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Mahasweta Devi’s Outcast: Four Stories Essay

1737 words - 7 pages

Tribal literature represents a prevailing, emerging trend in the Indian literary scene. This literature is by nature oppositional because of its arching preoccupations with the location of Dalits in the caste-based Hindu society, and their struggles for self-esteem, justice and equality. Tribal literature is perched to obtain a national and an international occurrence as well as to pose a key challenge to the established ideas of what constitutes literature and how we read it. Mahasweta Devi’s writing offers insight, an asset of perceptive; amass of meaning and a base of discourse. Holding the writer’s hand, we can see an entirely diverse world, with her assistance we can seek to comprehend the potential of human accomplishment. Gloom, failure and discontent chiefly in the matter of human relationships do not, however, give rise to complete chaos and anarchy. We perceive the struggles of the protagonists, as gallant efforts that finally bring grandeur to the individual and add dignity to the courage of liberty.
The Dalit/Tribal discourses on human rights in free India based on Ambedkar and Periyar movements infiltrated into literary works of Indian writers and have been gathering momentum. The post-Independence, post-Emergency period witnessed literary works exposing atrocities on Scheduled Castes and Tribes. Though the focus of these writings during the early period was on caste terms, contemporary literary discourse treats it in turns of human rights. Writers in regional lan¬guages, especially in leftist states of West Bengal and Kerala, were in the forefront expressing concern for the human rights violations to the oppressed, especially, Dalits and Tribals.
Dhouli is a short story taken from Outcast: Four Stories by Mahasweta. The story is an acute bystander of the reverie, retribution and remonstration of a tribal dushad woman who is a prey of the unending class, caste and gender exploitation that makes her life a relentless struggle for survival. Dhouli, the tribal girl from an unknown village Taharr of Jharkhand is the example how a low caste tribal girl is forced to be a mother and transformed to be a kept woman by the so called owner of her society. We are informed that the dushad tribe is treated as untouchable by the upper caste masters of the village. They are prohibited to lead their lives at their own will. “What does Dhouli expect? She’s a dushad, an untouchable; did she expect a house or land?” (2)
The Indian socio-economic and political formation is of dominant caste character and hence while exalting foremost val¬ues it dismisses the tribal peoples’ val¬ues, ethnicities and languages as inconsequential and inferior. As a re¬sult, the rights over land, right to livelihood, right to education, cultural rights etc. of collectives such as tribals are violated. They are deprived of their rights by the very same sys¬tem meant to protect them in the name of order, protection, wel¬fare and development. Thus both society and state...

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