2009-10 AM Fictions of India - Expert Group on Nation (India)

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Expert Group on Nation (India)

Group: Representations of India


- Crowded societies composed of very different ethnic and cultural groups that live in mixed communities or close proximity

- Less social tension between these groups than between single individuals (cf. Lurgan Sahib‘s hatred on Kim) or between different nations (cf. British vs. Russians in the Great Game)

- British colonial power ensuring harmony?


- High social tension between outcastes and upper castes

- Most prominent example: Bakha touches an upper caste member by accident (cf. p. 46)

- Outcastes forced to announce their approach when they leave their colony

- Social exclusion of other minorities apart from low-caste Hindus (e.g. Mohammedans)

- Injustice and discrimination exerted by upper castes

- Few exceptions (eg. the high-caste Hindu Charat Singh, cf. p. 105-110))

- Counter-movements (Only the Ghandian movement is portrayed in the novel!)

- Role of British colonial power in this conflict?

Midnight's Children

- Multiple ethnic and social groups

- At the beginning of the novel: relative peace between those groups

- Considerable change of this relative harmony as the plot unfolds

Group: Similarities and Contrasts in Kim and Untouchable

Kim and Bakha are symbols for the ongoing national change (Modern India)

- Kim is not in a caste and therefore behaves freely

- Bakha is trying to life like a British

Discussion result:

- are Kim and Bakha passive or active acting towards the national change?

- is their way of acting determined by the caste system?

Discussion result:

- The topic of Nation is closely connected to the term „Caste System“.

Mulk Raj Anand "Untouchable" (Group: Impersonal narration and the ideology of the text: The representation of India and of Bakha's consciousness)


- India: Mother India

- Characters: Bakha's mother /Sohini (B.'s sister)

- Features: the essence of India; essentially good; knows what its men need; caring; vulnerable

- References:

→ p. 14 („Indian to the core […] so loving, so good, and withal generous,giving, always giving[...]kindness personified.“)

→ p. 23 („She had sensed with her deep woman's instinct the feeling in her brother's soul. He was tired. He was thirsty.“)

→ p. 31 („Her father was abusing her“)


- India: Father India = Old India

- Characters: Lakha (B.'s father)/ Rakha (B.'sbrother)/ Gulabo

- Features: fearfully obeying the British; hierarchical thinking (passed down the generations;sometimes distant from Hinduism (under colonialism)

- References::

→ p. 12 („he is afraid of the sepoys“); 13(„attend to the latrines, or the sepoys will be angry.“)
→ p. 17 („that trait of servility […] he had inherited from his forefathers, the weakness of the down-trodden“)
→ p. 85 („ They all ate from the same basket […] not apportioning the food in different plates as the Hindus do, for the original Hindu instinct for cleanliness had disappeared long ago.“) 


- India: Empire in India

- Characters: The „Tommies“ - patronizing India(ns)

- Features: influencing India; imposing a different worldview on India

- References:

→ p. 121 („of the band of Christian missionaries“)
→ p. 9 („The Tommies had treated him as a human being“)
→ p. 9 („he had learnt to think of himself as superior to his fellow-outcastes.“) 
 Christianity: Colonel Hutchinson 


- India: Modern India

- Characters: Bakha / Chota / Ram Charan / Havildar Charat Singh / Babu's sons

- Features: admiration for the British; copying the British; slightly false in their demeanor; not living strictly after caste hierarchy

→ p. 9 („had been caught by the glamour of the ' white man's ' life“)
→ p. 10 („Bakha was a child of modern India.“)
→ p. 11 („he tried to copy them in everything“)
→ p. 96 („they were not altogether unconscious of the falseness of their istinct“)
→ p. 97 („among the trio they had banished all thought of distinction.“) 

Liberal India - Gandhi

- The poet

- Barrister-at-Law

- taking (positive) British influence back to India

- humanitarian

- educated

- highly estimating fairness & equality

- desire to revolutionize India

→ p. 155 („the flush system […] a casteless and classless society“)

→ p. 145 („The British Government sought to pursue a policy of divide and rule in giving to our brethren of the depressed classes seperate electorates“)

→ p. 147 („a sin to regard anyone bon in Hinduism as polluted“)

→ p. 141 („We are willing to do all we can