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ISSN 2239-978X Journal of Educational and Social Research Vol.

3 (1) January 2013



199

Revisiting Colonial Legacy in Arundhati Roys
The God of Small Things

Fahimeh Nazari

H.A.StuJentofFnqlisbliteroture
0niversity of lsfobon,hezor}orib,lsfobon,lron
fnozoribmpqmoilcom

Hossein Pirnajmuddin

AssistontProfessorofFnqlisbliteroture,Fnqlisb0eportment
0niversity of lsfobon,hezor}orib,lsfobon,lron
pirnojmuJJinfqnuiocir

Doi: 10.5901/jesr.2013.v3n1p199

Abstract

Tbis orticle is o survey of ArunJboti Roys bistorioqropbic opproocb in Tbe 6oJ of Smoll Tbinqs Tbe
writers sbeJ liqbt on Roys complex treotment of tbe question of postcoloniolity Tbe focus is tbe onolysis of
Roys subtle presentotion of tbe myrioJ interconnections of closs, roce, qenJer onJ culture in post-
inJepenJence lnJio onJ tbe possibility of o neqotiotion omonq tbem Tbe novel it is orqueJ binqes on o
seminol question lf tbe onswer to tbe pressinq problemsoftbepostcoloniolconJitionone in wbicb tbe coloniol
power relotions seem to be still very mucb in ploce olbeit in new quises seems to be bybriJity wbot is tbe
moJolity of tbis bybriJity onJ bow possible is it Tbe writers suqqest tbot Roy finJs tbe bouse of bistory still too
clomorously bounteJ witb tbecoloniol leqocy in lnJio to bouse bybriJity

