Gendered Subalternity and Intersectionality in Mahasweta Devi's After Kurukshetra, Contextualized in her wider Activism and Writing
MetadataShow full item record
This thesis focuses on a collection of short stories by writer and activist Mahasweta Devi, After Kurukshetra. The three stories borrow sub-narratives from the famous Indian epic, Mahabharata, but are rewritten around identities that the mainstream marginalizes. The protagonists of “Kunti and the Nishadin”, “The Five Women”, and “Souvali” are placed in subordinate positions in society as depicted through the epic. These women characters of women of lower castes and lower classes remain unspoken for in mainstream versions of the mythology. The essay untangles the complexities of the fictive characters’ identities with these markers of gender, caste and class, understanding the intersectionality of their identities. It also analyses them as gendered subalterns, using and questioning Gayatri Spivak’s conceptualization. The thesis also contextualizes the analysis of the stories against the larger background of Devi’s literary oeuvre and activism with tribals and Adivasis in India. It does so by attempting an intertextual reading of the epic contrasted with Mahasweta Devi’s retellings with emphasis on the narration and elements such as folklore and oral tradition.