WRITINGS FROM THE MARGINS
MEG 13 Free Solved Assignment
MEG 13 Free Solved Assignment July 2021 & Jan 2022
a) Dalit Movement
Ans. The term Dalit is a self-applied concept for those called the “untouchables” and others that were outside of the traditional Hindu caste hierarchy.
Economist and reformer B. R. Ambedkar (1891-1956) said that untouchability came into Indian society around 400 CE, due to the struggle for supremacy between Buddhism and Brahmanism (an ancient term for Brahmanical Hinduism).
Some Hindu priests befriended untouchables and were demoted to low-caste ranks. Eknath, another excommunicated Brahmin, fought for the rights of untouchables during the Bhakti period.
In the late 1880s, the Marathi word ‘Dalit’ was used by Mahatma Jotiba Phule for the outcasts and Untouchables who were oppressed and broken in the Hindu society.
Dalit is a vernacular form of the Sanskrit aud (dalita). In Classical Sanskrit, this means “divided, split, broken, scattered”. MEG 13 Free Solved Assignment
This word was repurposed in 19th-century Sanskrit to mean “la person) not belonging to one of the four Brahminic castes”.
It was perhaps first used in this sense by Pune-based social reformer Jyotirao Phule, in the context of the oppression faced by the erstwhile “untouchable” castes from other Hindus.
The term dalits was in use as a translation for the British Raj census classification of Depressed Classes prior to 1935 but as never shown to people it was recently put in use since the past Orissa Parliament renamed SC/ST to Dalits.
It was popularised by Ambedkar, himself a Dalit, who included all depressed people irrespective of their caste into the definition of Dalits.
It covered people who were excluded from the four-fold varna system of Hinduism and thought of themselves as forming a fifth varna, describing themselves as Panchama.
In the 1970s its use was invigorated when it was adopted by the Dalit Panthers activist group. MEG 13 Free Solved Assignment
Socio-legal scholar Oliver Mendelsohn and political economist Marika Vicziany wrote in 1998 that the term had become “intensely political … While the use of the term might seem to express appropriate solidarity with the contemporary face of Untouchable politics, there remain major problems in adopting it as a generic term.
Although the word is now quite widespread, it still has deep roots in a tradition of political radicalism inspired by the figure of B. R. Ambedkar.”
They went on to suggest that its use risked erroneously labelling the entire population of untouchables in India as being united by a radical politics.
Anand Teltumbde also detects a trend towards denial of the politicised identity, for example among educated middle-class people who have converted to Buddhism and argue that, as Buddhists, they cannot be Dalits.
This may be due to their improved circumstances giving rise to a desire not to be associated with the what they perceive to be the demeaning Dalit masses.
b) Metaphor of the tree in Changia Rukh
Ans. Changiya Rukh is the story of a Dalit’s angst of deprivation, social exclusion and humiliation, as wel as of resistance, achievement and hope.
Born in 1955 in the Ad Dharmi caste, a category of the Chamar caste of ex-untouchables, Balbir Madhopuri is a Panjabi poet with two collections of poems, Maroothal the Birkh (Tree of the Desert, 1998) and Bhakhda Pataal (The Smouldering Netherworlds, 1992).
B.R. Ambedkar pointed out to M. K. Gandhi that the most serious evil in Hinduism was not the practice of caste hierarchy and exclusion as such, but the upholding of the caste system as a religious idea. MEG 13 Free Solved Assignment
Madhopuri objects to the obsession with religion and spiritualism among Dalits as an escapist distraction from the larger project of social democracy.
Contrary to the Ambedkar’s idea of political solidarity of Dalits, they are oriented towards distinct caste-based religious identity.
Changiya Rukh is a powerful commentary on the intimate otherness of India’s subaltern sections of population. Its translation into English has added beauty to Balbir Madhopuri’s superb literary creation.
Chhaangya Rukh (Against the Night) as the title of Balbir Madhopuri’s autobiography is significant.
It means a tree lopped from the top, slashed and dwarfed.
