Identity And Colonialism In The Shadow Lines By Amitav Ghosh

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The Shadow Lines discusses the effects of fear on memory, the connection between the past and the present in narrator’s own identity, the life story of an Indian boy there and in London. The crucial and historical events like communal riots of 1963-64 in Dhaka, World War II, Partition of India, and Swadeshi Movement that occurred in 1980s are recalled by the narrator and these memories traumatize the narrator. The aspect of cosmopolitanism is found in the character of Ila. The protagonist is exactly the opposite of Ila who has immense knowledge about the countries.

The search of the narrator for meaning in life, for satisfying the inner emptiness in him with words forms the central part of the narrative. The narrator’s tale unfolds itself
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Amitav Ghosh boldly tackles political themes, both national and international. For human survival, a new perception of relationships must emerge” (Kapadia, 1990: 129).
The novel focuses on the trauma of individual lives caught in a new world where they search for their identity and suffer physical and cultural displacement. Leaving one’s own motherland forcibly is not a happy state of affairs for any individual. They feel humiliated when they are compelled to migrate from their home and birthplace for no mistake of theirs. The partition of India displaced thousands of people making them refugees and forced them to move out of their motherland. Drawing the lines to create a new nation resulted in people becoming homeless and became strangers in their own country. People were exiled and had to migrate to seek shelter in a strange place. Ghosh raises a question whether the partition is the only solution. Shobha Tiwari
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Ghosh correlates such problems of migration and alienation with those of similar type of problem in historical facts. And his readers are engrossed in the lives of the characters narrated in his novels though Ghosh uses non-linear narrative style. The actions and consequences need not to be earth-shattering – but they do need to matter in the world of the characters. His readers consider his characters are made of flesh and blood, reside in his vicinity, and can be captured on film. Here, I would like to mention one real incident which is described by Ghosh himself in an interview…. After reading “The Shadow Lines”, a 14 year old girl writes to Amitav Ghosh “can you send me the picture of Tridib?” Is there any greater honor than this for an author? This is the reason why his works are absolutely captivating and wonderful. The information, the pictures painted by his vocabulary reside with us for a long time. No doubt Amitav Ghosh is a skilled weaver of

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