The Power of Subaltern Memory in Mahasweta Devi’s Bedanabala. Her Life Her Times

Quleen Kaur Bijral & Vandana Sharma

Department of Languages and Literature, Shri Mata Vaishno Devi University, Katra, J&K. Email:

  Volume 1, Number 3, 2016 I Full Text PDF

Article DOI:  10.21659/bp.v1n3.s106


The novel “Bedanabala. Her Life. Her Times” is an uncompromising narrative of Indian society which despite being ridden with tales of oppression, is but strategically eclipsing these tales in the chapters of official epistemologies. The paper vis-a-vis this novel aims to address the representation of a subaltern as an outcast in the backdrop of India’s Independence movement, rise of nationalistic or elitist patriotism, and strides of modernism which but do not surface in the underbelly of India’s oppressive customs of social discrimination. The paper also aims to address the subversive significance of Orality as in the subaltern memories which in the novel are recollected by Bedanabala to attack the universalised, provincial and exclusive confines of Indian historiography. Why the pages of elite history ignore the voice of the subaltern? How this annihilation of subaltern story is detrimental to the making of subaltern identity? Finally, how to ensure these undocumented stories are invoked to author subaltern histories and thereby reinstate subaltern as a maker than an outcast of society and its history.

 Keywords: Sublatern Memory, history, Orality, Mahasweta Devi

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