Creation of a female Archetype in Bayen

Arunabha Bose

Vivekananda College, University of Delhi. Email:         

  Volume 1, Number 3, 2016 I Full Text PDF

Article DOI:  10.21659/bp.v1n3.s102


Mahasweta Devi’s fiction explores gender as a category that is not insulated from political formations. Discursive practices of colonial exploitation, superstition, primitivism and Neocolonial operations structure and reconstitute the category of gender. Mahasweta chronicles the lives of aboriginal communities in India’s tribal belt to whom the privileged entitlements of constitutional equality and citizenship are not extended. In the historical formation of the postcolonial nation state these aboriginal communities are lumped together as ethnographic minorities and are excluded from privileged endowments of postcolonial modernity. In Bayen there is an irreducible difference between the narrative of history of the postcolonial nation state which seeks to reverse untouchability through social engineering and the mythological narrative which consumes the woman, Chandi and transforms her into a grotesque spectre. Bayen tries to recuperate the lost subjectivity of the female subaltern subject by recovering the identity and personalised history of the woman, Chandi behind the fearsome spectre of the witch, bayen.

 Keywords: aboriginal, mythology, spectre, Untouchability, Subaltern

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