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MEG-13: Writing from the Margins

MEG-13: Writing from the Margins

IGNOU Solved Assignment Solution for 2021-22

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Assignment Code: MEG-13/ 2021-22

Course Code: MEG-13

Assignment Name: Writings From the Margins

Year: 2021-2022 (July 2021 and January 2022 Sessions)

Verification Status: Verified by Professor

Q 1. Write short notes on:

Q1. a) Dalit Movement

Ans) The origins of the Dalit movement may be traced back to two major trajectories in Indian history: British rule and Indian reform movements. On the basis of some democratising concepts, the British rulers promoted equality in India. At all levels, they introduced the concept of equality. This meant that the untouchables had access to all of the same institutions, temples, and other social amenities as those in higher social classes. This, however, was merely in principle. Discriminatory practises persisted in practise. The untouchables' territory was far from the civilised populated areas of the major city. They were unable to visit temples and had no access to water. This is when reform movements gained traction. They primarily influenced Maharashtra's mentality.

Dalit movements in the nineteenth century

Jotirao Phule and Gopal Baba Walangkar are two names that come to mind when thinking of the nineteenth century. Gopal Baba was a retired Mahar army commander, and Phule belonged to the mali or gardener caste. "Jotimali, the gardener," Phule called himself. In response to the Aryan caste's dominance, Phule developed a counter-theory. The non-Aryans, also known as shudras and ati-shudras, were the first settlers, according to him. Phule raises critical questions about the equality of all human beings and the prevailing brahmanical ethic in his book The Book of the True Faith (Sarvajanik Satya Dharma Pustak). He says emphatically that everyone is born with the same faculties, and that as a result, equality at all levels is required.

Dalit Panthers

According to Omvedt the Dalit Panthers were born out of a “war of uniting words and protest actions.” It is a term that belongs to the modern period and came into usage around 1972. She points out how they were opposed to the state forces that failed to end atrocities on Dalits. They drew inspiration from the Black Panther movement that sought to end the Afro-American slavery. The major voice of protest was that of Baburao Bagul who inspired the writers like Namdeo Dhasal. Bagul’s magazine Ahmi, Gangadhar Pantavane’s Asmitadarsha, Dhasal’s Golpitha voiced the outlook of the Dalit Panther movement. M.N.Wankhade in “Friends, the Day of Irresponsible Writers is Over” explains how Asmitadarsh came as a result of the fact that Dalit writers were not being published. In 1967 as a step to encourage Dalit writing and introduce this new form of writing, they started the journal Asmita whose name was later changed to Asmitadarsha. It was representative of the mood of Ambedkar’s ideals. The idea was to publish Dalit writing and to challenge the “literary monopoly” about the forms of literature.

Q1. b) Metaphor of the tree in Changia Rukh

Ans) In Changiya Rukh, Madhopuri employs the image of the tree numerous times, most notably in the chapter "The Banyan Tree of the Chamars," where the narrator's father (Bhaia) observes: "Just look at the way these trees cling to each other, it's even difficult for the air to flow through!" ... These two had embraced without saying anything or thinking about it. And here's a man who doesn't want another man to approach him." The enmity that exists between humans is contrasted here with the intimate affinity that exists between trees.

The text's Bargad tree appears to be a significant reference point for the narrator. It is built on land purchased by the region's Dalits. As a result, it is a place people can claim as their own. "The sixteen marla (484 square yards) of land under the bargad was purchased by our people from Kartar Singh of Neevan Vehra," the writing says. No documents were signed, and the entire transaction was conducted by word of mouth... Even if they could afford it, the law did not allow Churas and Chamars to possess property or erect houses, let alone cultivate it." Members of other castes, such as Jats, Brahmins, carpenters, barbers, and kahars, referred to the tree as the Bargad of the Chamars. The presence of the Bargad is unpopular among other castes—"Many Jats would hurl expletives for the tree"—as it undermines their power. You might wonder how that is feasible. The fact is that the Dalits own the land on which the Bargad is built. This frees them from the Jats, who would otherwise exploit the dalits in every way. Even while it may not sit well with the Jats, the Dalits should be able to travel freely and make use of the Bargad tree for livelihood, as well as relax in its shade and enjoy festivities. In this way, the tree poses a threat to the latter's caste status. The Bargad tree has been chopped to the ground for this reason.

