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I will try to clarify: I do not mean that individuals like Deeti and Neel have completely no hold over the reality they inhabit, or that they are unable to assert their respective individualities.
But with new properties there came a great number of dependants who had all to be fed and maintained; much of the new land proved to be uncultivable, and the new houses quickly became an additional drain since the Raja would not suffer them to be rented”.
(86-87) In a country like India, the origin of capitalism becomes hard to extricate from its colonial history.
The epistemological thrust of the novel is such that it continuously redefines itself as a genre/art and also resuscitates and radically transforms what it takes as its subject.
So, novelisation of Indian colonial history would be to render to a state of ambiguity and open-endedness a discourse that for the Indian imagination is a finished narrative. To answer this question in a regrettably schematic manner: it signifies three things.
While this is not the place to explain this assertion, I can direct the reader to what I think is a crucial clue.
The European novel (Ghosh’s work to my mind, falls in this genealogy of the novel) is a part of the same constellation of notions as modernity, Cartesian doubt, relativism and so on.
This novel to my mind narrates the exposure of Indian people to capitalist demands, mediated as it was by a period dominated by the accumulative logic of British capitalism.
When I say people, I don’t use it in the usual populist sense, but in a much wider one; “people” includes the ordinary people, feudal lords, women, men, children, everybody.
The narratives of theocracy, nationalism, state and when investigated at one discrete moment, of resistance are examples of what I call monologic discourses.
A novelistic ontology is different from if not opposed to the sphere that any monologic discourse occupies (as Kundera indicates in the first chapter of ).