Within her work, Devi creates a hybrid linguistic structure through the com-bination of Bengali and English words. When tracked, English is first seen as a tool to strip the tribal people of their power within their own villages. Examin-ing the application and frequency of English terms applied by the colonized, Mary, and the neocolonizer, Tehsildar Singh, reveals how Mary claims agency over her life then reclaims the power asserted by Tehsildar through using some of the imposed English express-ions as her own. Through killing Tehsil-dar in the final moments of the story, Mary is the more powerful character compared with the neocolonizer. Her actions stop, at least in an immediate way, neocolonization from removing her authority in speech and action in her roles as a significant member of the village and as a woman.

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The Hunt, the Predator and the Prey. Snober Sataravala. Unfortunately, often it is the native informant who inadvertently provides the dominant group the obscured information that results in their own marginalization. However colonization is not the prerogative of the west and every reader and writer must introspect and examine the very same tendency within themselves; for even sensitive nascent feminists fighting against their own oppression have within their narratives contained the oppression of the subaltern.

In its essential sense the subaltern represents persons so underprivileged and trapped by their condition that they lack access to either vertical or horizontal mobility. The subaltern cannot speak and hence must be spoken for.

The process of giving the subaltern a voice releases narratives of imprisonment so shocking that the awareness can only lead to subversion of everything that has been accepted as natural till now and hopefully awareness will lead to a revolution, to change.

Equally problematic is— who is speaking for the subaltern and why? Thus, is the author, the reader or the subaltern imprisoned; in a sense they all are. Another important question is why are these literatures being studied? Thus these narratives which speak for others must be examined very closely for what they conceal and what they reveal and whose story they really tell. The relevance of imperialism, to Prof. Spivak emphasizes that the role of literature cannot be neglected as a vehicle which is used for the perpetration of this fallacy.

In short, through the act of writing by those in power who can write , a world is created for people who cannot write. However imperialism and colonization have not been the prerogative of the west and the same applies to literatures about the subalterns who are written into existence from the outside, by people who do not know or live with them, but write of them in a voyeuristic manner, authoring a world which they feel should exist.

Prof Spivak feels that early feminist criticism tends to unconsciously reinforce colonial discourse. No doubt, the Other possesses an ancient history of exploitation, they sympathetically agree, however, in the process what is skirted by this discourse is the covert creation of the East or in this case the subaltern.

However colonization has not been the prerogative of the west and Prof. Spivak is very clear that her intention is not finger pointing and accusation; rather it is a warning and reminder that if brilliant, responsive feminist writers can be found guilty of unconsciously making the mistake of promoting axioms of power and retaining subtle divisions then so can everyone else. Spivak, herself. The danger these writers must wary of is— the fit of nostalgia which provokes the intellectual to search for a glorious future, may cause the intellectual to claim to be the revolutionary, a liberator of the subaltern of which she is clueless.

To echo Hegel and Franz Fanon, the subaltern must liberate itself even if it means a life and death struggle. In addition, as part of the intellectually elite writing community, will these authors be able to unlearn privilege — or are they merely fooling themselves?

Perhaps privilege cannot be unlearnt and therefore it must used with awareness, responsibility and caution to help others. As readers and lovers of English literature how can they shrug off the hold which the language has with its subtly encoded alienation and foreign culture to enable the shift from informers to writers?

To read Jane Eyre with suspicion, according to Prof. Spivak, would mean to notice the point of view of St. My great work? My hopes of being numbered in the band who have merged all ambitions in the glorious one of bettering their race—of carrying knowledge into the realms of ignorance—of substituting peace for war—freedom for bondage—religion for superstition—the hope of heaven for the fear of hell? The brilliance of Wide Sargasso Sea is that it marks the limits of its discourse through the character of Christophine, who ironically is a native slave who does not belong, the most human and the most commodified, who will practice black rituals to save the mistress she is loyal to but not to enslave her, who recognizes the inadequacy of the British legal system to protect the Other yet will not refrain from caustically telling them like it is, and leaves like St.