Keywords: Tbe 6oJ of Smoll Tbinqs Coloniolism Postcoloniolity history hybriJity




1. Introduction

Bisavowing the peiipheial suboiuination to the impeiial hegemonic cultuial exeicises, the
inteinationally acknowleugeu Inuian Anglophone novel pioceeus to iewiite the Inuian nation anu
cultuieafteithecolonialiule. Thispostcolonialliteiatuieinapaiticulaiiespect,asueftlyieflecteuin
Tbe6oJofSmollTbinqs,offeisacanuiuexposuieofthefailuiesofInuianinuepenuence.Asubstantial
numbeiofInuianAnglophonenovelists(e.g.NulkRajAnanu,Amitavuhosh,}humpaLahiii,Aiunuhati
Roy)ieclaimtheiioiiginanucultuieinnovelsmiiioiingtheiicultuialheiitageiatheithanmimicking
the canonical liteiatuie of the Empiie, iathei than being moie English than the English (Ashcioft et
al.,1989,p.S).Theyinvestigatecultuie,asSaiu(199S)notesinCultureonJlmperiolism,asasouiceof
iuentitytoengenueipiesenceanuvoice(xiii).
Tointeipietthepiesentpostcolonialliteiatuieinvokesthepastnotonlytoielateuisagieements
about what happeneu in the past anu what the past was, but unceitainty about whethei the past is
ieally past, ovei, anu concluueu, oi whethei it continues, albeit in uiffeient foims, peihaps; this
obsession animates all soits of uiscussions about influence about blame anu juugment about
piesent actualities anu futuie piioiities (Ashcioft et al., 1989, p.4). Fiom this peispective, Aiunuhati
Roy, a celebiity in Inuian English novel, in hei fiction anu non-fiction constantly intimates uefiance of
anyuisciiminatoiypoliticsinthepastanupiesentwhichieuucetheiuentityofanation,aninuigenous
gioup, oi an inuiviuual to a caiicatuie, oi a ghost haunteu by the past. uiven hei unsweiving
nonconfoimism anu hei political awaieness, Roy iepiesents what Ajiaz Ahmau calls a teiiain of
stiuggle iathei than a unitaiy given an imaginative possibility anu as a giounu on which to stake a
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claim(uopal,2uuS,p.4).Roy(1997),onthataccount,withheisubtleintelligenceinheiessaysanuhei
imaginativeieconstiuctioninheifiction,takesthepeifoimativepositionofthesmalluisempoweieu
while ievealing the ominous significance behinu the big total, anu unitaiy powei politics anu
uecisions.
Negating that theie is an essential uiffeience between fiction anu non-fiction, Roy iemaiks that
theieaiesimplyuiffeientkinusofstoiytelling;uooufiction,shecontinues,isthetiuestthingthat
evei theie was. Facts aie not necessaiily the only tiuths. Facts can be fiuuleu with by economists anu
bankeis. Theie aie othei kinus of tiuths (Tickell, 2uuS, p. 18). It is this stoiy-telling uige which
compelsRoytoopposewai,injusticeanuuisciimination.InheiaiticleComeSeptembei:WillThings
uetBetteiafteiTheyuetWoise1sheannouncesthatWaisaienotfoughtfoialtiuisticieasonsbut
foihegemony,foibusiness(Roy,2uuS,p.8)anutothisenuthewoiluisuiviueutogoouevil,tothe
statements of if you uont love us, you hate us. If youie not goou, youie evil. If youie not with us,
youie with teiioiists which aie the instant manifestations of the failuie of the imagination (Roy,
2uuS, p. 6). Roy ciitiques globalization as a mutant vaiiety of colonialism, iemote contiolleu anu
uigitallyopeiateu(Baisamian,2uu1).
Roysoutlooktowaiuscultuie,politics,anuenviionmentisuexteiouslytiansciibeuinthebouyof
hei uebut Bookei-piize winnei novel Tbe 6oJ of Smoll Tbinqs. In epic scale, she naiiates thiough the
peispectiveofsmalltwinchiluien,RahelanuEstha,theInuianpost-inuepenuencesocietypossesseuby
foices of colonial histoiy, Binuu tiauitions anu globalization. Inuia, shiinkeu into the southein-Inuian
state of Keiala between 196us anu 199us, becomes a society ieplete with iacial anu economic
uisciiminationswhichscapegoatstheuntouchablevelutha,thegouofsmallthings,anukillsSophie
Nol, the Inuian English cousin of the twins, implying the impossibility of tiue hybiiuity uue to the
contiauictoiyanubiutalexeicisesanuself-uivisionsinsiuethecountiy.Thesetwopivotaltiaumatizing
events, ielateu in the memoiyfabiic anu ciiculai stiuctuie of the novel, biings about family tiageuies
whosemomentouseffectspaialyzethelivesofRahelanuEstha.
Tickell(2uuS)ueclaiesthatfiftyyeaisafteiinuepenuence,Inuiaisstillstiugglingwiththelegacy
ofcolonialism(p.S)whichexhibitsthefailuieofinuepenuencetolibeiateitssubalteinmembeisfiom
the paws of caste systems, patiiaichal tiauitions, anu the mimiciy of colonial cultuies. Bowevei,
uespite the fact that Roys chaiacteis aie haunteu by the uistuibing shauow of the colonial past, most
obviousinthelinguisticinheiitanceofBiitishcolonialismanucapitalisticenteipiises,Royiewiitesanu