The narrator is left with an emotional blank after witnessing the "unbearable sight" of the "massacred" tree. The selection of the picture of a hewn tree as the book's title clearly reflects the traumatic nature of the tragedy.

Take a look at how Madhopuri utilises the picture of a naked tree with the top cut off as a metaphor for his community and himself. From this perspective, the tree might represent a Dalit or untouchable Indian who has been denied a healthy and satisfying existence; it could also represent a Dalit whose potential for progress has been stifled by the Hindu order's entrenched caste hierarchies.

At the same time, 'changiya rukh' could allude to the tree's incredible tenacity and ability to resurrect itself by sprouting new branch shoots. From this vantage point, we may see the injustice done to the tree or the dalits, but what is emphasised here is the people's ability to express themselves and oppose injustice, not the level of violence.

Q2. Critically analyse the poem “Jasmine Creeper under a Banyan Tree’.

Ans) The poem begins with the phrase "no lack of experiences." There have been numerous instances of torture and mistreatment. Any "famine" does not hide the cruelty of repeated tortures. Suppression is an insult in and of itself, and if allowed unchecked for a long time, it can turn into a dangerous toxin. Make a mental note of the child's mother hurrying from one house to the next to get a glass of milk for her son. Her sole responsibility is to feed the child in order for him to develop into a promising young man in the future. In the harsh atmosphere of the poem, the kid requires more than simply a body. He won't be able to go to school until he's dressed properly. Because he is unable to properly safeguard his body, the reader is told that farming and schooling are out of the question. Because he is missing his knickers, the teacher must maintain school etiquette and send him back. When it comes to "the teacher's ruling," the silence is deafening. The child's sole goal is to knead the mud in the hopes of making it acceptable for the fire-hardened bricks. Because they appear to be too graphic to be seen, a few items are hidden from the reader's perspective. As a result, the only thing we know about him is that he was "imprisoned/ in a cow shed, like a cattle/ for two whole days!" The violence continues, and the child is taken into custody by the police, who accuse him of stealing. The master wishes to be the parent of the bonded laborer's child in this situation.

The father, who was discovered dead in his cabin or in the fields, is the next element. The father later realised that this was a failed suicide attempt. The narrator refers to these incidents as a "river of humiliations," but they are clearly more than that. Near the end of the poem, the reader is reminded that the master's shelter for the father and son is best represented by a banyan tree. As a result, the father-son pair will be able to "survive while not dying." The child's final remarks are intended at the master, who should be proud of himself for keeping the father and son alive by supplying them with shade and food.

The poem features a lot of gaps, and there are a lot of half-sentences, which adds to the impact. The minor discrepancy between "living" and "growing" adds to the poem's weight, making it a severe denunciation of societal hierarchy that limits freedom to those who are so important to its upkeep and survival. Underneath the surface of words, the poem carries a great charge of feeling that will not be satisfied with simply acknowledging the reality of the arrangement. The storey portrays a total rejection of the shelter and its long-standing providers.

The poem is built around a man who speaks in the first person singular and alludes to various incidents in his life to express his emotions to the reader. The storey of the character comprises a shop that begins with his childhood, which was protected by his mother. The child is aware that his mother works 24 hours a day, seven days a week to raise him and provide for his basic requirements. He's well aware that she'll go to any length to solicit the help of her neighbours, with the express purpose of ensuring that he matures. His mother's desire to send him to school is also mentioned. The scenario certainly originates from India's post-independence period, when schools opened their doors to lower-caste students in order to encourage them to seek higher study. However, this was only at the policy level; the policy's intent did not infiltrate into the minds and understanding of the schoolteachers. It was not the teacher's job to persuade the poor student to come to class and feel comfortable while learning his lessons.

