Chotti Munda and His Arrow

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Wiley, Feb 7, 2003 - Literary Criticism - 328 pages
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Written in 1980, this novel by prize-winning Indian writer Mahasweta Devi, translated and introduced by Gayatri Chakravorty Sprivak, is remarkable for the way in which it touches on vital issues that have in subsequent decades grown into matters of urgent social conern.

  • Written by one of India’s foremost novelists, and translated by an eminent cultural and critical theorist.
  • Ranges over decades in the life of Chotti – the central character – in which India moves from colonial rule to independence, and then to the unrest of the 1970s.
  • Traces the changes, some forced, some welcome, in the daily lives of a marginalized rural community.
  • Raises questions about the place of the tribal on the map of national identity, land rights and human rights, the ‘museumization’ of ‘ethnic’ cultures, and the justifications of violent resistance as the last resort of a desperate people.
  • Represents enlightening reading for students and scholars of postcolonial literature and postcolonial studies.

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This is a historical novel depicting the adivasi struggle (one of the aboriginal tribes) of north east in the twentieth century. The novel was originally written in Bengali and later translated in ... Read full review

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About the author (2003)

Mahasweta Devi is widely acknowledged as one of India's foremost writers. In 1996, she won the Jnanpith Award (India's highest literary award) and the Magsaysay Award (considered to be Asia's version of the Nobel Prize). She was also awarded the Padmasree in 1986, for her activist work amongst dispossessed tribal communities.


Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak is the Avalon Foundation Professor in the Humanities at Columbia University, New York. Her many publications include Of Grammatology (1976), the translation with critical introduction of Jacques Derrida's De la grammmatologie. She has also published translations of Mahasweta Devi’s Imaginary Maps(1994), Breast Stories(1997), and Old Women(1999), and is currently translating for the definitive edition of the Selected Works of Mahasweta Devi. Other Asias, a collection of her essays, will be published by Blackwell in 2003.

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