challenges this heiitage anu bieaks ieligious anu social bounuaiies by inteiiacial maiiiages, cioss-
caste affaii as well as tiansgiessive sexuality. She asseits that much of hei oeuvie poitiays the
ielationship between powei anu poweilessness anu the enuless ciiculai conflict theyie engageu in
(as citeu in Tickell, 2uuS, p. 9). To that enu, in hei uelineation of the iecipiocal cycle of miseiy, a
genuineattempttosubveitthehieiaichyofpoweipositionsisuisplayeu.Inthisiespect,Roys(1997)
Tbe 6oJ of Smoll Tbinqs uealswith class antagonism anu class exploitations, exposuie of the tyianny
anu injustice the untouchables have to suffei without any ihyme oi ieason; the insult anu abuse the
womanofthesocietyhavetotoleiate(p.19u).
Roys novel is a ventuie to naiiate the tuibulent histoiy of the Inuian nation, a colonial histoiy
wiitten by the colonizeis. Foi, as Fiantz Fanon (196S) points out in Tbe WretcbeJ of tbe Fortb, the
colonizeis make histoiy anu they aie conscious of making it foi the auvantage of theii mothei
countiy,notthecountiytheyaieexploiting;theiefoie,thehistoiytheywiiteisnotthehistoiyofthe
countiy (p. S1). The obsession of 6STh with histoiy is cleai iight fiom the beginning wheie it
uesignatesahousefoiitanuallotsanotheichapteifoithebiutalchastisementofitsiiotouslow-caste
offenuei,velutha,whouemanusmoiethanhistoiysunjustallocationsfoihiscaste;thisjuxtaposition
explicitly embouies a foiceful confiontation between Big anu Small. In the opening chapteis, Chacko
talking about colonizing manacles of minu, which can nevei be unshackleu without uestiuction anu
loss,likenshistoiytoahousefiomwhichtheuispossesseuaieexcluueu:
But we cant go in, Chacko explaineu, because weve been lockeu out. Anu when we look in thiough the
winuow, all we see aie shauows. Anu when we tiy anu listen, all we heai is a whispeiing. Anu we cannot
unueistanuthewhispeiing,becauseouiminushavebeeninvaueubyawai.Awaithatwehavewonanulost.
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Theyweiewoistsoitofwai.Awaithatcaptuiesuieamanuie-uieamsthem.Awaithathasmaueusauoie
ouiconqueioisanuuespiseouiselves.(Roy pS2).
The twins, Rahel anu Estha, concietize Chackos metaphoiic uesciiption of Bistoiy by attiibuting it to
Kaii Saipus house, the house of the olu colonial Englishman who, as the naiiatoi says, has gone
native, who is Ayemenems own Kuitz anu Ayemenem his piivate Beait of Baikness (ibiu. S1).
Accoiuing to Chacko, even though Inuians have won the inuepenuence stiuggle, they have lost theii
uieams to the impeiial countiies which now hanus them back by ie-uieaming them, by manipulating
them with theii own neo-colonial stanuaius. In this iegaiu, the histoiy house is the symbol, fiist of
colonialism, then of neocolonialism which impeisonates Bistoiy as a uestiuctive agent (Cliiei-
vitasse, 2uu8, p. 7S). }uxtaposing Kaii Saipus house with heait of uaikness anu Kuitz eniiches
Chackos metaphoi, maiking colonial exploitation of Inuia in the name of civilization anu cultuie. But
what is woise is that ghosts anu shauows of the house aie still haunting Inuia thiough its colonial
cultuialheiitagesinceinthepiesentthehistoiyhousehastuineuintoahotelcalleuBeiitage(12u)
wheietouiistsuwelltovisittheBiitishlegacy.
Inpaiticulai,thefatefulheiitageinthenovel,beitcolonialhistoiyoiBinuutiauition,playsfoul
withtheAyemenemshouseanutuinsitintoatheateioftiageuy,;itpillagesveluthas,SophieNols
anu Ammus lives anu haunts Estha aftei the ueath of his beloveu, velutha, to ueciy the violation of
oiuei,tiauitionanuhistoiy(Cliiei-vitasse,2uu8,p.7S).Anuheieliesthesignificanceofthetitle,as
Roy asseits, in the connection between big anu small: uSTB is a book wheie you can connect the
veiy smallest things to the veiy biggest (Baisamian, 2uu1). Theiefoie, the chain of connections
uelineatesthemulti-layeieupatteinofbiganusmallinthenovel,oiiginatingfiomtheveiytitlewhich
challenges the tyianny of big things anu enunciates cieative potential of uissent (Tickell, 2uuS, p.
1u).BeietheuouofBigthingsinuicatestheuouofceitaintyanuauthoiityoi,as}esseT.Aiiauuiputs
it, it manifests the message of Chiistian missionaiies; the schemes of the Naixist anu othei political
paities;thecapitalistmakeoveiofthewonueifulpickle(Inuiannotuill)factoiy(p.14)whichasofficial
uiscouises of the novel luiks into configuiation of small things anu maiginalizes the small lives of
histoiy; namely, the untouchables. 6STh naiiates histoiies which have been silenceu by Bistoiy anu
eiaseufiomthenationalscene,eviuentlybecauseofpoweiielations.
2. Caste and Class

