Is Baba a Disabled Subaltern? : A Post Colonial Reading of Anita Desai’s Clear Light of Day.
Clear Light of Day is one of the great novels of Anita Desai and the entire tale circles around Das family. Baba is an autistic brother of Bim and he faces severe challenges and listening to his cry feels impossible for the rest in the family except Bim. In postcolonial India, persons with disabilities are often neglected and they face an identity crisis where society fails to define them. Anita takes us away into such a strange region of the world where identity and existence of disabled are in question. Are they not the best of the society? In the so called notion of brutalizing urban existence, a return to culture is more powerful than an ideological concept. Baba faces a severe disease in the form of autism and he constantly plays his gramophone at the same volume with the same records indicates the stagnation of his development. Baba’s stage of stagnation depicts the severity of disabled people in Indian subcontinent. How Baba can be portrayed or studied as a disabled subaltern is important in postcolonial social structure and an analysis of disabled from colonized point of view is necessary. A subaltern is a person who is socially, politically and geographically outside of hegemonic power structure of colony and of the colonial homeland. The Orient was always perceived with the concepts of “difference” and the “Strangeness”. The Europeans defined themselves through the discourse that created an “Us” and “Them”. Such binary social relations are always a danger and it is deeply rooted in the minds of people that they still keep a prejudiced view of individual and social identities. This paper is an attempt to explain the lives of Baba from a postcolonial understanding of culture and tradition. Where is Baba’s space in the Other in Orientalism and how they are treated as normal where disabled identity is not yet discovered?
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