Consequently, Spivak finds in Christophine another tangential narrative, a narrative that is not enclosed within the text but moves centrifugally away from the centre. Literature itself, and its readers are hegemonic when caught in the history of imperialism and an alien law is established as truth where the Native becomes the Other in their own land. Thus the classics we learn and prescribe can unconsciously reinforce feelings of inadequacy and therefore a naive rearrangement of syllabi is not enough.

According to Spivak, to go one step further, one must research government archives of imperial governance to unravel instances of soul making. Similarly, one must return to the archives and re read the narratives about the subalterns be it the women, widows, tribals or dalits to understand how the new breed of Indian bourgeois or babus plotted to retain their position of power.

The monster in Frankenstein flees to immolate himself but earlier he had burnt down the house where the De Laceys lived, invoking recurring images of violence.

Spivak confesses the constraints on her and the method she employs; as she is simultaneously writing for a dual audience, American and Indian. The title of the book itself, Imaginary Maps, points to division, not just within India but without as well, and hence the maps are imaginary, for although Mahasweta Devi is Indian she speaks for subalterns all over the world and barriers and divisions exist everywhere.

It is this very awareness that heightens her responsibility to ensure that neither Mahasweta Devi nor Mary Oraon becomes a commodity, exotic and on display. We encounter Mary at this stage.

She is 18, stunningly beautiful and confident because of her self-reliance and yet unmarried because although she has the protection of the tribe she does not entirely belong, as she is the illegitimate child of Mr. Dixon who impregnated her simple trusting mother Bhikni and then abandoned her. This serves as an allegory for colonization. The East India Company came on the premises of trade and friendship and betrayed that trust by turning into oppressors which they disguise in their narratives as a civilizing mission.

Mary is initially Christian and then not, because deep down tribals are tribals, receptacles and preservers of ancient tradition which has nothing to do with religion. One colonizer leaves to be supplanted by another, the bourgeoisie, as was the case in Wide Sargasso Sea. However the person they now attempt to colonize does not trust and hence will not be trapped.

The story is divided into three sections which loosely correlate to the events of the past, present and inevitably the future. The vision of the future which is her freedom comes from the license her mixed blood gives her. The second section captures the rape of the forest which mirrors or foreshadows the attempted rape of Mary in section three. There is a wonderful inversion here; in the earlier three texts, the colonized, be it Bertha, Antoinette or the monster, are all at some point or the other depicted as being animal-like and hence not worthy of justice.

Part three describes the festival of the hunt. The red that Mary sees is the red or passion she uses to bait the big beast. She makes the hunt an act of sexuality where she becomes the man and the weapon she negotiates is her phallus. As if she has made the biggest kill.

These recurring themes through the texts, provoke the uncomfortable question, can violence be justified? The counter questions which automatically rear their heads are— to what extent, after that what and when will it cease? To Mahaweta Devi the Tehsildar represents the mainstream, whether it is the contractor, the producer, the distributor, the administration, basically all forms of corruption that have taken advantage of and tried to exploit the tribals or subalterns.

However to an outsider, the reader, violence can be understood, sympathized with but it can never be justified. I am proud of this. The fourth speaks for everyone who could not. How was it possible for Christophine and Mary to break free when it is not possible for so many others?

How was Mary able to shift from being the prey to the predator, the hunted to the hunter? How does she cease to be the subaltern? Jane Eyre. Devi, Mahasweta. Imaginary Maps. Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak. Calcutta: Thema, Interview by Spivak. Morton, Stephen. London and New York: Routledge, Rhys, Jean. Wide Sargasso Sea. London: Penguin, Rohlf, Michael, Edward N. Zalta ed. Fall Edition, Web. Shakespeare, William. The Tempest. The Arden Shakespeare 3. Shelley, Mary. New York: Random House, Spivak, Gayatri Chakravorty.

By Mahasweta Devi. Critical Inquiry "Race," Writing, and Difference : History and Theory 3 : Related Papers. By Amit Ray. Gayatri spivak three womens texts and a critique of imperialism. By Rouia Boukrit. By Kaustav Bakshi. Download pdf. Remember me on this computer.


Mahasweta Devi’s Mary Oraon: Balancing Language and Identity

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Mahaswetha Devi's "The Hunt"




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