Accoiuing to Binayak Roy, the eponymous phiase stanus foi velutha who as an untouchable
caipentei, caught in the uialectic between Big anu Small, iepuuiates his low-caste stance anu
embiaces fieeuom anu uignity of small things (p. S7). In Binuu tiauition, caste is associateu with
cieation myth of humankinu which in the uismembeiment of the piimeval cosmic man into foui
uiffeientcastesuesignatesthemenialpaittoseivants(Tickell,2uuS,p.22).Thus,asthelow-caste,in
the maigins of caste system, seivants exemplify outcaste oi untouchable communities whose
uuties entail peifoiming uiity, spiiitually polluting activities such as leathei woik, stieet sweeping,
iubbish collection anu uisposing of the ueau (ibiu. p. 2S). Thioughout the novel, the wiitei intimates
thecaste-systeminthepost-inuepenuenceeiaisasstionglytheieasbefoie.Namachiiemembeispie-
inuepenuence time when Paiavans |untouchablesj weie expecteu to ciawl backwaius with a bioom,
sweeping away theii footpiints so that Biahmins oi Syiian Chiistians woulu not uefile themselves by
acciuentally stepping into Paiavans footpiints (p. 71). In the post-inuepenuence peiiou still
Pappachi woulu not allow Paiavans into the house. Nobouy woulu. They weie not alloweu to touch
anything that touchables toucheu (p. 71). Even Namachi, who ueems heiself an altiuist, peisuaues
vellyaPappentosenuhim|veluthajtotheuntouchablesschoolthatheifathei-in-lawPunnyanKunju
haufounueusinceveluthainheiimpenetiabletouchablelogicisatalenteupeisonwhocouluhave
beenanengineeiifheweienotaPaiavan(Roy,1997,p.72).
It is against this backgiounu that velutha mutely iesists being the slave of aichetypes (Fanon,
1982,p.S4),byexcellingincaipentiy,iniepaiiingiauios,clocksanueveninmaintainingthecanning
machinesofthefactoiy,thatheacquiiesthestatusofthegou,thegouofsmallthingswholateiinthe
novelbecomesthegouofloss,thegouofinnocenceasacoiollaiyofhisbeliefinhishumanessenceanu
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his equal iight of existence. The fiist time he peiceives his common humanity is when he catches
Ammus gaze at him while he is holuing Rahel in his aims anu the wiong-footeu histoiy is off the
guaiu:
Inthatbiiefmoment,veluthalookeuupanusawthingsthathehauntseenbefoie:thingsthathaubeenoutof
bounusso fai, obscuieu by histoiys blinkeis. Simple things. Foi instance, he sawthat Rahelsmothei wasa
woman.(Roy,1997,p.168).
This vision enuows velutha with enough couiage to unueimine the caste boiueis by having an affaii
withAmmu,themotheiofthetwins.ToemploytheciiticalfiameofFanon,veluthainueeupievailsthe
uouble piocess of infeiioiity complex which compiises of economic status anu inteinalization of
colonizingstiuctuieswhichaiefabiicateutopiimitivize,uecivilize,anusubjugatehim(Fanon,1982,p.
4S). Bowevei, he is uoomeu since he is betiayeu by one of his own caste, his own fathei, who as a
ueputy of histoiy ieveals the cioss-caste affaii of his son: vellya Paapen tolu Namachi what he hau
seen.Beaskeuuousfoigivenessfoihavingspawneuamonstei.Beoffeieutokillhissonwithhisown
baiehanus.Touestioywhathehaucieateu(6STh7S).Inuoctiinateuwiththeimpuiityanuinfeiioiity
ofhiscaste,vellyaPaapenabominateshissonfoitiansgiessingtheboiueilines.Theexploiteupeison,
Fanon holus, with the atmospheie of submission anu of inhibition (Fanon, 196S, p.4u) acts as the
agentofthemasteisestablisheuoiuei.
At its best, 6STh exhibits that caste uisciimination as well as class uistinction have not
uisappeaieu uespite the vows of national leaueis in the vast pioject of inuepenuence to uestioy the
colonialstiuctuiesanucastebounuaiies.Toinvestigatetheoiigin,anti-colonialiesistance,initiateuby
the stiuggles of peasants anu inuigenous minoiities oi subaltein gioups anu sustaineu by the miuule
class colonizeu subjects, piomoting teims anu mottos of Naixism foi libeiation, succeeueu in
oveithiowing the Biitish iule. Neveitheless, aftei the inuepenuence, intia-countiy, the lives anu
politicalagenciesofsubalteingioupsweieuisiegaiueusincetheconfiguiationofthenewly-libeiateu
nation was pieuicateu on the inteiests of the elitist bouigeois nationalists who weie the iuling
poweioiuominantsocialclass(Noiton,2uuS,p.Su).Asaiesult,thesilencingofthevoices,lives,anu
histoiies of the lowei-class anu the inuigenous communities weie peipetuateu in the ie-uefineu
politics of class, caste, anu genuei. Cuiiously, this, as Spivak has aigueu, occuis thiough uominant
uiscouises masteiwoius oi gianu naiiatives such as Naixism which totalize the heteiogeneous
iealities beneath the suiface anu subsequently uoes not pioviue any ieal iepiesentation of subaltein
gioups anu the unueitakings uiiecteu on theii behalf (ibiu. p. SS). 0bseiving the cential iole of
Naixism in postcolonial Inuia, 6STh with its subaltein consciousness iepiesents paiticulai
uisempoweieugioupswhoaieobjectifieuintheNaixistiepiesentationsmeielyinoiueitocontiolthe
class systems in uisguise since those who piomulgate Naixism aie the veiy membeis of bouigeoisie
claiming that they aie stiiving foi the auvancement of the minoiities iights wheieas they aie
appiehensive of any losing theii own auvantages. In this iegaiu, it shoulu be noteu that the intiicate
patteinofevents,uniavelingtheKeialaNaixism,isieconstiucteuaiounuthepossessivememoiiesof
the twins which signifies a Kaleiuoscopic silence at the heait of the novel oi, as Biana uittins (1998)
holus,gapswhichuncoveithefoigottenoiuenieunaiiatives,silenceueitheiasuelibeiateexclusion
oi of lost memoiy (p. 46). The living silence in the textuie of the novel, uopal notes, piompts the
tellingofthestoiy(uopal,2uu9,p.1S7).

