Have You Met a Writer with No Formal Education? #WATWB

To spread peace and humanity on social media, a few of us have worked together to create  We are the World Blogfest , which is here with its 17th edition.

 wonderful bloggers helping cohost this month:Eric Lahti, Inderpreet Uppal, Shilpa Garg, Sylvia Stein Peter Nena . Go visit them please, and thank them for their hard work behind the scenes.

In the spirit of spreading good news and cheer, I’d like to share with you this story: Former rickshaw-puller inks big book deal

 The We are The World Blogfest Community Page on Facebook will continue to show links to the various blog posts. So you don't have to hurry through.

Rickshaws are still a popular means of transport in some parts of suburban India, and yes, a Dalits are still a marginalised populace, poor economic support and ‘untouchability’ being only a part of the injustices they face.

Pic Credit (the Hindu)

I’m heartened that Manoranjan Byapari‘s voice will be heard widely in India and abroad–his stories and the stories from his community are needed in order to bring an awareness of the injustices that still happen in many parts of India due to the heinous practice of casteism.

He’s a writer with no formal education, and his journey is all the more remarkable for that.

He’s done all sorts of jobs from a cattle grazer, to a night guard, sweeper, cook, attendant at a cremation ground, a goon, writer, editor — and I hope he is able to do what he has worked towards: write, and speak about his life.

If you can spare the time, watch this documentary–heartbreaking and heartwarming in equal measure.

Have you heard of Manoranjan Byapari? Do you know a writer without a formal education? What jobs have you held down in life?


If you’d like to take part in this blogfest, sign up in the WE ARE THE WORLD Blogfest Linky List below and please help spread the word on social media via the hashtag #WATWB.


  1. Keep your post to below 500 words.
  2. All we ask is you link to a human news story on your blog on the last Friday of each month, one that shows love and humanity.
  3. Join us in sharing news that warms the cockles of our heart. No story is too big or small, as long as it goes beyond religion and politics, into the core of humanity.
  4. Place the WE ARE THE WORLD BLOGFEST Badge on your sidebar, and help us spread the word on social media. Tweets, Facebook shares, G+ shares using the #WATWB hashtag through the month most welcome. More We Are the World Blogfest signups mean more friends, love and light for all of us.
  5. We’ll read and comment on each others’ posts, get to know each other better, and hopefully, make or renew some friendships with everyone who signs on as participants in the coming months.
  6. Add your post HERE so we can all find it quickly.

 The We are The World Blogfest Community Page on Facebook will continue to show links to the various blog posts. So you don’t have to hurry through. You can always enjoy one a day. Like the page and share your posts on the thread for the purpose.

We Are the World Blogfest

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Add Yours
  1. aj vosse

    I keep saying I’m a storyteller and not a writer. I believe I have to do it my way… otherwise I’ll be trying to be someone else.
    I once enrolled in a “creative writing” online course… only to realise after the second tutorial and assignment feedback that the tutor was not on my wavelength… and wanted to mold me into a style dummy. Sorry… I kept getting told to have my own voice… how on earth can I manage that if you tell me to do it your way??
    I’ve often asked – would you dare tell Dali, or Hemingway… or Picasso or Samuel Beckett or Francis Bacon how to do their art??
    So… no, I have no formal writing/ storytelling schooling – apart from grammar lessons at school… and my editor, who happens to be my good lady wife! 😉 (School was so long ago I can’t even remember who taught me…)

    • Damyanti Biswas

      This guy has had no access to school or grammar or any of that. Which is what makes his story even more remarkable.

  2. Pavan R Chawla

    Lovely piece, and a great thought too. Writing is about feeling, noticing, and sharing in the simplest of words and shortest of sentences. Think, and wrote, simply and straight, as the crow flies. Being honest and empathetic doesn’t necessitate a formal training in writing. Thanks

    • Damyanti Biswas

      Not only does this writer have no formal training in writing, he doesn’t have any formal education at all–no school or grammar.

  3. Shalzmojo

    I havent heard of this story but grateful to have read it on your blog! Thank you for sharing something so so wonderful! Wish him a lot of luck and success in his life!

    • Damyanti Biswas

      Thanks, Shalini. Glad that this story moved you. I hope Mr Byapari finds widespread renown.

  4. Sarvana

    Author with no educational background! I am forcing my self to believe this because it is now true and thats happening.

  5. Crystal Collier

    Love that! You definitely don’t have to be a formally trained writer to tell stories. =)

  6. jmh

    I hadn’t heard of him, so thanks for sharing his story. What a wonderful story it is! I wish him much success.

  7. cleemckenzie

    Fascinating story! I’ve never met an author without formal education–at least I don’t think so, but coming to a place via a different route probably brings a fresh perspective. I loved meeting Manoranjan Byapari.

  8. BWitzenhausen

    What a fantastic story! Manoranjan is amazing and it goes to show that life can teach you much more than a formal education. Thanks so much for posting this and for being the backbone of #WATWB! 🙂 Have a fantastic weekend.

  9. maureenjenner

    A story to make headlines – except that it won’t, immediately, but one day we may hear a resounding ‘thank you’ for this early introduction. It’s great to hear that someone has made such a leap up the ladder of success after what must have been daunting beginnings. I hope it serves to act as a spur to all who are still struggling.

