Voicing the unvoiced: mahasweta devi’s salt

International Journal of Development Research

Article ID: 
4 pages
Research Article

Voicing the unvoiced: mahasweta devi’s salt

Dr. Jyoti Syal


Mahasweta Devi is one of those leading writers who have an unflinching commitment for the underdog. The major part of her creative writing is characterized by an unwavering dedication and ardour for the underdog. Her stories give voice to tribal – Santhals, Lodhas, Shabars and Mundas and the junction of folk and the modern, the mainstream and the margin, colonialism and post-colonialism. Her stories are deeply rooted in her own experiences with the people about whom she writes. The present paper is an attempt to learn how difficult it is for tribal people to gain the facilities and privileges, taken for granted in the mainstream society. Salt, the second story of Bitter Soil, is one of Devi’s best stories. Salt symbolizes the earth, whose basic life giving properties are denied to some. Salt is a story written to express the deep anguish over a commodity that is consumed by a man irrespective of his/ her status. Violence in turn is suggested the only way out. The story is set in 1960s, in a tribal village named Jhujhar, situated in the lap of the Palamau Reserve forest right next to the Koel river. The entire forest was owned by Uttamchand, who forced the tribal of the village into wage less labour. When the villagers refuse to do so, Uttamchand makes it sure that salt, which is one of the basic commodity is not available to them in the whole village. The story shows how the tribal have faced injustice and are still facing it but the difference lies in the fact that they are raising their voice against it.

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