Amitav Gosh and George Orwell (Part II)

We find a common sense of resistance almost in all the colonial narratives and impeccably prominent in “The Glass Palace” where the new Collector is unwelcomed and not revered from heart. This is a natural individual, social and national phenomenon identified by many in colonial discourses. The fear of being not lost keeps the natives to strive and go in self defense as was done by the people of Ratnagiri. The resistance gave birth to a mutual resentment towards the British regime and brought the fictional invention to lessen it. Here the wife of the Collector is the fictional character whose friendly attitude somehow won the trust of Ratnagiri people. Why do I call it fictional because such characters are not historically present in every narrative speaking for the colonial lands?

Here the thin line of history and the fiction is blurred by Amitav and is repeated many times through several instances. Partnership of Rajkumar with the Japanese Saya John and turning of immature dream builder Rajlkumar into a rich mature individual is also the fictional creation of the author’s mind and does not stand for historical evidences.

One of the major themes or the drawbacks which is dealt by all the colonial narrative is of the lost identity which gives birth to the hybrid off springs. Hybrid identity is the one of the biggest fears confronted by the multiethnic families and couples. We find this phenomenon being present in both the novels, I mean in “the Glass Palace” and in “Burmese Days”. The hybrid identity is one of the racial crises faced and raised through the post colonial narratives. The union of two cultures belonging to different past dwelling upon the different traditions will surely bring the identity issue in the weave where one has to give up and the other has to prevail for getting engrossed in the vast sea of recognition.

Hybrid identity comes where two races are united. Ironically this union is the prime base for many conflicts of the coming time. This keeps one submissive and to go back in the shell of one’s self where he is always frightened that his true recognition may not be grabbed away. This keeps him nurturing his hidden worship of his origin and silently obeying the prevailing and relatively more accepted belonging.

As far as the question “how does manufacture resent”? is concerned, “The Glass Palace” and “Burmese Days” both support the answer. When your economy is authorized by the foreign and the elements of the other land, your land’s timber constitutes other’s market, your land’s rich oil reservoirs make you poor as others take it away either by force or through trade, you are left with no other option but with the two; either to rebel courageously or to consent stealthily.

This resent sometimes leads to the former form and may be concentrated when you are treated as a contagious disliking and are deprived from the blessings of your own home and its resources because others are not only resting but are controlling your destiny, it surely gives birth to a sharp and the lasting movement among colonized nations which could have brought revolutions along with if become successful. When the native discourse is made silent by the prevailing political factors, the voice of the time dies for having another birth at another time. This brings agony and may upset the set and the assumed notions of colonization.

Amitav has deliberately chosen these characters to show the history of time at these moments for their relevance to the issue, their historical background associated with the colonized land and their fear of losing identity which make them a part of pure colonial narrative. The character of Thibaw Min is the representative of the descendants of the royal family. He reflects the royal festivities and the reverence enjoyed by the family in the public. His exile is also somewhat resembled with the banished life of the last king who died with heart attack.

The shifting of power from a centered monopoly to an open and dynamic regime is constituted and shown through the chosen characters. This shift of power has a historical importance if one can alienate it from the fiction of the time. Bhabha is very true in stating and making his prophecies in “Cultural Diversity and Cultural Difference” that the dying of one is in fact the birth of the other. These cultural differences have historic perspective and are spoken for these natives specifically when ever are talked about through the colonial vision.

The individual characters like Dolly in “the Glass Palace” are significant as they represent and support the evidence of the shifting of the power. Dolly stands for the journey and the long yards from being subaltern to being autonomous. This in fact is the finishing story of the repression towards liberation. Between the two strands of these political norms i.e. repression and the liberation takes place the story of “The Glass Place” which makes its character a show case for not only representing the social fears but also the political redemptions which make the novel very special in its features and give it a distinctive position among all the narrative discourses of colonization.

“The Glass Palace” is embodiment of English treatment of Burmese coming in the way of their tread. This gives a new vision to see history through the glass of fiction. His special feature is his move in the eastern lands exploring the economic pleasures which brought Britain on this very land and kept them attacking the natives to strengthen their market and trade. Amitav’s special Indian background enables him to portray the falling legacy on the canvass of the colonial landscapes. He is very successful in portraying the dilemma of the poor Indians who were shipped to the far east and more to it the dilemma of the Indian soldiers serving in British army confronting with the Indians fighting for their national freedom.

Burmese exploitation is very typical and a part of the fate of every colonized people with the long history of restoration which still marks them subaltern when compared with their ex white masters. The colonized lands share a mutual crisis and hence are reckoned as a collective discourse which vents a way to the suppressed voices of the poor souls. This narrative shifts and brings a new enterprise for those who believe only in the echoing voices.

By: Ammarah Khan


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