalit student at the University of Hyderabad, Rohith Vemula, Gogu Shyamala made several statements in support of Vemula and his family, calling for greater participation from the English media on questions of caste and feminism.[8]

Her current work at the Anveshi Centre for Women's Studies focuses on creating biographies of significant Dalit female political leaders.


A review of some of herstories in translation described Gogu Shyamala's writing as having "an evidently oral quality," which created detailed and authentic portraits of the people and situations she describes.[9] This "oral quality" has been described as "the most striking thing" about her collection of short stories, Father May Be An Elephant And Mother Only A Small Basket, But...which was translated into English from the original Telugu in 2012.[10]



  • Father May Be An Elephant And Mother Only A Small Basket, But...[11] (New Delhi: Navayana, 2012)
  • Tataki Wins Again & Brave Heart Badeyya (Kottayam, DC Books, 2008)[12]


  • Nene Balaanni: T.N.Sadalakshmi bathuku katha (Hyderabad: Hyderabad Book Trust, 2011)
  • Vaada pillala kathalu (Hyderabad, Anveshi, 2008)
  • “Gender Consciousness in Dalit Women’s Literature.” Gender Pratiphalanaalu. Gender Consciousness and its Consequences (Warangal: Kakatiya University, 2005)

Edited Volumes[edit]

  • Co-editor, Nallaregatisallu: Maadiga, Maadiga Upakulala Adolla Kathalu (Furrows in Black Soil: Short Stories of Maadiga and Sub-castes’ Women) (Hyderabad, Sabbanda Maisawa Publications, 2006) .

External links[edit]