Dr Sharmistha De Dutta

Assistant Professor, Dr. B.C Roy Engineering College, Durgapur

West Bengal




In recent years, the problems and possibilities of borders and boundaries ── of questioning, crossing, transgressing, reconfiguring, dismantling and indeed inhabiting borders and border spaces ── have become an increasing preoccupation for theoretical discourses and a wide variety of fields.

Ambreem Hai 1


In a world crisscrossed by national boundaries, the migratory movements have brought new dimensions to the lived experience of men and women. In the ‘postcolonial’ period ‘migrations’ of various natures , aided and supported by faster means of communications, have put the two words ──  ‘roots’ and ‘routes’ ──  in a position of contestation. There has emerged a class of people —‘world citizens’ — comprising, among others, creative writers and literary/cultural critics who project the tensions between ideas represented by the words ‘roots’ and ‘routes’. ‘Routes’ naturally imply outward movements and exploration and mapping of new territories, just the opposite of ‘roots’ which implies stability in a particular territorial, social and cultural locale. The words also indicate different mindsets ── while ‘roots’ is basically local and exclusive in essence, the other (‘routes’) is open to outside influences. It is because on the emphasis on the word ‘routes’ that cartography figures so prominently in many of the recent writings 2. As a result of this migratory movement, the issue of crossing ‘border’ ── both literally and metaphorically ── has often been foregrounded. Attempts are being made to interrogate the fixity of the ‘border’ which stands for artificially created barriers that prevent and limit cultures that travel. The basic argument is that deliberately imposed borders are really ‘shadow lines’, that cultures and human relationship reach out for interactions with others and defy all attempts of putting demarcation lines.


Click to View and Download Full Research Paper in PDF:

Un-bordering Boundaries: A study of Amitav Ghosh’s The Shadow Lines