0ncethequietnessaiiiveu,it stayeu anu spieau in Estha.It ieacheu out of his heau anuenfolueu himin its
swampy aims. It iockeu him to the ihythm of an ancient, fetal heaitbeat. It sent its stealthy, suckeieu
tentaclesinchingalongtheinsiuesofhisskull,hoveiingtbe knolls onJ Jells of bis memory |minej,uislouging
olusentences,whiskingthemoffthetipofhistongue.(Roy,1997,p.1S).
The tiaumatic unspeakable (uopal, 2uu9, p. 1S) enveloping Estha, in one ieauing, naiiates the
iepiesseu memoiy of the betiayal of velutha, the most faithfully loving soul uoubly betiayeu fiist by
the Big gou of histoiy anu its piactice of caste oppiession anu seconu by Estha, the small life in the
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novel. Beguileu by the conspiiacy of Inspectoi Nathew anu Baby Kochoma, Estha encounteis velutha
toinciiminatehim:
Swolleneyesopeneu.Wanueieu.Thenfocuseuthioughafilmofbloouonabeloveuchilu.Esthaimagineuthat
something in him smileu. Not his mouth, but some othei unhuit pait 0f him . The Inspectoi askeu his
question.EsthasmouthsaiuYes.Chiluhooutiptoeuout.Silencesliuinlikeabolt.(Roy,1997,p.SuS).
TheuistuibingsilenceofEstha,communicatingtheunacceptablesiueofthings(uittins,1998,p.47)
iecuis fiequently in the back anu foith movements of the naiiative, assuming uiveise hues. veluthas
account, in Esthas silence, puts foiwaiu the naiiative of laigei exclusive silences. As such, velutha is
ominously abanuoneu by theNaixist paity he is allegeu to,which hau avoweu to iestoie his iights of
equality anu humanness. When, infoimeu of the malignant events on the iun, in uespeiate neeu foi
suppoit,hecallsonComiauePillaibutheistoluthatitisnotinthepaitysinteieststotakeup(Roy,
1997, p. 271) peisonal matteis. Apathetically, Comiaue Pillai justifies that inuiviuuals inteiest is
suboiuinatetotheoiganizationsinteiest,foithatieason,violatingPaityBisciplinesmeansviolating
Paity 0nion (Roy, 1997, p. 271). It is this hypociisy which entiiely makes the gianu naiiative
uiscouise of Naixism an empty teim thioughout the novel which takes no notice of the ieal plight of
theuisenfienchiseusuailybatteieuexpeiiences;theuiscouiseofNaixismisinfactieuuceutoanasset
in the hanus of miuule class to exploit the lowei-class efficiently. The wiuespieau uiffusion of
Communism, the naiiatoi foimulates, may have been the iesult of the high level of liteiacy in the
state(Roy,1997,p.64).Sheasseits
The ieal seciet was that Communism ciept into Keiala insiuiously. As a iefoimist movement that nevei
oveitly questioneu the tiauitional values of a caste-iiuuen, extiemely tiauitional community. The Naixists
woikeufiomwitbin thecommunaluiviues,neveichallengingthem,neveiappeaiingnotto.(Roy,1997,p.64)
TheflamboyantiiuiculousgestuiesofCommunism,asthepassageilluminates,leubytheoieticiansanu
theii followeis solely on the level of theoiies anu stiikes, uo not pioviue any tiue pationage of the
subaltein.Byanulaige,thesaiuoniciesonanceofNaixismanuCommunisminthenovelissatiiizeuto
thepointthatitcanuiulycaiicatuiestheNaixistchaiacteis.
Chacko,onetaigetofRoys(1997)cuttingiionies,exemplifiesthemiuule-classpiopeity-owneis;
iionically he is a self-pioclaimeu Naixist (p. 6S). Asa factoiy-ownei he calls pietty women woiking
inhisfactoiytohisioomonthepietextoflectuiingthemonlabouiiightanutiaueunionlawtotake
auvantage of them anu coveis up the affaiis by auuiessing them as comiaue anu uemanuing to be
auuiesseu as comiaue (Roy, 1997, p. 62). The uuplicity involveu in Chackos behavioi is best
expiesseu wheie Ammu iegaius his Naixist oiientation just a case of a spoileu piinceling playing
comiaue! Comiaue! An oxfoiu avatai of the olu Zaminuai mentality a lanuloiu foicing his attention
on women whouepenu on him foi theii livelihoou (Roy,1997, p. 6S). This statement impaits that in
itstiansitionfiomFeuualismtocolonialCapitalismanuinuepenuence,Inuiahasfaileuiniemovingthe
boiueis between piopeity owneis anu laboui gioups in the tiue sense of the woiu. Bis lanuloiu
mentality piompts the so-calleu Naixist Chacko to visit Comiaue Pillai, when he oveiheais the
unwitting woius of Rahel about glimpsing the sight of velutha in the Communist maich, to cioss-
examinetheauthenticityoftheheaisay.Inasignificantmannei,ComiauePillai,anotheitaigetofRoys
ueiision,notonlyacknowleugesveluthaspiesenceinthecommunistuemonstiation,butsuggeststhat
he is going to cause tiouble foi Chacko; hence, it is uiscieet to senu him off, in as much as he is a
Paiavan anu whatevei his gifts oi stiength, he has Paiavan conuitioning. In effect, he cannot be
accepteu by the uecent people since change is one thing. Acceptance is anothei (Roy, 1997, p. 26S).
This is also anothei example of the uispaiity between the appeaiance (Naixist pioclamations) anu
ieality(hiuuenuisciiminations)whichsubstantiatestheconnectionbetweenknowleugeanupowei.In
thiscase,itconveysthatthoseinpossessionofhigheieuucationoiknowleugeofNaixism,insteauof
ievealing the camouflageu piejuuices against subveiting the infiastiuctuie of class, sustain them by
tiyingtopieventpeoplefiomunueistanuingwhatisieallybeinguonetothem(Tickell,2uuS,p.xiv).
Thepoweipolitics,ignoiingthepieuicamentofthelowei-caste,then,beaiswitnesstotheclass-baseu
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stiuctuie of national inuepenuence which in consequence pioviues the founuation of auvanceu neo-
colonialcapitalism(Noiton,2uuS,p.S9).
3. Neocolonialism