Madhopuri uses it as a metaphor for the Dalit or an ‘untouchable Indian, whose potential for growth has been ‘robbed by the Hindu social order’.
Significantly, the lopped tree also denotes its inherent and defiant resilience by its persistent act to bring forth fresh branches and leaves! MEG 13 Free Solved Assignment
Q 2 Critically analyse the poem “Jasmine Creeper under a Banyan Tree’.
Ans. Adigopula Venkatratnam’s Telugu poem “Jasmine Creeper Under a Banyan Tree” is a poem that depicts the humiliation of a Dalit boy.
The poet recounts moments of tremendous suffering in the young protagonist’s life. These events introduces the reader to the disparity that exists between the wealthy and the poor.
The metaphor of the creeper not being able to grow beyond a point in the title has its own ideological basis.
Maintenance and nourishment are meaningless in this context; instead, they convey a story of gradual death.
Simply surviving is not a smart approach in any event; it should show the potential of awareness, if not a specific concept of development.
Whereas the word “Jasmine” conjures up images of beauty and smell, the word “creeper” conjures up images of suppleness confined by a weak and powerless trunk.
These ladies have a lot in common with women who don’t have a regular career. The banyan tree, on the other hand, is a protective umbrella that shields, covers, and shelters.
It’s worth noting that the banyan tree’s three characteristics all relate to a superior, if not arrogant, attitude. MEG 13 Free Solved Assignment
The feeling of being deeply important, far reaching, and mature is concealed in the banyan tree.
When taken as a whole, the title may point to a structure that humanity built to live beneath and be comfortable in due of the building’s solidity.
The title of the poem alludes to the benefits of caste system, which assigns particular occupations to each caste.
The shudras must make the life of the higher castes pleasant if Brahmins are to offer thinking and perspective.
The lower and higher castes complement one other in the hierarchy, allowing the system to endure for a long period.
The poem, on the other hand, contradicts this title and criticises it for its shallowness and unreliability.
The line “no lack of experiences” appears at the start of the poem. Torture and neglect have occurred on many occasions. MEG 13 Free Solved Assignment
The brutality of repeated tortures is not hidden by any “famine.” Suppression produces its own kind of insult, and if left unchecked for a long period, it becomes a lethal chemical.
Make a note of the mother of the kid rushing from one home to the next in order to obtain a glass of milk for her son.
Her only job is to feed the kid so that he may grow into a promising young man in the future. In the poem’s harsh environment, the kid needs more than just a body.
He is unable to attend school until he is properly dressed. The reader is informed that farming and education are out of the question since he is unable to properly protect his body.
The teacher must preserve decorum at school and must send him back since he is missing his knickers. The silence is deafening when it comes to “the teacher’s ruling.”
The child’s only purpose is to knead the mud in the hopes of making it suitable for the bricks that will be hardened in a fire. MEG 13 Free Solved Assignment
A few elements are concealed from the reader’s perspective because they seem to be too graphic to be seen.
As a result, we only know that he was “imprisoned/ in a cow shed, like a cattle for two whole days!” for some reason.
The abuse continues, and the kid is turned over to the police, who accuse him of committing larceny. In this case, the master wants to be the owner of the bonded laborer’s kid.
The next element is that of the father, who was discovered dead in his cabin or in the fields. This was subsequently discovered to be a suicide attempt by the father.
These events are described as a “river of humiliations” by the narrator, but they are obviously more than that.
The reader is informed towards the conclusion of the poem that the master’s shelter for sheltering the father and son is best represented as a banyan tree.
The father-son team will be able to survive while not dying” as a result of this.
The child’s last words are directed to the master, who should brag to the world that he kept the father and son alive by providing them with shade and food.
The poem has large gaps, with numerous half-sentences amplifying the effect.
The small distinction between “living” and “growing” adds to the poem’s impact, which becomes a harsh condemnation of societal hierarchy that denies freedom to those who are so vital to its maintenance and sustenance.MEG 13 Free Solved Assignment
The poem has a powerful charge of feeling under the surface of words that will not be satisfied with just recognising the reality of the arrangement.
