The history of tribal oppression in India is an old one. “The Sanyasi Revolt”, “The Wahabi Movement”, and “The Naxalbari Rebellion”, are evidence of the tribal outcry that appropriately foregrounds their requirement for fundamental rights as citizens of the country. Even after sixty six years of independence, India’s rural poor and tribals are lamenting under the curbing effects of destitution, unemployment, undernourishment, illiteracy and human trafficking. For these people, the notions of liberty, equality and democracy have no meaning at all. Though the country is free from the bondage of foreign rule, their repression and prejudices still continue leaving them dependent on their new masters.
However, partly due to their biological sexual difference and the socio-cultural surroundings to which they belong, the consequences of these above mentioned social evils are much more on women, especially subaltern women. Giving voice to such oppressed subalterns, the gendered subaltern (women of the deprived sections) and Indian women in general, Gayatri Chakvarty Spivak says: “For if, in the context of colonial production, the subaltern has no history and cannot speak, the subaltern as female is even more deeply in shadow.” During her analysis of Sati she concludes her essay “can the subaltern” with her declaration that “the subaltern cannot speak” (Ashcroft, Griffths, and Tiffins 218-219).
Mahasweta Devi, always writes for deprived section of people. She is a loving daughter, a clerk, a lecturer, a journalist, an editor, a novelist, a dramatist and above all an ardent social activist. Her stories bring to the surface not only the misery of the completely ignored tribal people, but also articulate the oppression of women in the society. Her short fiction “Draupadi”, is primarily, the story of a Santhal tribal woman raped by men in power, that is, her sexual torture in police custody. Rape is considered as a bolt on the forehead of an innocent woman. As it is given:
Rape is worse than death
Rape is always spoken through the lips of dead women
For a live woman rape means dishonor
Silence is the only choice for a victim
Rarely do families give victims the space to speak about their condition
Rape would not have happened without to it approval of the state
(qtd. in Hameed 312)
In the present paper, an attempt has been made to show how Dopdi, a tribal woman, brutally raped, resists the typical silence adopted by many women in our country. It is worth mentioning that various other Indian women writers forayed into the realm of writing essays, novels, poetry etc. to give voice to the silent screaming of a woman’s soul that is common all round the world wherever women exist in a patriarchal system of society. The misery of a tribal woman as compared to aristocratic woman is far more dreadful. Rape, is the worst recognization of sexual violence against women. Giving all the vital information about the famous criminal Draupadi right...