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

Debjani Sarkar,
Nirban Manna

Published Date: Feb 28, 2022


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.


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

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