  10. Peter Nena

    Wow! Some people come from too far and achieve the extraordinary. Life is strange but people are stranger. Thanks for sharing Manoranjan’s story. He has travelled a long journey.

  11. jlennidorner

    That’s an amazing story. And such a worthy topic to bring into light. There are so many wonderful stories out there, and not all of them come from people who attended an Ivy League college. Bravo for this post!

  12. Shilpa Garg

    What an amazing and extra-ordinary story. Manoranjan’s life story is awe-inspiring. Thanks for sharing about him. Will look out for his books/stories.

  13. writershilpa

    After all that he went through in his life, Manoranjan deserves being a published writer! I had goosebumps listening to his story! 🙁

  14. hilarymb

    Thanks Damyanti – what an amazing story … we just never know where life is going to take us. I had a look at his Wikipedia page and at the Dalit page too … giving me more information. The internet has done wonders for many in the world … and Manoranjan definitely deserves to have his writing and his books publicised. Great post – fabulous to read about … cheers Hilary

  15. dgkaye

    A beautiful and inspirational story Damyanti. We don’t all need a formal education if we have the gift of storytelling. <3

  16. Mary Giese

    Wonderful story, Damyanti. It’s heartening to see Manoranjan rise from life’s trials to tell his story and become a successful writer. Such a huge accomplishment for him!

    • Damyanti Biswas

      Well said, Susan. I’m so happy for Mr Byapari, and hunting his books out.

  17. Susan Scott

    An extraordinary story Damyanti thank you for sharing it. I love Manoranjan’s face – and can almost feel the pain of the hardships he experienced. I’ll finish watching the video later.

    • Damyanti Biswas

      I agree. If he can get on with life, and find success, we have no business cribbing about tiny daily issues.

      I loved your WATWB story as well, Roshan, and wondered how we can help.

  18. Terveen Gill

    The man is a living example of ‘triumph over tragedy’. His life is a harsh and fascinating story itself. The beauty of his writings has bloomed from the harshness of his adversities. A very heart touching journey…

    • Damyanti Biswas

      Exactly. You put it so well.

      Thanks for stopping by, and your comment.

  19. Sonia Chatterjee

    I am spellbound. I guess we are all storytellers in our own way. I have two post graduate degrees – one in Chemistry and another in Management yet all I am trying to do now is make my mark as an writer..

    • Damyanti Biswas

      You’re doing very well 😊. All of us have our own journeys as people and as writers. All we can do is support each other, and take inspiration from authors like Byapari.

  20. Vasantha Vivek

    Congrats for his writing and wishes for his bright future. People like him should be taken as role model for our younger generation. Thanks for sharing, D!

    • Damyanti Biswas

      I’m looking for the books he has already published, and hope to read the ones from Westland once they come out, too.

  21. The Words Kraft

    Writing, I feel is a skill that’s inherent. You can teach Grammar and syntactical coherence, but the choice of words to spell a magic is something that originates deep within. Formal education helps you with a direction and a degree of acknowledgment. To certify that this person is fomally English educated. Doesn’t mean he could write Novels.

    • Damyanti Biswas

      Absolutely agree. Talent can be nourished, not created–and there’s some degree of talent in each of us. I’m gobsmacked at this writer’s abilities to persevere against the odds and keep his voice and creativity alive.

  22. Modern Gypsy

    I hadn’t come across this story. But it’s a testament to writing being about the stories we tell rather than the necessity for formal creative writing certifications. I’ll look out for his books.

    • Damyanti Biswas

      Yes Shinjhini, I think he has lived a varied, intense life, and has the inherent gift of storytelling. What awes me is that despite all the suffering and at times, violence, he has not just taught himself to read and write, but also decided to keep his creativity alive.

    • Damyanti Biswas

      Neither do I, Simon. Storytellers are born–they can be supported and nurtured, not created from scratch.

      What is doubly impressive about this author is that he had no access to education at all, and is a self-taught man–all the way from the alphabet to reading and writing political discourse.

    • Damyanti Biswas

      It is very sad, but also uplifting. If a man who has lost a sister to famine, suffered sexual abuse as a teen, turned a goon, and then become a writer and editor with no access to formal education–it is a story of the tremendous human power of redemption and of the potency of a strong will.

      So good to see you back, Michelle. Hope you’re doing well!

      • macjam47

        Thanks, Damyanti. It’s good to be back. It’s been a crazy busy time with computer issues, email issues, watching my two little granddaughters (1 yr, 4 yrs) while my son and his lovely wife celebrated their 10th anniversary, oldest son and his family moved from Boston back to Ohio (just a short 15 minute drive from our home). Our oldest grandson was here for 2 weeks before he headed off to college and the younger grandson started a new school and made the high school varsity soccer team, so Grammie and Grampie are busy now going to watch him. I think I’m finally going to be able to settle into a routine again. Hugs my friend.

        • Damyanti Biswas

          Wow, looks like you have been busy but mostly with family blessings–so good that you get to spend time with the grandkids, even though it might just be a bit tiring out, at times. You must be happy to have your oldest son and his family nearby!

          Congratulations to your grandsons– on the college admission and making it into varsity soccer team—that must make you guys so proud. And congratulations on the tenth anniversary to your other son…that’s a milestone worth celebrating. My husband and I had a nice getaway for our tenth and I have fond memories of the time.

          Like I said before, I’m happy to have you back–missed you! Take care. Hope to stay in touch from now on.