MAHASHWETA DEVI’S DRAUPADI: A NARRATIVE OF NATION
The present paper is a modest attempt to analyze Mahashweta Devi's "Draupadi" as a narrative of India- a narrative that explains how politics work in a society and that provides a profound insight into the forces that makes an attitudonal shift. Mahashweta Devi's short story "Draupadi" captures the experiences of a tribal woman. She is involved in a social movement- the Naxalite movement in India. She is living in the Jharkhani forest with a group of Naxalite rebels. The story reveals several significant facts about the Santal tribe through the reminiscences of Draupadi. Firstly women are shown clearly "protected" by the men of the tribe as the phrase "stood guard over their women's blood" implies. Secondly, as a group that expected and received such patriarchal “protection,” the women seem not to have engaged in warfare for Dopdi does not mention foremothers in this regard. Thus the proud reference to the “black armour” of the forefathers is also significant, as this seems to indicate that the Santal men were perhaps (good) warriors. Alas! The same could be the state of tribal people today! The same could be the location of a woman today! It is indeed a matter of lamentation Mahashweta shows how a woman suffers in psychologically, emotionally and physically in society. She swings with oppression between the two versions of her name. Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak in her 'foreword' to Draupadi observes: "Draupadi is the name of the central character. She is introduced to the reader between two uniforms and between two versions of her name. Dopdi and Draupadi. It is either that as a tribal she cannot pronounce her own Sanskrit name Draupadi, or the tribalized form, Dopdi, is the proper name of the ancient Draupadi".It is also noticeable in the 'foreword' that " the tribes have no right to heroic names as Draupadi is perhaps the most celebrated heroine of the Indian epic Mahabharata. For this pious, domesticated...
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