To investigate the subject positions in 6STh in teims of capitalism anu neocolonialism, Roys attituue
canbesuccinctlyuesciibeuintwoinclusiveiespects:onefeatuiingtheielationshipsanueventsinthe
chiluhoou of the twins in Ayemenem house anu the othei ievolving aiounu the global maiketing anu
consumeiism which establishes a ie-constiucteu ielationship of the colonizei anu the colonizeu.
Inueeu, these two facets, ueftly juxtaposeu in the ciiculai stiuctuie of the novel, pointing to past anu
piesentsynchionously,citethetiacesofcapitalistanuneocolonialistsubjectpositions.
The Ayemenem family with factoiy-ownei Namachi anu Impeiial Entomologist Pappachi is the
epitome of an uppei-miuule class which, owning piivate piopeity anu a position in the ex-Biitish
goveinmental system, takes foi gianteu its supeiioi status to othei gioups. Theii piiue is specifically
manifestinNammachismanneiofpiesentingheiEnglishbiiuetothestiangeis.
The biiues mateinal gianufathei was my fatheis caipentei. Kunjukutty Eapen1 Bis gieat-gianumotheis
sistei was just a miuwife in Tiivanuium. Ny husbanus family useu to own this whole hill. |Italics in the
oiiginalj(Roy,1997,p.16u).
Theuesiiefoiasupeiioipositionisauuitionallypiojecteuontheiconofthecommeiciallypiospeious
pickle-factoiy the piouucts of which Chacko intenus to sell in the oveiseas maikets; howevei, the
sequence of tiagic events hampeis the uieams of success in the maiketplace. This is the panoiamic
view the novel offeis of the ioots of capitalism in the past anu its global uieams anu ieach in the
piesentwiththesamemastei-slaveuialectic.
Elsewheie, when Rahel ietuins to Ayemenem aftei seveial yeais, she notices Esthas abeiiant
walks.Nitchell(2uuu)inNauNenanuNeuusaspostulatesthattiaumavictimslosetheiicapacity
foi memoiy aftei the tiaumatic shock anu afteiwaius what haunts them is not the memoiy of the
event but the peiception, the ie-piesentation of the expeiience in iconic images (p. 281). Fiom this
peispective, it can be contenueu that whatevei Estha passes by uuiing his stiolls is iepiesenteu
thiough his unconscious anu as he can stanu foi a haunteu peison by histoiy, his peiceptions pictuie
likeacameiatheie-establishmentofhistoiicalcapitalistielationships.
Be walkeu foi houis on enu . Someuay he walkeu along the banks of the iiveis that smelleu of shit anu
pesticiuesboughtwithWoiluBankloans.Nostofthefishhauuieu.Theonesthatsuiviveusuffeieufiomfin-
iotanuhaubiokenoutinboils.0theiuayshewalkeuuowntheioau.Pastthenew,fieshlybakeu,iceu,uulf-
money houses built by nuises, masons, wiie-benueis anu bank cleiks, who woikeu haiu anu unhappily in
faiaway places. Past the iesentful oluei houses tingeu gieen with envy, coweiing theii piivate uiiveways
amongtheiipiivateiubbeitiees.(Roy,1997,p.14).
WhatissignificantinthisexceiptisthatthelaigeinteinationaloiganizationslikeWoiluBankwithits
loans have contiibuteu to the peipetuation of the long-lasting class boiueis anu the ielations of
uominationheieiesultinginthevast-scalepollutionoftheiivei.TheiiveisymbolizestheInuianlifeas
uominateubyueeplyestiangeumiuule-classpeoplewhosemainconceinistopiivatizetheholuings,to
iaise theii capital anu subsequently to be the maiket of the impeiial countiies. Contiaiy to the past
which motivateu capitalist colonialism to exploit the iaw mateiials of the colonies to manufactuie
them into goous so that they woulu be uistiibuteu on the home maikets, in the piesent, aftei
accumulation of enough capital, colonial countiies have mouifieu theii conception of the piofit-
eainingcapacityofacommeicialenteipiise;nowthefoimeicolonieshavebecomemaiketsanuthe
factoiy-owneisanufinancemagnatesoftheinuustiialcountiiesexpectfiomtheiigoveinmentnot
to uecimate the colonial people, but to safeguaiu with the help of economic conventions theii own
legitimateinteiests(Fanon,196S,p.6S).
In paiticulai, the neo-colonial capitalism, oi in othei woius, global business anu cultuial
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impeiialism,positions0niteuStatesofAmeiicaasaglobaleconomicsupei-poweiwhichhasuiawn
the olu colonial maps in the inteiests of multinational coipoiate finance (Noiton, 2uuS, p. S). In this
context,asNullaney(2uu2)putsit,6SThienueisRoysengagementwiththepoliticsofglobalization
anu also hei effoit to expose the ceitain national goveinments like the Woilu Bank anu the INF
(Inteinational Nonetaiy Funu) aie complicit in oiganization, execution anu maintenance of new
impeiialism(p.1S).6STh,then,exploiesthevaiietyofstiategiesueployeubytheieceivingasofthe
senuing cultuie in its tiansactions with a global cultuie (p. 1S). In oiuei to senu theii piouucts the
neo-colonialcapitalismiequiiesaspacetoauveitiseitspiouuctswhichhasbeenpeivasivelypossible
byuishantennasanusatellites,piomotingimpeiialcountiiescultuiesintheeconomicallyueveloping
countiies.Thehegemonicielationsofcapitalism,inthenovel,asLutz(2uu9)illustiates,isembouieuin
the innocuous tiauemaik images, icons of populai cultuie, oi objects foi mass consumption (p. S7).
Inthecouiseofthenovel,thebackwaiu(6STh2S)lifeoftheagingBabyKochammaisinteiestingly
the site of the uesiie anu passion foi the othei anu the otheis cultuie. Inciuentally, apait fiom the
globalaspect,iniegaiutoself-estiangementanuuesiie,itshoulubenoteuthatpositiveself-concept,
enuoweubythesocialstatusoftheinuiviuualsgioupoisocietypiouucessocialiuentitywhichhinueis
socialself-alienation(Ratnasingam,2u1u,p.S).BabyKochamma,asamembeiofafoimeilycolonizeu
countiy, ueeming hei social iuentity of low inteinational status cheiishes luxuiious cultuies. Inueeu,
hei ueep affection foi the colonizeis, piimaiily finus expiession in hei love foi the 0iientalist Fathei
Nulligan, who iesiues in Keiala to stuuy Binuu sciiptuies. As an instance of assimilation, to fulfill hei
love, she ielinquishes hei ieligion to be a Roman Catholic anu then she enteis a convent to alluie the
Fathei by hei uevotion. Bowevei, uisappointeu by his lack of genuine inteiest in hei, she quits the
convent anu leaves the countiy to stuuy oinamental gaiuening so as to iestiain heiself thiough the
ielentless taming of natuie. Aftei Rahels ietuin, ageu as she becomes, Rahel uisceins a mutation in
BabyKochammawhichhasleuheitoembiacethewoilu,thewoiluthatshehauienounceubefoie:
0nuei the tablesheswung heitiny, manicuieu feet, like asmall chilu on a high chaii.They weie puffywith
euema,likelittlefoot-shapeaiicushions.Weaiingmakeup.Weaiingalotofjeweliy.(Roy,1997,p.21).
The ieason foi Baby Kochammas mutation, hei ueteimination to live backwaiu, Rahel uetects is hei
newlovewhichisauishantennaontheioofoftheAyemenemhouse.Ithasmagnanimouslybestoweu
onheithewoiluonasatelliteTv;thus,uayafteiuay,shefollows
Ameiican NBA league games, one-uay ciicket anu all the uianu Slam tennis touinaments. 0n weekuays she
watcheuTbeBolJonJtbeBeoutifulanuSontoBorboro,wheiebiittleblonueswithlipstickanuhaiistylesiigiu
with spiay seuuceu anuioius anu uefenueu theii sexual empiies. Baby Kochamma loveu theii shiny clothes
anu the smait, witchy iepaitee. Buiing the uay, uisconnecteu snatches of it came back to hei anu maue hei
chuckle.{Roy,1997,p.28).
ThepassageclaiifieshowtheeveiyuaylifeofBabyKochammaiscommouifieuunueicapitalism(Lutz,
2uu9,p.S8).Asitwasmentioneu,uuetothelackofapositiveself-image,sheispassivelycaptivateuby
the lavish Ameiican consumei cultuie which stocks the ieceivei cultuies with pie-packageu ieality
(Lutz, 2uu9, p. 6u) in oiuei to manipulate the complex political, social anu economic stiuctuies of
global capitalism. Accoiuingly, the social oiuei anu the subject position in neo-colonial uomination
becomes that of the olu ielation of colonizei anu colonizeu which is contiolleu by psychologically
ciyptic means. Yet, Roy, censuiing the neo-colonial exeicises, uoes not ieveise the oiientalist
uiscouise, to tuin the 0thei into the Same by pioving that Inuia is as enlighteneu, as iational, as
civilizeu as Ameiica (as citeu in Lutz, 2uu9). Insteau, thioughout Rahels iesiuence in Ameiica, she
poitiaysawilu,uncivilizeulanuwheiepeopleaieshotthioughtheiicaiwinuows(Roy,1997,p.21).
As such, she tuins the Same into the 0thei, exhibiting an Ameiica which is as iiiational, biutal,
unuemociaticanumale-oiienteuasInuia(asciteuinLutz,2uu9,p.6u).