A broken slate would not be a major concern in the case of the boy, but it is the reason why the instructor sends him home. The smashed slate also includes his shredded shirt and "no undergarments." The instructor is portrayed to be uncaring with the dalit child's predicament in the poem. The writer's and the child's voices combine at this moment. The term "ruled" appears several times in the poem. The instructor pronounced the student unfit for "farming or schooling!" in the future, much like a judge might. The teacher's statement shakes the poet's confidence. The use of the word "governed" right after they mention farming and schooling supports this. The first rule specifies what the child is not permitted to do. The second is about his plan, which is to "knead the mud." This description exemplifies the arrogance of a well-equipped upper-caste instructor who can foretell the socially disadvantaged's future. The teacher's comments carry the weight of destiny: the child will spend the rest of his life kneading mud. The poem then takes us to a young boy who is imprisoned for two days in a cattle-shed after it is thought that he has stolen something from his master's home. The master is the landlord, despite the fact that the child's confessional position is kept in the ensuing tale. The poet has a more direct and bigger influence on the language. "Eswara," the poet's comparison of the landlord and God, reveals what the landlord can do and what God cannot. The satire is keen and penetrating, and the bitterness it emphasises corresponds to the poet's mentality, which is full of rejection and, even, condemnation.

Q3. Comment on the issue discussed in the novel Kocharethi: The Araya Woman.

Ans) Apart from the works of well-educated tribal authors who have began writing poems, novels, and memoirs about their own experiences in a variety of tribal and well-known Indian languages, which give tribal authors with a forum to express themselves. Budhan, Dhol (Drum), Sirjan (Creation), Haryar Sakam (Green Leaf), and Alari are only a few examples of magazines (Divine Light). Maharashtrian novelists Laxman Mane, Laxman Gaikwad, Kishore Shantabai Kale, and Sarada Prasad, Chotanagpur's Mangal Ch. Soren, Kisku, Ramdas Majhi Tudu, and the North Eastern states' Lummer Dai, Rongbong Terang, and Easterine Iralu are among those who have established themselves as successful and dedicated novelists. Yudh Rat Aam Admi (The Ever-Struggled Common Man) editor Ramanika Gupta has lately launched a special edition of the magazine on the tribal topic in two volumes to include the works of tribal authors. The Adivasi Swar Aur Nai Shatabdi (Adivasi Voice and the New Century) volumes contain poetry, folklore, short stories, and dramas. In the 21 volumes, there are fourteen short stories as well as summaries of two novels written in Indian languages and translated into Hindi. These authors are reacting to a system that has a history of exploiting people. Themes of societal awakening and awareness are central to their work. The focus is not on fiction or entertainment, but rather on social reality. It's about the indigenous people's struggle to survive, their daily struggles, and their hopes and goals.

The first South Indian tribal fiction is Kocharethi by Narayan. Books written by tribal authors are available in North East India and Maharashtra, but not in Southern India. Kocharethi, on the other hand, is the first book published in the area where he lives by a tribal writer. The novel is set in Kerala and tells the narrative of the Malayarayar tribe, including their myths, rituals, social customs, and belief systems, as well as their history and struggles in life. The writer draws heavily on the tribe's oral traditions and conjures up the soul and spirit of the tribe as if it were already present in the tribe's mind. Catherine Thankamma translated the book, which was presented by G.S. Jayshree and released in 2011. When it was first published in Malayalam, the novel won three major awards. As G.S.Jayshree accurately pointed out in her introduction, it gives us an insider's perspective as Narayan recounts the changes that occur in the lives of the people of the Western Ghats' foothills as they juggle the interests of modernity. It's interesting to learn more about Narayan's tactics for giving the book an insider's perspective. Before we get into these tactics, it's worth emphasising that as an adivasi writer, Narayan is displeased with how many non-tribal authors represent his people in their works. This motivated him to write the book, as he describes below. He says the following in the book's accompanying interview:

One element was a growing understanding that creative writing belonged to the upper classes, and that the societies represented in such works belonged to them. The adivasi, like the fabled rakshasan or nishacharan, is represented as a monochromatic figure. He was frequently depicted in a negative light, as cold, unresponsive to injustice or worse, unnatural or subhuman, and merciless. … He was only there to be vanquished and/or slaughtered by the forces of morality and righteousness, which were represented by the upper classes. The tribe was known as the asuran/kaattaalan (demon). In Hindu mythology, demons are referred to as rakshasan, nishacharan, and asuran, with the connotation of being uncultured and requiring slaying by a diety wielding a shoolam (trident) or a savarna (uppercaste) of divine origin. A few of us resolved to fight back against such biassed image. We wanted to demonstrate to the rest of the world that we had our own culture and values. (Narayan, 208-209)

