Writing Back to the Centre: Treatment of Adivasi life in Narayan’s Kocharethi (The Araya Woman)
Colonialism draws boundaries between ‘us’ and ‘them’ and looks down upon those who are different. However, the hallmark of Post-colonial studies is inclusiveness â€“ respecting the viewpoints of others. When the neo-colonial forces continue with the demonization of the ‘other’ conflicts are bound to occur. The tribals are represented in the mainstream media and literature as a monochromatic figure like the rakshasan or nishacharan of mythological stories. In this instance ‘Kocharethi’ (1998) a Malayalam novel by Narayan, often described as India’s first novel by an Adivasi writer about his community, can be taken as an insider’s take on the misrepresentation of a marginalized community. This paper attempts to analyse, through formalistic approach, the theme and characterisation in the novel where protagonist Kunjupennu and her childhood love and later husband, Kochuraman, become the representatives of the Malay Arayan tribal community who inhabit the Western Ghats bordering the districts of central Kerala. The attempt here is to drive home the plight of a section of society at the receiving end of marginalization and misrepresentation and the resultant loss of identity and a dignified existence as portrayed by an insider.
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