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4. Women as the subaltern

Biscussing so fai the multiple guises of subject positions, centeiing on the uisempoweieu anu
uisenfianchiseu,wenowuwellonanotheisetofuominationanucontiolielationswhichconceinsthe
womens question in the novel anu the fact that women as the subaltein cannot speak. 0veiall, 6STh
uepictsauoublepatteinofwomenslivessinceattheoneenutheieaieNammachissilent toleiation
ofuomesticviolenceanuBabyKochammascultuially-uisempoweieupositionasafemalewhocannot
openlyexpiessheilove,anuattheotheienu,theieaieAmmusinsuigentiefutationofthepatiiaichal
tiauition in Keiala by hei uncommon maiiiage anu hei cioss-caste affaii, as well as Rahels uiaspoiic
maiiiage anu tiansgiessive sexuality. As Young (199u) ueclaies, in Wbite Hytboloqies, the notion of
unuiffeientiateu colonial subject oi subaltein is pioblematizeu because of the factois of class, iace,
anu sex, which negating monolithic uominating powei, cieate a heteiogeneous fielu (p. 2uS). In this
context,womenassubalteininthenovelcannotbeexamineumeielyonthegiounusofsexanugenuei
iolesbuttheissuesofiaceanuclassshoulualsobetakenintoaccount.
uiven the oppiessive patiiaichal stiuctuies the novel shows how a womans social anu
economical agency is not welcomeu, but conuemneu anu unueivalueu. As such, Nammachis thiiving
pickleanujambusinessisignominioustotheoluPappachiwhoiesentstheattentionhiswifeieceives
anuuespisesheivigoianupiouuctivity.Inievenge,hebeatsheiwithabiassfloweivaseeveiynight
anuwhenheknowsvisitoisaieexpecteu,sittingontheveianuah,hesewsbuttonsthataienotmissing
onto his shiit, only to cieate the impiession that Nammachi neglects him in oiuei that he changes
Ayemenem view of woiking wives (47). As Piasau (2uuua, 2uuub) notes, Pappachi is a man of
Schizophienia who behaves like a uescent man but uemonstiates his male ego anu bouigeois
mentalitywhenhetyiannizeshiswifeanuchilu.Pappachisuaughtei,Ammu,isalsooppiesseubyhis
uespotism:Pappachiinsisteuthatacollegeeuucationwasanunnecessaiyexpensefoiaqirl,soAmmu
hau no choice othei than waiting foi maiiiage pioposal while she helpeu hei mothei with the
housewoik (Roy, 1997, p. S8) (Italics auueu). Neveitheless, ueveloping a gianu sense of injustice,
inequality,anuciuelty,Ammuescapesthesuffocatinghomeofheifatheibyafaultymaiiiageinwhich
theuiunkenhusbanuoffeisheitohisEnglishbossfoihiscaieeiauvantages.Fiustiateu,wiuoweu,anu
with two chiluien, she finus no iesolution to suivive as a woman but to ietuin to hei pateinal house:
theiewasonlyAyemenemnow.Afiontveianuahanuabackveianuah(Roy,1997,p.42).Inthisline
ofself-effacement,suppiessionanuexploitation,BabyKochammaisalsouoomeubyheisexanuiace.
Toaceitainextent,heifateuloveisnotheeueuoitakenseiiouslysince,inthefiistplace,asawoman
sheisnotinthepositionofasubjecttoexpiessheiloveanuseconulyshebelongstoacolonizeuanu
infeiioiiace.
In auuition to the poitiayal of the infeiioi status of the female subaltein, the novel bioachesthe
possibility of womens possessing a self anu fieeuom of choice. Bowevei, it shoulu be noteu that this
possibilityisoffeieuinlinewiththewiiteismoieoilesslibeialhumaniststanceiegaiuingtheissueof
sexuality (auvocating of fiee love). So we aie tolu that aftei seven yeais of self-abnegation anu self-
uevotion to hei chiluien, Ammu sexually awakens by a ueep uesiie foi velutha. The unleaining of
patiiaichalstiuctuies,thenovelsignifies,confeisonAmmuanauuacioustiustinheiiepiesseuselfto
challenge the bounuaiies of love laws; the laws which lay who shoulu be loveu, anu how. Anu how
much(Roy,1997,p.SS).ToNamachi(whoconsiueisChackoslibeitineielationshipwithwomenasa
Nans neeus anu has a sepaiate entiance built foi the object of his neeus, (Roy, 1997, p. 16u)),
Ammus sexual tiansgiession is a stigma which uishonois theii family ieputation. Alieauy
uisempoweieu anu uismisseu as a woman anu then as a wiuow, because of hei caste-bieaking affaii,
Ammubecomesuispossesseuofhome.ChackothiowingAmmuoutoftheiifamilyhouseshouts:
uet out of my house befoie I bieak eveiy bone in youi bouy! Hy house. Hy pineapples. Hy pickles. (Roy,
1997,p.214).
The naiiatois iionic iepetition of Ny intimates hei impatience with the patiiaichal possessive
languageanuuelicatelyquestionsitsequity.Katiak(2uu6)encapsulatestheimpasseofthethiiuwoilu
female piotagonists in the following teims: they aie faceu with a complicateu mesh of powei
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ielationships that they have inteinalizeu. As they negotiate these institutionalizeu piesciiptions of
sexual behavioi, they face no-win situations: obey the uominant coue anu suivive, even if that entails
seiious self-censoiship; oi uisobey tiauition, step outsiue the bounuaiies, anu pay the ultimate piice
(16u).InthecaseofAmmu,sheselectstheseconu,eventhoughattheexpenseofheilife.Ingeneial,it
is eviuent that the subject position of female subaltein, as shown in the novel, is uoubly
maiginalizeubyviitueofielativeeconomicuisauvantageanugenueisuboiuination(Noiton,2uuS,
p.61).
0nlike the batteieu life of Ammu, Rahels life miiiois hei paitial self-iealization. Inheiiting hei
motheisuefiance,Rahelstuuiesaichitectuieanuenteisintothewoilu,fiomalittlevillagetoacityanu
then to Ameiica, anu maiiies an Ameiican. This, as Aijaz Ahmau obseives, enuows hei with an
autonomousselfinthestiflingwoiluofthepiovincial,caste-bounugentilityofheifamily(p.116).0n
hei ietuin as a uivoiceu woman, Rahel tiansgiessively ie-unites with his biothei to heal his psychic
wounus(p.116).Consiueiingmaleanufemalesubjectpositions,Phoca(2uu6)aiguesthatessentialist
thinkingassumesthatwomanisanothei(p.48)butRahelchallengesthisbyauoptingbothmaleanu
female subject positions anu iesisting fixeu anu stable iuentity which makes hei the most iesilient
chaiacteiinthenovel.
In a laigei context, the novels pieoccupation with the womens question stems fiom highly
autobiogiaphical elements. Ammus wiuowhoou ieminus one of the uivoice of Roys paients anu also
hei motheis (Naiy Roy) foiceu ietuin with the chiluien to hei family home in the small town of
Ayemenem (Tickell, 2uuS, p. 12).Thus, 6STh can be the liveu expeiiences of Roy as a chilu who
innocently obseives how hei mothei was nevei fully accepteu back into the conseivative woilu of
iuialKeiala(Tickell,2uuS,p.12).Thistextuieofielentlesspatiiaichysubsequentlypioviuesthefuel
foi Roys feminist poitiayal of womens subalteinity in 6STh, a novel which, as Spivak maintains, is
ueeply in shauow (as citeu in Noiton, 2uuS, p. S9), anu naiiates the silencing anu censuiing of
womeninthecontextofPostcolonialInuia.Significantly,heie,liteiatuiebecomesanaienatoaiticulate
thelivesanuagencyofsubalteinwomen.
The uiscusseu subject positions, imposeu histoiically anu tiauitionally, signal the failuies anu
pioblems of postcoloniality. Cential to the thematic of the novel is the illustiation of the failuie to
eliminate the iigiu class system anu patiiaichal tiauitions as well as the fact that by theii sustenance
thenationhasbeenoffeieutoneocolonialcapitalismwhichsetstheoluielationsofthecolonizeianu
thecolonizeu.ThisnaiiativeisunfolueuthioughthetiageuyofveluthaanuAmmuwhichteiminatesin
theiimiseiableueaths.
5. Culture and Colonialism