Many authors and critics have commended the book, including Ayyappa Paniker and Mahasweta Devi. Mahasweta Devi praises it as "a magnificent work." Catherine Thankamma, who translated it into English, calls it "a landmark piece." This book is written by a tribal writer about his tribe and its experiences. This inquiry focuses on the Malayarayar community, which lives in Kerala's Western Ghats. This organisation has Narayan as a member. Mala means "hills" in Malayalam, and "arayar" is supposed to be derived from the word "arachar," which means "king." Perhaps the hills were formerly under the dominion of this town. In other words, they were the lords of the hills. The storey follows their lives as they adjust to changing social and cultural situations. The tribals' perspectives on land have also changed. They used to have a different relationship with the land, but that is changing as well. For the community, modernity has also been a cause of friction. Another feature of the book is its description of how Adivasi identity is formed. Narayan tries to show his people as a distinct entity with its own set of cultural traditions.

He goes into considerable detail about the people's rituals, mythology, and worldview. Indigenous women, sexuality, marriage, pregnancy, and childbirth are among the topics covered in the book. Narayan is also attempting to reconstruct the past. These are some of the issues that the book could potentially address. When we undertake a careful reading of the book, we should try to find these flaws hidden in the text.

Q4. Critically analyse the representation of women in ‘Liandova and Tuaisiala’.

Ans) From the guardian spirit to the ladies who assist them in harvesting, we see how vital women are. When it comes time for Liandova to select a female mithun from Lersia's enclosure, he consults a widow, who advises him to select the smallest mithun. This mithun is maintained in the forest, not in the hamlet, and every month it gives birth to a calf. Without the locals' knowledge, the brothers amass a big herd of mithuns and become extremely wealthy. The money they amass and the brothers' gradual social acknowledgment serve as a type of warm-up for Liandova's marriage, which signals a greater level of social integration. Even participating in the competition necessitates the men of the hamlet performing a communal work ritual. Tuaichawngi, the chief's daughter, is given the authority to choose her husband, and she defies societal conventions by marrying a commoner, Liandova. "You could have had your choice of the best, but you chose the poorest and most ordinary of the lot," her father scolds her, enraged. He refuses to reprimand her, even chopping off Tuaichawngi's finger that was pointing at Liandova.

Tuaichawngi, like many other female folk song composers, expresses her aspirations and refuses to conform to social rules. The norm of demanding brideprice appears to be a form of commodification of women, but we observe the woman herself taking part in the payment. She assists Liandova with the preparation of the necklaces, with the support of her mother. Bride-price becomes the way by which she is able to free herself in this situation. The third condition, destroying the chief's livestock enclosure with a herd of mithuns, is also carried out deftly by Tuaisiala, not Liandova. Tuaisiala's important part here also emphasises how the younger brother has reached adulthood.

With the happy marriage of Liandova and Tuaichawngi, who had a boy kid in their third year of marriage, the tale's societal imbalance is now sought to be remedied. The couple's decision to present "Khuangchawi," a traditional public feast reserved for chiefs and significant individuals, emphasises this sense of societal harmony and the new-found family's social standing. However, the past incidents have tainted what is supposed to be a day of joy. It is now the time for revenge, which is carried out by a process of shaming the guilty rather than through violence. Tuachawngi first shows her father, who drops his head in shame, her cut finger and damaged hand. Second, "the audience shamefacedly left one by one" when Liandova takes out the basket of ancient bones that the locals had provided as sustenance. When the boys' mother pays them a visit, she is well taken care of, but they refuse to eat the food she had brought for them, instead packing her some luxuries. The origins of evil are eliminated by the end of the storey, the mother dies of remorse, the villagers are brought to understand their mistake, and the chief, who now recognises the value of the common man, is elderly. The brothers' social integration remains partially unfulfilled, despite the sense of completion postulated at the end. It's almost as if the social world they have to live in is fundamentally unsociable. Tuachawngi's death by drowning adds to the tense atmosphere in the community.

