Revistes Catalanes amb Accés Obert (RACO)

The Return of the Prehistoric and the "Deathwish" of the Tribals in Mahasweta Devi's Novella, Pterodactyl, Puran Sahay, and Pirtha

Jogamaya Bayer


This essay focusses on the cultural violence perpetrated against the adivasis in Mahasweta Devi's novella, Pterodactyl, Puran Sahay, and Pirtha. It illuminates how passive resistance of adivasis in the form of collective mourning upon the appearance of the pterodactyl in their region is misconstrued by others as a "deathwish". The outsiders' misapprehension of adivasis' desperation indicates their indifference to adivasis' culture. The appearance and death of the prehistoric bird is considered by the adivasis to be an omen predicting the extinction of the tribal people and of forthcoming ecological devastation. Although the text embodies the collective melancholia of the adivasis and the author's pessimistic conception of history, it, nevertheless, advocates the responsibility of writers and journalists to disseminate knowledge, thereby helping to usher in a new era.

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