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Title: The Necropolitical Residue: Re-versing the Metanarrative of Welfare State in Mahasweta Devi's “Pterodactyl, Puran Sahay, and Pirtha”
Authors: Panda, Arnab
Keywords: Bare Life
Homo Sacer
imagined community
Issue Date: 2023
Publisher: Registrar, Vidyasagar University on behalf of Vidyasagar University Publication Division, Midnapore, West Bengal, India, 721102
Series/Report no.: Volume-16;
Abstract: A nation-state, as Benedict Anderson rightly proclaimed, is an ‘imagined community’ invariably galvanized around certain culturally constructed and socio-historically disseminated metanarratives. Infact, the idea of a nation-state is itself an absurd metanarrative forged to gag thousands of dissentious little narratives gushing out of the fringes. Thus, this constant friction between coercive grand narratives and dissentious little narratives epitomizes the dialectics of any nation-state. In order to silence these destabilizing narratives and thereby safeguard their own existence, governmentality programmes often evolve into constrictive necropolitical machines inclined to eliminate selected 'bare lives' by ‘conferring upon them the status of living dead’. This violent process is again strategically camouflaged and to some extent justified by utilizing some other metanarratives (modernity and progress in our case) and thus the Mobius strip rolls on. In such a recurring loop of grand narratives, is it at all possible for the subaltern narratives to gush out of the labyrinth so as to move out of the ‘bare’ gaze? That is precisely what this paper will explore through a close reading of Mahasweta Devi’s story “Pterodactyl, Puran Sahay, and Pirtha”. By using Achille Mbembe’s idea of ‘necropolitics’, this paper will reveal how the nation-state strategically produces necrospaces through bio-sampling only to shield its constitutional metanarrative. Complementing Mbembe, this paper will also borrow Giorgio Agamben’s ideas of ‘Homo Sacer’, and ‘Bare Life’ in order to unmask the concealed agenda of the necropolitical complex. Finally, this paper will focus on the inevitable supernatural turn of these long-ignored narratives (the metaphor of pterodactyl and spirits of communal forefathers in this story) not only as a tactic to capture the attention of a powerful center but also as a strategy of symbolic resistance against the whimsical imposition of another grand narrative called modernity.
Description: PP:13-23
ISSN: 0973-3671
Appears in Collections:Journal of the Department of English - Vol 16 [2023]

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