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Scholarly Article

Soumen Chatterjee

Beyond Control! Beyond Knowledge! Vain Attempts at Taming the Untamable in Mahasweta Devi’s Draupadi


resistance, tribal, exploitation, hegemonic discourse, civilization.


From time immemorial forests have been used as one of the dominant tropes in Indian literature. But the attitude of the Indian writers towards forests is marked by ambiguity as forests have been presented in its benign as well as wild aspects. But in most of the Indian narratives forest along with the forest dwellers known as tribal and jungli are seen to be in conflict with the civilized people who ultimately dominate them and bring them into the fold of the so-called civilization. The mainstream Indian narratives basically depict the indigenous communities living in the hills and jungles as wild, savage and uncultured. But Mahasweta Devi, providing voice and space to her subaltern characters, has debunked this type of stereotypical representation of the tribals in her narratives. This paper will cite her acclaimed short story, Draupadi as my case study and will investigate how she has de-familiarized the usual forest setting here. How the so-called civilized discourse often exploits and humiliates the tribals along with their environment and how this exploitation incites unconventional modes of resistance from the margins are the areas of investigation of this paper also. The contribution of this paper to scholasticism lies in pointing out how tribal culture and the so-called civilized culture are two different cultural spaces running parallel.

About the Author

Mr. Soumen Chatterjee is an assistant teacher in Barabeli Junior High School (Govt-aided) situated in West Bengal. He has completed his Post Graduation in English Literature and also completed Post Graduate Diploma in English Language Teaching. He has qualified UGC-NET in English literature. He has worked in Mahishadal Raj College under Faculty Development Programme for three sessions. He has contributed to some national and international journals and presented papers in West Bengal and other states. He may be contacted at

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