P. Sivakami

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Palanimuthu Sivakami (born 1957) is an Indian writer writing in Tamil. She is among the most prominent Dalit writers in India.[1]

Early life and education[edit]

Palanimuthu Sivakami was born in Tamil Nadu. Her father, M.Palanimuthu is an independent MLA.[2] Her mother was half-Gujarati and half-Maharashtrian, but since she had grown up in Uttar Pradesh she was more familiar with Hindi.[3] She has graduate and post-graduate degrees in history.[4]


Since 1995, she has been centrally involved in the publication of the literary journal Puthiya Kodangi and has a lively investment in issues that touch Dalit and other backward castes and women in Tamil Nadu.

Sivakami also served in the Indian Administrative Services, working in several capacities, including as district collector, Tuticorn and Vellore, additional secretary (labour), Director of Tourism (GoI) and secretary, Adi-Dravidar and Tribal Welfare. As a steadfast bureaucrat, she served as Special Commissioner, Directorate of Stationary and Printing for Tamil Nadu Govt and Collector in Thoothukudi district of Tamil Nadu.

In 2009 she was a candidate of the Bahujan Samaj Party in the Lok Sabha elections.[5]


She retired from public service and in 2009 founded her own political party, Samuga Samthuva Padai. She describes it as "based on the principles of Dalit educationist and political leader Dr Bhim Rao Ambedkar, it is a forum for social equality."[1] She has experienced caste-based discrimination based on her Dalit identity.[1]


  • Pazhayani Kazhidalum ("In the Grip of Change", 1988)
  • Pazhayani Kazhidalum Asiriyar Kurippu ("Author's Notes for The Grip of Change", 1995)
  • Kurruku Vettu (1999)
  • Ippadiku Ungal Yadharthamulla (1986)
  • Nalum Thodarum (1989)
  • Kadaisi Mandhar (1995)
  • Kadaigal (2004)
  • Udal Arasiyal ("Body Politics", essays)


  1. ^ a b c Pathak, Nilima (26 August 2012). "Sivakami, first Great woman to become a novelist". Gulf News. Retrieved 13 June 2015. 
  2. ^ "Sivakami IAS;". ambedkarambeth.blogspot.in. Retrieved 2017-10-28. 
  3. ^ Tulsi Badrinath (29 January 2015). Madras, Chennai and the Self: Conversations with the City. Pan Macmillan. pp. 24–. ISBN 978-1-5098-0006-3. 
  4. ^ Rajaram, R. (2016-04-28). "Ex-bureaucrat in her second innings". The Hindu. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 2017-10-28. 
  5. ^ Satyanarayana and Tharu (2011). No Alphabet in Sight: Dalit Writing from South Asia. New Delhi: Penguin Books. pp. 295–297. ISBN 978-0-143-41426-1. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Satyanarayana, K & Tharu, Susie (2011) No Alphabet in Sight: New Dalit Writing from South Asia, Dossier 1: Tamil and Malayalam, New Delhi: Penguin Books.
  • Satyanarayana, K & Tharu, Susie (2013) 'From those Stubs Steel Nibs are Sprouting: New Dalit Writing from South Asia, Dossier 2: Kannada and Telugu, New Delhi: HarperCollins India.