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Imaginary Maps

Imaginary Maps

  • Author: Mahasweta Devi, Gayatri Spivak
  • Publisher: Thema
  • ISBN: 9789381703182
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For Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, translating Mahasweta Devi, the activist-novelist, has been part of what she considers a 'habit of mind - a vision of impossible justice through attention to specificity' that ' may draw a reader to Marx, to Mahasweta, and to Derrida,' three major points of interest in Spivak's radical negotiations with literature and politics.

In The Hunt, Mary Oraon, tribal daughter of a white planter, who 'put Mary in her mother's womb' before leaving for Australia, comes to 'activate ritual into contemporary resistance' as she kills her mainstream exploiter-cum-potential rapist as part of the Jani Parab, when every thirteen year it is the turn of the women to perform the spring festival of the hunt. In Douloti, one of Mahasweta Devi's most probing exposures of bondslavery in India, Douloti has to pay through life for a loan of three hundred rupees taken by her father, raising over forty thousand rupees for her masters by the time she dies at the age of twenty-seven - 'The human smile on the face of the unknown skeleton had the innocence of a field of grain - shattered by years of prostitution and the diseases that they bring in their train. In Pterodactyl, Puran Sahay and Pirtha, a tribal community, drought-striken and destitute, confronts a pterodactyl that appears to them as the discontented soul of their ancestors, and a concerned journalist bears witness to the encounter - till the prehistoric bird dies. 

A long interview with the author and two texts by the translator herself offer invaluable insights into these three outstanding works of contemporary indian fiction.

Tagged with:

Bengali / fiction / Gayatri Spivak / indian / Mahasweta Devi / translation /