Amitav Ghosh's Sea of Poppies: a Study Post Colonial Perspective.

Topics: Opium, Opium Wars, First Opium War Pages: 9 (3300 words) Published: October 17, 2010
The Opium Wars, 1839-1842 and 1856-1860


Sea of Poppies is the novel set prior to opium war, on the bank of the Ganges and in Calcutta. The author compares the Ganges with the Nile, the lifeline of the Egyptian civilization attributing the provenance. He portrays the character as poppy seed is emanating in large numbers from the field to sea, where every single seeds uncertain about its future. The main characters in the novel are Deeti, a mulatto American sailor, Zachary Reid, an Indian raja or zamindar called Neel Ratan Halder and a venerator opium trader, Benjamin Burnham. Deeti is a simple and ordinary village woman, who comes from a poor family. Wife of a drug addict person, Hukam Singh. His lascivious brother, Chandan Singh, who was eying on her, when failed to succeed in his goal, wanted her to be cremated alive with her husband’s funeral pyre. Meanwhile, a low-caste Oxen-driver, Kalua, who has secret affection towards her, rescued, and fled away.

Sea of Poppies is a historical novel, densely packed and wonderfully written. Ghosh skillfully crams in as much information as possible without sinking the story under its own weight. The main subject is migration, of indentured servants. The forces that propel their lives the British occupation; the opium trade; the caste system are portrayed in depth. The novel throws light on the time period when the East India Company forced the peasants, to turn over their fields to opium production, for amassing unimaginable wealth, which causes poverty and hunger among the people. British merchants exported opium to China illegally and as a result the opium trade spreads rapidly, and a big mass of China’ population became habitual users of drug. In order to end the opium trade a war was waged. The first opium war was fought between the United Kingdom and the Qing Dynasty of China. It's 1838, and Britain is set on maintaining the opium trade between India and China as a buttress of its economic, political and cultural power.

Sea of Poppies
Sea of Poppies, a trilogy, has been received favorably by the Booker’s jury for the compelling story told against an epic historical canvas. The ship Ibis is the dual metaphor in the novel which plays a vital role in bringing together north Indian women, Bengali zamindars, black men, rural laborers and Chinese seamen. The Ship transported opium and carried Indian to a life of slavery. A beautifully written historical novel, it is about 1930s when India was in the grip of opium trade. The characters are as varied as the British Empire itself. Amitav Ghosh has done a massive amount of research into the period and this novel is so rich with details that it could veritably serve as an encyclopedia of early 19th century Indian life, both of sea and of land. Ghosh proposes non-western form of humanism, a belief in communities that exist across race, class and culture. History of the Novel

Sea of Poppies is set in India in 1838. The East India Company, yet to be curbed of its wilder excesses by the British crown, is amassing unimaginable wealth by growing opium illegally and exporting it to China. It explores, in detail about the East India Company’s opium factory at Ghazipur, the workers, whose lives depend on it and its produces. It also tracks the origin and journey of the first batch of the Indian diaspora, the indentured labor of the 19th century. The story is set prior to the opium wars, on the banks of holy river Ganges and in Calcutta. The author compares the Ganges to the Nile, the life line of the Egyptian civilization. He portrays the characters as poppy seeds, emanating in large numbers from the field to sea, where every single seed is uncertain about its future. The opium wars, also known as Anglo-Chinese-wars where the climax of trade disputes and diplomatic, a difficulty arises between china under the Qing dynasty and the British Empire after China sought to restrict British opium...
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