The story depicts a complete rejection of the refuge and its well-established providers.
Q 3 Comment on the issue discussed in the novel Kocharethi:The Araya Woman.
Ans. The temptation to exoticise cultures that have not been commodified yet must be indeed tempting, especially to a cultural insider.
Narayan, Kerala’s first tribal novelist, manages to avoid the pitfalls of both romanticisation and the now-classic postcolonial move of making the misery of the marginalised the sole literary theme in Kocharethi, a novel about the processes of cultural transformation and the hidden poetry of marginal lives.
The story of the Malayaraya adivasi community is synecdochically focused through the lives of Kunjipennu and her husband Kochuraman, set in the first half of the 20th century in the Western Ghats, in the pepperrich border area of present-day Keralam and Tamil Nadu.
Kunjipennu inaugurates the key theme of cultural change by refusing to marry her maternal uncle’s son. Instead, she falls in love and weds Kochuraman.
After a disaster – their home and only son burn down in a forest fire – they face unmitigated poverty. MEG 13 Free Solved Assignment
Drought and torrential rain torment the entire community as every single Araya slides deeper into debt and drink. Kochuraman is no exception.
Usual culprits :-
Into this potent mix step the usual exploiters masquerading as benefactors and state-appointed guardians: moneylenders, landlords, the businessmen and the police who are naturally allied with the landlords.
The Arayas who make attempts at resistance are beaten, while their land slips away from their grasp through the unholy conjunction of the upper-castes and the upper classes.
A measure of joy comes into the lives of Kunjipennu and Kochuraman in the form of their daughter Parvati.
The arrival of a teacher in the village marks the start of another transformation as the Araya children begin to go to school. Parvati gets through college and finds a job in Kochi.
She marries against her parents’ wishes and slowly breaks her connections with the community. MEG 13 Free Solved Assignment
Kochuraman, whose career of drinking has wrecked their lives, now falls ill and has to be treated in the city.
Kunjipennu is forced to go as well. Supported by Parvati’s husbands and friends the hospitalization proceeds, but both Kochuraman and Kunjipennu discover that he requires surgery and, mortally scared of modern medicine, escape from the hospital.
Kocharethi is a novel that opens as ethnography, minutely detailing the lives and customs of a community.
In the early stages the individual lives of characters are subsumed under the collective biography but as the tale proceeds they acquire greater textual flesh-and-blood.
It is a novel about a community’s transition to modernity that requires them to not only abandon older ways of living, but whose transition is rarely voluntary but is imposed on them through poverty, MEG 13 Free Solved Assignment
dubious and discriminatory modes of development that benefit the upper-caste landlords and the corrupt state machinery (embodied in the novel, as it usually is in postcolonial fiction and film, in the police).
Numerous transformations are documented for us. Kunjipennu breaks gender roles initially by her choice of husband.
The community as a whole is forced out of their traditional skill-sets and labour practices by poverty (a theme that echoes activist C.K. Janu’s Mother Forest).
Education and acculturation shift Parvati out of the community and into city life, but this is a choice she makes self-consciously.
Class-consciousness, modernity’s close associate, arrives as well, compounding the problems of the community.
Christianity’s arrival alters the life of several Arayas. With Independence comes the brown Congress Party Saheb, as a democratic republic erodes the power of the local king, substituting one exploitative mechanism for another.
Narayan’s tale refuses to romanticise tribal ways of life – the pure, noble savage, Narayan shows, does not exist except as myth. MEG 13 Free Solved Assignment
He maps, of course, their intimate eco-vision, but also shows how disease ravages them due to their ignorance, alcoholism and the uneven gender relations.
But he also points the finger at the economic exploitation that proves, finally, to be the bane of the community in the new India’.
Q 4 Critically analyse the representation of women in ‘Liandova and Tuaisiala’.
Ans. Liandova leh Tuaisiala is the Mizo folktale selected to be studied here to understand the social reality of the traditional Mizo society.
