Voice of Subaltern Souvali in Mahasweta Devi’s After Kurushetra
Keywords:Subalternized, Dasi, Marginality, Stereotypical Images, Dasiputra, Rajavritta, Janavritta.
In the contemporary scenario, Subaltern Studies group brings together the writers, like Amitav Ghosh and Mahasweta Devi who have been frequently associated with subaltern concerns. Mahasweta Devi is a champion of subaltern community and through her works she always indicts and questions the government and other people about the sanctioning of human rights to dalits, tribals, women and children. Mahasweta Devi’s After Kurushetra narrates the stories of women who were subalternized by the kings and queens of Hastinapur. The life stories of these women appeared in the forms of short stories namely “The Five Women (Panchakanya)”, “Kunti and the Nishadin (Kunti O Nishadi), and “Souvali” in After Kurushetra. “Souvali” narrates the story of Souvali who was a dasi working in the royal palace of Hastinapur: She was sexually exploited by Dhritarashtra and gave birth to a son named Yuyutsu. Though Yuyutsu @ Souvalya was not considered by Dhritarashtra as his first son, yet he was allowed by Yudhishtira to give ‘tarpan’ to Dhritarashtra during the time of ‘mahatarpan.’ Souvalya, as a son, had done his duty to Dhritarashtra but Souvali voiced against the oppressions meted on her by the king through her action. She did not adhere to the norms of widowhood after the death of Dhritarashtara for she was never considered by him as his wife.
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