'I had but that one arrow', says Chotti Munda, the hero of this epic tale. A 'magic' arrow that stood for the pride, the wisdom, the culture of their society, a society threatened with inevitable disintegration as its traditional structures crumbled under the assault of 'national development'. The wide sweep of this important novel encompasses many layers. It ranges over decades in the life of Chotti - the central character - in which India moves from colonial rule to independence and then to the unrest of the 1970s. It probes and uncovers the complex web of social and economic exchange based on power relations. It traces the changes, some forced, some welcome, in the daily lives of a marginalized rural community. And at its core, it celebrates Chotti, legendary archer, wise and farsighted leader, proud role model to his younger brethren. Written in 1980, this novel is remarkable for the manner in which it touches on vital issues that have, in subsequent decades, grown into matters of urgent social concern.
It raises questions about the place of the tribal on the map of national identity, land rights and human rights, the 'museumization' of 'ethnic' cultures, and the justifications of violent resistance as the last resort of a desperate people.
Buy Chotti Munda and His Arrow book by Mahasweta Devi from Australia's Online Independent Bookstore, Boomerang Books.
(229mm x 154mm x 24mm)
Publisher: John Wiley and Sons Ltd
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Author Biography - Mahasweta Devi
The Bengali writer Mahasweta Devi is major a prize-winning Indian novelist and an activist comrade of Spivak in campaigning for the rights of tribal peoples. She was born in 1926 in Dhaka, of a literary family. She won the Jnanpith Award (India's highest literary award) and the Magsaysay Award (considered to be Asia's version of the Nobel Prize) in 1996. She was also awarded the Padmasree in 1986, for her activist work amongst dispossessed tribal communities. Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak is the Avalon Foundation Professor in the Humanities at Columbia University. Among her publications are Of Grammatology (translation with critical introduction of Jacques Derrida's De la grammmatologie), Imaginary Maps, Breast Stories, Old Women (translations with critical material of the fiction of Mahasweta Devi), In Other Worlds, The Post-Colonial Critic, Outside in the Teaching Machine, and A Critique of Postcolonial Reason. Other Asias, comprising three long essays that combine poststructuralist theories with the political history of the present, will be published by Blackwell in 2002. This will be followed in 2003 by Of Derrida and in 2004 by Conversations. Chotti Munda and his Arrow forms the corner-stone of her translations for the Selected Works of Mahasweta Devi.