This folktale is reflective of the Mizo traditional social structure while at the same time reflecting the urges and desires of the less privileged such as orphans and widows who are often discriminated against and who belong to the fringes of society.
The setting of the tale is a pre-literate tribal society, and the tale focuses on the sad fate of two brothers, Liandova and Tuaisiala who as young children were abandoned by their mother after the death of their father. MEG 13 Free Solved Assignment
According to the Collins Cobuild English Language Dictionary (1994), “the reality of a situation is the truth about it, especially when this is unpleasant or unwelcomed” (1196).
Lily Kong and Elaine Go assert in their article “Folktales and Reality: The Social Construction of Race in Chinese Tales” that “while folktales are generally thought of as being borne of the imagination, there is in fact a strong relationship to be drawn between folktales and reality” (265).
Scholars of folkloristic study do not deny the assertion that there are elements of reality in folktales. V.I. Lenin in 1962 said, “in every folktale there are elements of reality” (quoted in Propp, 17).
Originally the folk tale was (and still is) an oral narrative form cultivated by non-literate and literate people to express the manner in which they perceived and perceive nature and their social order and their wish to satisfy their needs and wants.
Historical, sociological and anthropological studies have shown that the folk tale originated as far back as the Megalithic period and that both non-literate and literate people have been the carriers and transformers of the tale… MEG 13 Free Solved Assignment
the tales are reflections of the social order in a given historical epoch, and as such, they symbolized the aspirations, needs, dreams and wishes of common people in a tribe, community, or society, either affirming the dominant social values and norms or revealing the necessity to change them.
Every folktale bears the imprint of the historical moment in which it had originated. The social dimension found in a folktale is the social reality of that time.
Folktales are also seen as something that embodies the ethos of peoples and that provides evidences of their continuity and national distinctiveness.
In demonstrating the usefulness of oral narratives including folktales, Lynwood Montell states that he was able to set down in print an account that could never be written by most historians who are accustomed to doing research solely in libraries and archives” (quoted in Georges).
It has always been believed that the Mizo society was egalitarian by nature with no class hierarchy or social discrimination.
Yet, some of the folktales reveal otherwise: the treatment meted out to different sections of the people within the same village structure, such as women, orphans, widows, show discrepancies and uneven treatment, thus showcasing this facet of their social reality.
The traditional Mizo society was “primitive” with no pejorative intended in the sense that it was simplistic and nonindustrial. MEG 13 Free Solved Assignment
The primary source of livelihood was jhumming cultivation and buying and selling was in barter system. Each village strove to be self-sufficient and self-administered.
Q 5 Discuss the growth of the narrator from a young girl to an adult educated woman in the novel Sangati.
Ans. Dalit fiction and its literary movement are based on the common ground of social oppression. It is a study of marginal and colonized.
Dalit literature is a form of post-colonial literature. The form of dalit literature covers a wide range of literary genres.
It is a literature of whole community but of an individual.
Many writers, thinkers, social reformers and political figures gave their contribution in the dalit literary movement like B.R. Ambedkar, M.K. Gandhi, Rettaimalai Srinivasan etc.
BAMA – THE CREATIVE WRITE
Bama (born: 1958), also known as Bama Faustina Soosairaj, is a Tamil, Dalit Feminist and novelist.
She rose to fame with her autobiographical novel Karukku (1992), which chronicles the joys and sorrows experienced by Dalit Christian women in Tamil Nadu.
She subsequently wrote two more novels, Sangati (1994) and Vanmam(2002) along with two collections of short stories: Kusumbukkaran (1996) and Oru Tattvum Erumaiyum (2003). MEG 13 Free Solved Assignment
Born as Faustina Mary Fatima Rani in a village called Puthupatti in Tamil Nadu, South India, Bama is the leading voice of the suppressed class – Dalits.
It is her autobiographical work Karukku (tender shoot of the palmyrah tree) that brought her into limelight.
She penned only for the deprived class, for she thinks that it is her duty to voice her people’s plight to the society.
