October 1, 2023


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Essay: Tribal and Agrarian Revolution in Colonial and Postcolonial India- Mahasweta Devi’s Two Novels by Aju Mukhopadhyay

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Poet, Author and Critic  Aju Mukhopadhyay  writes about two novels by Mahasweta Devi- history and story of Tribal Peasant revolution /movement in India during the pre and post colonial period in India in two different region covering not only art and narrative of the novels but the history and background of the tribal revolution.


The original inhabitants of India, called Adivasi or aboriginals by others, have been persecuted and evicted from their land since the spread of civilisation by the interested people, both Indians and foreigners, mostly because they lagged behind in their civilised makeup; weaker in strength and organisation and not prepared to fight the civilised usurpers who conquering by force gradually evicted them. The most obvious reason was that they never could dream of such a situation hence were not prepared, not adventurous enough to wrongfully rob others’ wealth and other rights. It is in general the history of the civilised world. When persecution reached      a very high level many of them in different countries revolted and fought to establish their rights though mostly failed to get back what they had lost. The ‘First Citizens’ of America represent the group. It happened in Australia and in some other lands.

     Mahasweta Devi had her first love for such persecuted Adivasi people. While her Aranyer Adhikar or Right to Forest relates to a period towards the end of the nineteenth century under the colonial rule of the British, her Bashai Tudu covers mainly the Naxalite movement in its original phase in the north of West Bengal from about 1967 to 1977 during the postcolonial period. Thus the two people’s movements, the base of her two novels under discussion relate to both colonial and postcolonial phases in the modern history of India. 

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