The Compositional Paradox in Violence: Classes of Bhadralok and Chotolok in the Naxalite Novel

Debjani Sarkar, Nirban Manna

DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.13185/KK2022.003808
Published Date: Feb 28, 2022

Abstract

This article problematizes the class and caste-based binary of the bhadralok and the chotolok entwined with the Naxalite/Maoist insurgency in India. These long-catalogued terms have been defined and categorized in this article through a study of Jhumpa Lahiri’s The Lowland (2013) and Swati Sengupta’s Guns on My Red Earth (2013). In the 1970s, India’s tryst with communism in the form of the Naxalite-Maoist movement saw these two srenis (bhadralok and chotolok) of Bengali society come together. Though superficially corresponding to the Marxist class binary of the bourgeois and the proletariat, these classes entail a subtle difference and do not necessarily fit into the Marxist division. A paradoxical situation exists within the insurgency which warrants the merging of two classes for a Communist revolution. In this paper, we define, categorize, and theorize class and caste in India concerning Bengali society in particular. The paper has employed a qualitative research model based on close textual analysis of novels belonging to the genre of insurgency literature on left wing extremism (LWE) in India. The texts have been studied through juxtaposition, pairing, and parallels to establish a sociopolitical premise. The paper serves to make an essential contribution to the category of the Naxal novel and South Asian literature through a global connection between communism and Naxalism. Forming the corpus of analysis these novels shall attest how the proclivity of revolutionary violence delimits these two classes, to carry out one of the most dauntless manifestations of communism worldwide.

Keywords

Bhadralok, caste, chotolok, class, Naxalite-Maoist fiction, violence

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Kritika Kultura
Department of English
School of Humanities
Ateneo de Manila University

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Jan Baetens
Professor
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Katholieke Universiteit te Leuven (Belgium)

Joel David
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Inha University (South Korea)

Michael Denning
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Yale University (US)

Faruk
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Universitas Gadjah Mada (Indonesia)

Regenia Gagnier
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Leela Gandhi
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Inderpal Grewal
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Yale University (US)

Peter Horn
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University of Cape Town (South Africa)
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University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa)

Anette Horn
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David Lloyd
Distinguished Professor of English
University of California, Riverside (US)

Bienvenido Lumbera
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University of the Philippines

Rajeev S. Patke
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Professor of Humanities
Yale NUS College (Singapore)

Vicente L. Rafael
Giovanni and Amne Costigan Endowed Professor of History
University of Washington (US)

Vaidehi Ramanathan
Department of Linguistics
University of California, Davis (US)

Temario Rivera
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Department of Political Science
University of the Philippines

E. San Juan, Jr.
Philippines Studies Center (US)

Neferti X.M. Tadiar
Professor of Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies
Barnard College (US)
Director of the Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race
Columbia University (US)

Antony Tatlow
Honorary Professor of Drama
Trinity College Dublin (Ireland)