Amitav Ghoshs The Shadow Lines Critical Essays By Arvind Chowdhary


 IOSR Journal Of Humanities And Social Science (IOSR-JHSS) Volume 20, Issue 7, Ver. IV (July 2015), PP 68-72 e-ISSN: 2279-0837, p-ISSN: 2279-0845. www.iosrjournals.orga

DOI: 10.9790/0837-20746872 68 | Page

Concept of Nationalism with Wound of Partition in

Amitav Ghosh’s “The Shadow Lines”

Dr. Amit Kumar

 M.Phil, Ph.D, Dept. of English, C.C.S University Meerut


 India has so many stories to tell about the past, present and the future. It is true that a nation is not

there if it is not part of one‟s own consciousness. A nation does not exist as a physical entity, but lives by and

 speaks to us through the culture-soul. The present pa

 per is intended to examine Amitav Ghosh treatment 

of nationalism

in “The Shadow Lines” (1988), which as a memory novel, sketches few historical events like the

 freedom movement in Bengal, the Second World War and the Partition of India in 1947 and the communal riots in Bangladesh and India. In this novel, Ghosh describe concept of nationalism in Indian. The fervent nationalism upheld by grandmother is put to question and re-analysis. Ghosh explores the unreality and invalidity of traditional identity constructions such as nation and nationalism.

 Amitav Ghosh‟s „The Shadow  Line‟s focusses on the meanings and shades of political nuances in contemporary life. The quest for political

 freedom, violence in modern life are aptly delineated in the novel.


 Postcolonial, Nationalism, Violence. The Shadow Line, Poltical Freedom



The tragedy of partition provided the writers with the occasion to write about the plight of the people in the subcontinent in order to bring home mainly to the western world the impact of British rule, which had

 previously boasted of civilizing mission. India got independence through bloodshed and migration. In fact, the

 partition theme in Indian novels in English set the dystopian tune, which would be later on carried on to the tone of the postcolonial theories. Post colonialism began as recognition of the dominant post-war economic and  political conditions are prevalent all over the world. The postcolonial writers all over the world assert that their countries possessed a prestigious history, culture and heritage; and they also valorise the past from which they have drawn the raw materials for their works. The traditional view and territorial entity are the unique character generated through their migration from one region to the other or from one settlement to another settlement are raw source of post colonial


He has emerged as a prominent writer with the force of sheer verisimilitude and versatility. Besides this, a vast range of characters lend a quality of cosmopolitanism to his subject. His issues are local and global at the same time making the themes universal. His opus is marked with the traits of interdisciplinary and post modernity; continuous innovation and occupation with a variety of subjects. Ghosh is conscious of the role of an author and his own stand on his role as an author. His views on society, language, culture, human relationship, nation and geographical boundaries are all painted with his beliefs. These ideologies also determine his choices

as a craftsman of storytelling. In an interview he expressed the same in the following words: For me the value

of the novel, as a form, is that, it is able to incorporate element of every aspect of life- history, natural history, rhetoric, politics beliefs, region, family, love, sexuality. As I see, it is the novel is a meta form that transcends the boundaries that circumscribe other kinds of writing rendering meaningless the usual workday distinctions

 between historian, journalist, anthropologist etc.

(Ghosh in an interview with Michelle Casewell.) In his novels Amitav Ghosh explores the ideas of nationhood and Diasporas, ideas that involve relationships between individuals belonging to the same or to different communities that sometimes transgress and

transcend the shadow lines of political borders. The Shadow Lines probably represents Ghosh‘s most direct confrontation with nationalism andnational identity and it is simultaneously about each character‘s personal

identity. Both in Political Science and Geography there is a specific definition of a country or a state. The word

‗Country,‘ however, bears a specific meaning to a man. A man‘s entire entity of present, past as well as future is

associated with his own country or native land or homeland. In general, the part of land where one is born

 becomes one‘s homeland, native land or motherland. Within the parliamentary system it is a rule that a country

will keep up the rights of people of that country but when the state is unable to bear the responsibility of a man, his whole entity is at stake. On the background of that crisis Amitav Ghosh writes an invaluable novel The

Shadow Lines.This paper sets out to contextualize‗nationalsim,‘ through a close reading of this novel.

The conceptualization of terms like nation-making, nationalism, nationality and their bearing on identity seem to be in flux rather than fixed, they are processes rather than finished products. This is obvious, as cultural or sociological paradigms are dynamic and unstable;they change, shift and rearrange themselves as a

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