Ecofeminist Concerns and Subaltern Perspectives on ‘Third World’ Indigenous Women: A Study of Selected Works of Mahasweta Devi
The lives of Aboriginals, as an indigenous form of a subaltern identity, have been less documented in narratives so far. Indigenous subaltern identity forms an alter-identity in which indigenous women’s identity is even more silenced in the social order of gender hierarchy. Maria Mies and Vandana Shiva in their book Ecofeminism locate the “Third World Woman” (in India) as a stakeholder of indigenous identity. The knowledge of Third World women in nurturing biodiversity drastically differs from both the Androcentric and Eurocentric models of bio-conservation. Indigenous women and the indigenous flora are both objects of genocidal violence, identity dissolution, and cultural extinction as their contribution to conservation is not recognized. As Gayatri Spivak in her seminal book Can the Subaltern Speak? voices, “The subaltern has no history and cannot speak, the subaltern as female is even more deeply in the shadow.” Mahasweta Devi, renowned Indian author and social activist, portrays the marginalized Indigenous and their struggle for survival. The Indigenous are dispossessed and the indigenous women are even more displaced. Indigenous women characters of Devi’s selected works such as The Book of the Hunter and The Witch, belonging to the Shabar, Santal, Oraon, and Munda tribal communities, live in tune with ethnocentric ecological order. They are the forest dwellers who think of the forest as a unique bio-habitat in harmony with women, thereby preserving Mother Nature.
Das, Bholanath and Hossain, Sahel Md Delabul
"Ecofeminist Concerns and Subaltern Perspectives on ‘Third World’ Indigenous Women: A Study of Selected Works of Mahasweta Devi,"
Journal of International Women's Studies: Vol. 25:
2, Article 2.
Available at: https://vc.bridgew.edu/jiws/vol25/iss2/2