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Naraloka Prarthana: Prayer in the Language of Protest

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Chapter Summary

The poem Naraloka Prarthana remains one of the most profound works of protest literature in Telugu, a language spoken by people of Andhra Pradesh. This literary work, with its revolutionary character, gives the reader many insights with which to think in new ways about the sociology of prayer. The poem has a tripartite structure: sermon, liturgical prayer, The Lord's Prayer. Before Madduri Nageshbabu introduces the concept of the Eleventh Commandment, the poet urges all the Dalit Christians to understand what he calls the 'real gospel'. The language of protest re-frames received theology and becomes the basis for construction of a new Dalit theology centring itself around the concerns and struggles of Dalits in this world. Madduri's poetry obviously shatters neat theoretical models of prayer and their compact separations between the petitionary, conversational or formulaic.

Keywords: Christian gospels; Dalit Christians; Eleventh Commandment; liturgical prayer; Lord's Prayer; Madduri Nageshbabu; Naraloka Prarthana; sermon

10.1163/9789004260498_008
/content/books/b9789004260498s008
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