Regional ecologies and peripheral aesthetics in Indian literature: Tarashankar Bandyopadhyay's Hansuli Banker Upakatha

Bhattacharya, S. (2021) Regional ecologies and peripheral aesthetics in Indian literature: Tarashankar Bandyopadhyay's Hansuli Banker Upakatha. South Asian Review, (doi: 10.1080/02759527.2021.1905482) (Early Online Publication)

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Despite the wide availability of "regional novels" in India, academic scholarship in this area has been surprisingly lacking. For environmental literary scholars, this is unfortunate because regional narratives compellingly capture the conflicts between local social dynamics and global capitalist cultures, resulting in an aesthetic that is ecologically sensitive and stylistically complex. In this essay, I will first situate the Gandhian call for ruralism as an important reason behind the rise of regional narratives in late-colonial India. Then, drawing from Upamanyu Pablo Mukherjee's eco-materialism and recent scholarship in "peripheral realism," I will show how the noted Bengali novelist Tarashankar Bandyopadhyay in his classic Hansuli Banker Upakatha (1947/51; The Tale of Hansuli Turn) historicizes the tragic fate of the Kahar tribe in the face of colonial-capitalist developments in the rural interiors of Bengal. Closely engaging with the complex narrative structure of the novel, especially his pitting of a social realist narrative of "tradition versus modernity" against an experimental style "upakatha" or tale, I will argue that Tarashankar's literary peripherality is socio-ecologically aware and self-consciously political, representative of world-literary aesthetics.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Early Online Publication
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Bhattacharya, Dr Sourit
Authors: Bhattacharya, S.
College/School:College of Arts > School of Critical Studies > English Literature
Journal Name:South Asian Review
Publisher:Taylor and Francis
ISSN (Online):2573-9476
Published Online:19 April 2021
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2021 South Asian Literary Association
First Published:First published in South Asian Review 2021
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher

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