Fuitheimoie,theinteiielateuplotiecountsthenaiiativeofmimicpeoplewhoasacoiollaiyofcolonial
heiitage anu clash of cultuies auopt English language anu manneis. In this fiame of iefeience, Roy
pioposesthepossibilityofthefusionofiaceswhichistiansciibeuinthefiguieofSophieNol,Chackos
Inuian-Englishuaughtei.Tothisenu,Royconscientiouslyuelineatestheambivalenceanucontiauiction
ofaffiiminganunegatingthecultuieoftheothei.Inueeu,ateveiypointinthenovel,theuesiiefoithe
othei culminates in the iuentification with the cultuie of the othei, which begets a space of splitting.
Fanon (1982) contenus that colonizeu people oi those who have inuoctiinateuinfeiioiity complex, in
theii encountei with the language anu cultuie of the civilizing nation, think that they aie assumeu
civilizeuanuelevateuiftheyappiopiiatethecultuialstanuaiusoftheotheiscultuie(Fanon,1982,p.
18). Regaiuing this, 6STh piesents two appioaches to the English language anu cultuie: the fiist is
chaiacteiizeu by Chackos anu Baby Kochammas mannei of tieating English cultuie anu the seconu
maiks the twins uealings with English language. uiauuateu fiom 0xfoiu anu maiiieu to an English
woman, Chacko nuituies a high self-esteem supposing that he is moie English than Inuian: Chackos
ioomwasstackeufiomflooitoceilingwithbooks.Behauieauthemallanuquoteulongpassagesfiom
themfoinoappaientieason....Foiinstance, that moiningastheyuioveout Chackosuuuenlysaiu,
6otsby turneJ out oll riqbt (Roy, 1997, p. S8). 0sing Fanon, this scene iepiesents assuming of
anotheis cultuie which is an instance of a uislocation, a sepaiation between the self anu the native
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cultuie.ThenaiiatoimakesexplicitChackosself-estiangement:Chackotoluthetwinsthat,thoughhe
hateutoaumitit,theyweieallAnglophiles.TheyweieafamilyofAnglophile(Roy,1997,p.S1).Theie
is moie giatification in this acknowleugement than uisavowal, moie affection than uisinteiest. Bue to
this passion foi English language, the twins aie uigeu by eveiy membei of the family to leain anu
acquiie English language anu liteiatuie. Quite often, they aie consigneu to look up Reaueis Bigest
uieat Encyclopeuic Bictionaiy (Roy, 1997, p. Su) to leain the exact meaning of the woius.
Inteiestingly,toeuucate,oi,tophiaseituiffeiently,toconuitionthetwins,BabyKochammaanuAmmu
obligate them to ieau the classics of English Liteiatuie (namely, Shakespeaies plays), not those of
Inuian liteiatuie. To punish the twins foi bieaking the iule of always speaking English, Baby
Kochamma coeices the twins to wiite a hunuieu times, I will always speak in English. I will always
speakinEnglish(Roy,1997,p.S6).
TheclimaxoftheuesiietobeassimilateuinthecultuieoftheotheifinusiesonancewhenBaby
Kochamma, welcoming Sophie Nol, likens hei to Aiiel in Tbe Tempest, a woik which Sophie Nol,
iionically, uoes not know of. The naiiatoi immeuiately comments: all this was of couise piimaiily to
announce hei cieuentials to Naigaiet Kochamma, to set heiself apait fiom the sweepei class (Roy,
1997, p. 1S8). In this anu othei instances the infeiioiity complex uiminishes the self-esteem of the
InuianchaiacteisauuingtheatiicalitytotheiiEnglishways.Incontiasttothestatic,mechanical,anu
iegulatoiy appioach to English language which the naiiatoi tacitly ciiticizes, the twins methou of
facing theii colonial heiitage is novel anu uynamic. Rathei than memoiizing the patches of language
anu being uominateu by them, they touch anu feel the language at the level of woius. Foi instance,
Rahel examining the woiu boot, imaginatively thinks that it is a lovely woiu. A much bettei woiu, at
any iate, than stuiuy. Stuiuy was a teiiible woiu. Like a uwaifs name (p. 16S). Accoiuing to Anna
Claike,Royschoiceofchilupiotagonistsanufocalizeisisahighlyeffectivestiategyiniepiesenting
the uninhibiteu, playful anu cieative attituue (p. 1SS) to ueal with the language of the othei which
insteauofcolonizingiigiuly,offeisauynamiclinguisticpowei.Ineffect,theyenjoymakingupwoius
anu bieaking the iules of uiammai, anu they cheiish the sounu of the woius without even knowing
theii meaning (Claike, 2uuS, p. 1SS). By juxtaposing the auults anu the twins mannei of employing
the alien language Roy unueitakes a iegeneiating cultuial mission which examines anu ciitiques
filiationsanuaffiliationssothatshegivesvoicetoheiowncultuie.Nonetheless,heicultuialenteipiise
isnotsimilaitoPostcolonialnationalistcultuialenteipiiseswhichaiecontiauictoiybecausetheyaie
both imitative anu hostile to the mouels they imitate (Chatteijee, 1986, p. 2). Rathei, Roy by
unueiminingthevalueofstanuaius,establisheubythecolonizeiscultuie,unueiminestheuiscouises
of the colonial powei anu mimiciy anu hence, iejects the fixeu anu immobile imitation by
peifoimativelyieconstiuctingthelanguagestiuctuieswhichbluis theboiueisofthenativeanualien
languages (p.2). This is analogous to Bhabhas (1984) theoiy of subveision of authoiity thiough
hybiiuization which is a way of negotiating the boiueis anu tianscenuing the uiffeiences. But uespite
Roys attempt to iefoimulate anu ie-uefine the colonial uiscouise, the novel shows that colonial
patteins aie inculcateu in the unconscious of the chaiacteis, both the ex-colonizeu anu the ex-
colonizeis. The best manifestation of this colonial stiuctuie is embeuueu in the welcoming scene in
AyemenemhousewhenNaigaietKochammaisamazeuwatchingKochuNaiia,thecook,takingSophie
Nolshanusinheisanuiaisingthemtoheifacesoastoinhaleueeply.
Whossheanuwhysshesmellingmyhanus1
Shesthecook,Chackosaiu.Thatsheiwayofkissingyou.
Kissing1SophieNolwasunconvinceu,butinteiesteu.
Bow maivelous! Naigaiet Kochamma saiu. Its a soit of sniffling! Bo the men anu women uo it to each
otheitoo1
Shehauntmeantittosounuquitelikethat,anusheblusheu.Anembaiiasseuschoolteachei-shapeuBolein
theuniveise.
0h,allthetime!Ammusaiu,anuitcameoutalittlelouueithanthesaicasticmumblethatshehauintenueu.
Thatshowwemakebabies(Roy,1997,p.17u).
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Beie,thescenaiioofcolonialuiffeience,cultuialoiiacialhauntsthescenetoietuinittosome
piioi, aichaic image oi iuentity (Bhabha, 198S, p. 144). Yet, as Bhabha fuithei explains, it is neithei
oiiginal uue to the act of iepetition that it unueiwiites (eveiy iepetition is a ie-iteiation, that is,
iepetition with suiplus which uoes not allow it to coiiesponu with oiiginal) noi iuentical because of
the uiffeience it insciibes between the imagineu anu the ieal. The ambivalence, theiefoie, inteiiupts
the colonial positionality of the colonizei anu the colonizeu anu challenges its possibility. 0nuei
Naigaiet Kochammas gaze, the iuentity of Kochu Naiia anu mainly the Inuian is fiagmenteu in the
cultuialsymbolismoftheotheiwhichpiojectslegenusanustoiiesontotheobjectofthegaze.Thus,foi
Ammuthescenetuinsintoacolonialscenewhichpiovokesheipsychicuefense:mustwebehavelike
somegoufoisakentiibethatsjustbeenuiscoveieu1(Roy,1997,p.171)
ueneially, the opeiation of oiientalist uiscouise as exposeu in this scene can be thoioughly
summeuupinSaiuais(1999)statement:foithewesteingaze,theoiientoffeisexotic,sinful,sexual
uelightallwiappeuinanancient,mysticalanumysteiioustiauition(p.6).Assuch,byimaginingmen
anu womens encountei thiough sniffing, Naigaiet Kochamma fantasizes that she is in an exotic lanu
wheie it is likely to obseive uiffeient vaiieties of mystical sexual uelights. The scene instances Saius
(1978) uefinitionof oiientalism as a uiscouise limning patently uistinctive uiffeiences between iaces,
civilizations, anu languages as ineiauicable, a uiscouise which sets the ieal bounuaiies between
human beings, on which iaces, nations, anu civilizations weie constiucteu (p. 2SS). Bowevei, these
constiuctions aie pieuicateu on an ambivalence which makes the colonial subject concuiiently the
same as the colonizeis anu also uiffeient oi, in Bhabhas woius, almost the same but not quite
(Bhabha,1984,p.126).
6. Conclusion

In the cauluion of inheient uisciiminatoiy anu paiauoxical piactices within Inuia anu the mimiciy of
the cultuie of the othei, infuseu with oiientalism, Roy tests the possibility of a tiue negotiation of
cultuies,iacesanusexes,agenuinehybiiuity.Bowevei,thenovelappaientlyisnotoveitlyoptimistic
about this possibility. Sophie Nol, of Inuian anu English stock, acciuentally uies anu by the enu of the
novel the pickle factoiy of Paiauise Pickles anu Pieseives, which metaphoiically signifies the
pieseivation anu mingling of uiveise histoiies anu memoiies (Innes, 2uu7, p. 11S), is abanuoneu.
Revisiting the house of histoiy the colonial legacy Aiunuhati Roy seems to have founu it still too
haunteutohousegenuinehybiiuity.
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