She has penned many stories which include novels likekarruku, Sangati (Events), and Vanmam (Vendetta), and also short story collections – Kusumbukkaran and Oru Tattavum Erumaliyum.
SANGATI OVERVIEW If one happens to belong to a disadvantaged community of a society, then one is privileged a lot more than just a writer.
Bama as a feminist who holds her grounds deeply rooted into the indigenous soil and Indian traditions which seem to have become more than just contaminated with the ever-prevailing, vitiated and cursed casteism. MEG 13 Free Solved Assignment
Karukku, published much before Sangati, is her autobiography whereas Sangatiis an autobiography of her community which moves from the story of individuals’ struggle to the perception of the Paraiyya women, a neighborhood group of friends and relatives and their joined struggle.
In the initial chapters, it’s narrated in the first person, then counterpointed by the generalizing comments of the grandmother and other mother figures, and later still, by the author-narrator’s reflections.
The earlier chapters show the narrator as a young girl of about twelve years of age, but in the last quarter, as a young woman.
The reflective voice is that of an adult looking back and meditating deeply upon her experience in the past which calls for practical actions.
It has no plot in the normal sense but just some powerful stories of memorable protagonists.
Bama chooses only a woman protagonist for every story in her novel and yet comes up so clearly justified about her choices while doing so. MEG 13 Free Solved Assignment
In Sangati,as a child, she is shown questioning the unequal treatment meted out to her at the hands of her own maternal grandmother- Vellaiyamma kizhavi (old lady) in comparison to her brother.
She is asked to eat after every male member in the family finishes eating.
The left-over of others are her only feast.
In fact, even the quality of food served to the girls is much poorer than the kind of which is served to boys.
All the household works like cleaning, cooking, laundry, babysitting, etc are done by the girls whereas the boys enjoy playing games or hanging out with their friends in the village.
Despite of this, the girls in the village are deprived of good education unlike the boys.
The boys are kept free from all sorts of responsibilities that they should take up whereas the girls are overburdened with numerous endless toilsome everyday activities.
She also raises the issue related to patriarchy in a very heroic manner. Her book- Sangatiteases out the way patriarchy works with Dalit women.
As Bama nego-feministicly voices out the grievances of the Paraiyya women, there is, in the first place, the question of economic inequality. MEG 13 Free Solved Assignment
Women are presented as wage earners as much as men are, working equally as men as agricultural and building-site labourers, but still earning less than men do, thereby highlighting Socialist-feminism.
Yet the money that men earn is their own to spend as they please, whereas women bear the financial burdens of running the whole family, often even singly. They are constantly vulnerable to a lot of sexual harassment in the world of work.
Within their community, the power rests with men as the caste-courts and churches are male-led. Rules for sexual behavior are brow-raisingly different for men and women. Hard labour and economic precariousness lead to a culture of violence, and Bama boldly explores this theme too.
Bama realistically portrays the physical violence like lynching, whipping and canning that the Dalit women face.
She writes of the violent treatment of women by fathers, husbands and brothers, and the violent domestic quarrels which are carried on publicly, where rarely women fight back.
As a radical feminist, Bama explores the psychological stresses and strains which become a reason for the women’s belief in their being possessed by spirits or peys.
Her language is also very different from the other women writers of India as she is more generous with the usage of Dalit Tamil slangs. MEG 13 Free Solved Assignment
She addresses the women of the village by using the suffix amma’ (mother) with their names.
From the names of places, months, festivals, rituals, customs, utensils, ornaments, clothes, edibles, games, etc to the names of occupations, the way of addressing relatives, ghosts, spirits, etc; she unceasingly uses various Tamil words.
The voices of many women speaking to and addressing one another, sharing their everyday experience with each another, sometimes raised in anger or in pain, against their oppressors, are reported exactly.
The language is full of explicit sexual references too.
Bama smartly suggests that sometimes a sharp tongue and obscene words are women’s only way of shaming men and escaping extreme physical violence which give a violent and sexual nature to the language. MEG 13 Free Solved Assignment
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