What does Tuachawngi's death signify? What part did she play? It should be remembered that whatever money the brother possessed, including beads, gongs, and even a herd of mithuns, was not socially recognised until the marriage price was demanded. Marriage serves as a tool for them to legitimise their money. The punishment of the wicked would not have occurred if it had not been for the social privilege it provided. Tuachawngi has given birth to a male child, hence the goal of securing the progeny has been achieved. The alternative ending alludes to the presence of a concubine, implying that Tuachawngi could be replaced with another lady. In the end, it's a storey about brotherhood, about two young brothers maturing into responsible and effective community leaders. Unlike the image of masculine heroism embodied in the Chawnbura storey, however, manhood is defined by mental training, fortitude, kindness, and hard labour, rather than strength and physical bravery. With the passage of time, the imperfect social integration could be interpreted as a symptom of the diminishing of deep tribal ties. As a result, "Liandova and Tuaisiala" appears to have remnants of several cultural values.

Q5. Discuss the growth of the narrator from a young girl to an adult educated woman in the novel Sangati.

Ans) Sangati tells stories about people, events, and personal experiences in the first person. A First Person Narrative (see Glossary). The grandmother or mother figures in the literature who comment on specific events and tales generalise these instances as established truths. Later in the text, the author-narrator makes similar remarks. Is the early portion of the storey told by a small girl, or by an adult woman at the end? The author has created two distinct narrators: a twelve-year-old curious-questioning child and a young confident-rational lady in the last four chapters. Is it two narrators? The mature woman's introspective voice is the narrator of events. We relate with a narrator who can enter into a young girl's head and describe life from her perspective.

Character Narrator

Pathima (whose name is rarely used in the text) is thirteen years old at the start of Sangati. But the narrator is an adult lady looking back on her youth. When she looks back at past events and people, she sees herself as one of many characters. In this way, we view the text's world both through the eyes of the young girl and the older woman describing it. Her grandmother and granddaughter have an obvious bond. The young girl discovers a wealth of knowledge and inspiration in her grandmother's stories. Paatti, the grandma, provides the narrator with information and answers. A strong grandmother gives the young girl/narrator courage. The latter informs her of their community's genuine issues, rather than hiding them from the little girl. “She (Paatti) always chattered on about all sorts of things,” the narrator learns (Sangati p.8). So the narrator learns about things and how to deal with them. For example, Pathima is afraid to go into the fields—“Aren't you afraid, Paatti? Come home.' “I begged her,” she says, inspired by her grandmother's bravery. We'll go back and grab more firewood. You're scared because you're a child” (Sangati p.8). The narrator grows up imbibing the grandmother's courage.

Observer Narrator

The narrator observes situations and people precisely in the first portion of the narrative. She doesn't give her opinion. We realise that the narrator is a young girl who is still learning about social life. This appears to be the author's plan. She wants us to see a little girl's thinking. Nonetheless, the narrator provides a thorough account of the events she witnesses. In many cases, she is the distant observer who watches her friends and relatives suffer under the dual weight of patriarchy and caste exclusion (See Glossary). The narrator observes and analyses the lives of people from afar. For example, the narrator is unmoved by her loved ones' hardships. She learns from others' mistakes and forges a new path.

Inquisitive Narrator

In Sangati, the young girl narrator constantly questions the practises she observes. She challenges their state and the systemic bias towards their community. The author uses the innocent tale to question the core flaws of society that adults overlook or accept as given truths. The young girl questions social unfairness. “So how can one have a baby all by oneself, Patti? Why did she have to work when she was off? “Why didn't she remain home?” “And anyhow, it wasn't just her, more or less all the women on our neighbourhood are the same,” her grandma says the narrator. The text's exploratory form benefits from the narrator's inquisitiveness. In other words, the narrator in each chapter repeatedly probes Dalit life difficulties.

The storey depicts a young girl's feelings as an adolescent, and the questions she asks constantly, revealing her mental graph's simplicity. This mental graph is compared to hers as an adult. As she ages, her character evolves. Education offers the narrator strength to oppose the situation and examine the Dalits' perspective. Adult life has a delicate edge, and her critiques sharpen.

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