Document Type : Research Article
This paper, titled Gender Subalternity in Amitav Ghosh’s Sea of Poppies, explores the depiction of how Deeti, is made gender subaltern both in her own house and outside. Deeti is the main female character in Sea of Poppies, the first Volume of Amitav Ghosh’s Ibis Trilogy. Amitav Ghosh, a social anthropologist by academic training is born in Calcutta in a Bengali family. He has written extensively in both fiction and non-fiction sphere of literature and bagged many awards to his credit. He has been awarded 54th Jnanpith award, the highest literary award in India, for his outstanding contribution to the enrichment of Indian Literature in English. The materials for Amitav Ghosh’s writings are drawn from the plight of human beings. In Sea of Poppies he has turned his eyes to the nineteenth century opium trade. Deeti in the novel is married to Hukam Singh, an Opium addict, who was wounded in battle. She has a daughter named Kabutri, who was actually fathered by her brother in law Chandn Singh. When Hukam dies, she is forced to marry Chandan Singh. She decides to commit sati on Hukam’s funeral pyre, rather than marrying Chandan Singh. She is rescued by Kalua, an untouchable whom she once saved. Together with Kalua she leaves her village for Calcutta and boards the Ibis to go to Mauritius as an indentured labourer. ‘The Subaltern Theory’ proposed by Gayathri Chakravorthy Spivak is used to analyse how Deeti is made a gender subaltern. The study applies some central discussions of Spivak and Edward W. Said. They are mentioned as the important ones in order to illuminate various aspects of this issue. This study finds out that Gender Subalternity prevails in the life of Deeti due to patriarchal society in which Deeti lives. This study also concentrates on the role of patriarchy and its attempts to put the women in an undesirable situation. As a gender subaltern Deeti endures all the subjugation in her in-law’s house. This study further shows how Amitav Ghosh, the writer portrays the cruelty imposed on the Indian women throughout the periods of time by the patriarchal system.