Hajar Churashir Ma: A “Herstory” of Resistance and Emancipation
Abstract: The surface story of Mahasweta Devi’s novel Hajar Churashir Ma (Mother of 1084) is a cumulative of glimpses of the incidents of how Kolkata responded to the massacre of Broti Chatterjee and his comrades who took part in the revolutionary communist Naxalite movement in the early 1970s. But underneath the guise of the crucial sociopolitical issues, this text is essentially about a female individual – a mother – who resists her conventional, marginalized, ignored, and silenced survival, and emerges from the periphery to the center and from silence to voice in order to redefine her life. The way she executes an inward revolution (metaphorically paralleled with her son’s armed revolution) to materialize her sense of being within the dominating patriarchy (mostly performed by her terrorizing marriage) and the way she breaks through the stereotypes and exploitations to create her own place – both domestic and social – produce a remarkable personal “herstory.” This paper, thus, attempts to explore the “herstorical” journey of Sujata towards psychological emancipation through the passage of self-realization and political consciousness. The paper also observes that the portrayal of Sujata’s journey is not limited to a single individual “herstory” because it symbolically represents the struggles of many other Sujatas who fight against gender stereotypes and attempt ideological liberation.
Keywords: Herstory, Patriarchy, Domination, Resistance, Emancipation
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Published in August 2019