Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Hostname: page-component-848d4c4894-pjpqr Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-06-20T15:35:32.332Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

2 - The Moment of Ḍaukā Purān

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  13 April 2024

Vijay Mishra
Affiliation:
Murdoch University, Western Australia
Get access

Summary

There are few works of world literature that may be unproblematically categorized as subaltern writing. As the voice of peoples marginalized by the grand narratives of world history, including that of colonization, they exist as ephemeral entries (often via translations) in critical discourses on subaltern theory and practice. As autonomous, self-defining texts representative of that voice the examples are few. This is true as well of plantation Indian history (the general backdrop of this study) where once again the texts, often orally transmitted, exist only as fragmentary narratives. A proper intertextual framing of subaltern works is therefore impossible. However, there are a few challenging and defiantly exclusive subaltern texts in the critical bibliography of the field, and these may be mentioned: poems and prose works by Trinidadian and Guyanese Indians such as David Dabydeen, Kumar Mahabir and Rooplall Monar, plays by the Mauritian Patois French writer Dev Virahsawmy and the poems of the Suriname Bhojpuri writer Jit Narain.1 This is an incomplete and partial list that needs correction. In these limited citations, the one work that stands out is Dev Virahsawmy’s dramatic re-rendering of Shakespeare’s The Tempest as Toufann (‘Tempest’). But even as one concedes the power and originality of Virahsawmy’s challenging work, there is nothing in the Indian plantation subaltern literary archive remotely comparable to Subramani’s monumental novels Ḍaukā Purān and Fījī Māṁ (hereafter the latter without diacritical marks and given as Fiji Maa). As already noted, they are works of such exceptional power and originality that they require not only critical analysis but also critical exposure. This chapter is aimed at filling that need with reference to the first of the two novels by Subramani written in the Fiji Hindi demotic.

Subramani’s Ḍaukā Purān (‘The Subaltern Tale’ as I have translated the title) is a rich, indeed seminal, text through which we can talk about subaltern voice and speech. Many books and essays have been written about plantation and post-plantation Fiji history, but there is no work that explores life worlds through which an alternative, subaltern, narrative could be theorized.

Type
Chapter
Information
Publisher: Anthem Press
Print publication year: 2024

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Save book to Kindle

To save this book to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats
×

Save book to Dropbox

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Available formats
×