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The Starved

The Starved

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A layered portraiture of Dalit oppression and ruthless hierarchies in 1980s Odisha

Set against the bucolic landscape of undivided Sambalpur, the play follows five Bajnias – professional rural folk performers – whose lives are pushed into a corner by poverty, social discrimination, addiction and illiteracy. Believed to be conduits connecting ordinary people to the divine, the musicians echo the voices of the gods through the rhythmic play of their instruments. But the decline in folk music and drying farmlands soon become a persistent reality, and the circumstances of those on the fringes devolve from difficult to dire.

Mangalu Charan Biswal's play highlights both the insidious and immediate violence of generational enslavement and casteism, and the wilting landscape of folk art and music. A tale of crippling deprivation and staggering optimism, this revolutionary work of Sambalpuri literature inspects the longevity of hope in the face of adversity and casts a steely gaze on the institutional betrayal of the underprivileged in the country.

Tagged with:

caste / fiction / indian / Mangalu Charan Biswal / Nirjharini Tripathy / plays / Sambalpuri / translation /