So they turn significant events into story, and hold them as saying, as song. But this is a history that has often gone untold. Which means that he is almost fifty when the Indian state comes into being on August 15, Dikus never thought of the adivasis as Indian. They did not draw them into the liberation struggle.
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So they turn significant events into story, and hold them as saying, as song. But this is a history that has often gone untold. Which means that he is almost fifty when the Indian state comes into being on August 15, Dikus never thought of the adivasis as Indian. They did not draw them into the liberation struggle. Among the stories told here, then, is the story of India; what the novel refuses is the way in which allegory enforces an identification between character and reader and nation.
However much it imitates the myth-making tendencies of folklore, and despite or even because of its keen interest in the workings of culture and power, the history told in Chotti Munda and His Arrow is posthegemonic. Chotti himself has an ambivalent relationship to the story-telling and myth-making that surround him. When Dhani dies, killed by the colonial police for breaking an order expelling him from the region, Chotti takes on his legacy and earns a reputation as an archer with a magic arrow who wins tournaments at every local fair.
Will ye? This works in so far as it is a constant reminder of linguistic and cultural difference; the reader—this reader, at least—is always set slightly on edge. But much fluency is also lost, especially given how much the novel relies on dialogue.
It is as though the Mundas are perpetually either slightly taciturn or strangely stuttering, even when talking among themselves. Chotti thus becomes an agent of continuity and tradition over a seventy-five year period three generations in which everything changes and yet nothing changes. Everything changes in that, beyond the departure of the British and the transition to independence, modernity and economic development also transform even this relatively remote landscape of rivers and forests.
Mundas will not be able to live with their identity. Not that the Tribals are simply unwilling victims of these transformations: when feudal, bonded labour is banished it is the landowner who finds himself stuck in the past as his workforce demand that the new law is enforced, and refuse to collect the harvest otherwise, much against his wishes.
If Chotti is not particularly sentimental about the transformations he witnesses and in fact encourages over the course of his long lifetime, it is perhaps because in other ways so little changes. One, named Romeo, had been especially brutal. But if one or a few adivasis kill the Romeos it is an unexpected event. The Romeos kill, they are not killed. This is the rule. At a village festival, in the tense aftermath of the killing of the Youth Congress members, Chotti revives memories of the past as he steps forward to compete in the archery contest.
But first he takes a megaphone and, in front of the local administrator as well as the whole community, shoulders the blame for the murders so as to forestall further violence.
Then he invokes his former teacher, who six decades earlier had taught him both the art of the bow and arrow and the language of rebellion, as he.
To stay true, meself to meself. Chotti comes before the target with light and fast footsteps. Then he shoots, into the target. Then he waits, unarmed. As he waits he mingles with all time and becomes river, folklore, eternal. What only the human can be. Brings all adivasi struggle into the present, today into the united struggle of the adivasi and the outcaste. A very interesting reading! I liked the relationship between Chotti and the river — their role as witness in every age and time.
Sometime, they actively participated in expressing their opinion and some other time they have been simply silent observer, witnessing the struggle. The words are like: O Ganges why are you still silently flowing when there are so much of injustice around.
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Notify me of new posts via email. Menu Skip to content. About Book. Then he invokes his former teacher, who six decades earlier had taught him both the art of the bow and arrow and the language of rebellion, as he says fast in the language of the Mundas, Dhani Munda! Share this: Twitter Facebook Print. Like this: Like Loading Leave a Reply Cancel reply Enter your comment here Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:. Email required Address never made public.
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Chotti Munda and His Arrow
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This is a historical novel depicting the adivasi struggle one of the aboriginal tribes of north east in the twentieth century. The novel was originally written in Bengali and later translated in She has since taught at a number of academic institutions worldwide, most recently at Columbia University. Her critical interests are wide-ranging: she has written on literature, film, Marxism, feminism, deconstruction, historiography, psychoanalysis, colonial discourse and postcolonialism, translation, and pedagogy East and West.
The wide sweep of this important novel encompasses many layers. It ranges over decades in the life of Chotti — the central character - in which India moves from colonial rule to independence and then to the unrest of the s. It probes and uncovers the complex web of social and economic exchange based on power relations. It traces the changes, some forced, some welcome, in the daily lives of a marginalized rural community.