Essay on The Question of Ideology in Amitav Ghosh's the Hungry Tide

4992 Words Jun 28th, 2011 20 Pages
The Question of Ideology in Amitav Ghosh’s The Hungry Tide
The stalwarts of Indian writing in English like Salman Rushdie, Khushwant Singh, Mukul Kesavan, Vikram Chandra, Amitav Ghosh and the like, are writing in a postcolonial space using novel as a means of cultural representation. Their novels are generally assumed to be engaged in postcolonial consciousness but a close study of the thematic range proves that the novels also attempt to universalized humanistic gesture, for human nature and social relationships are as important as the interplay of power and national relationships. Twentieth century novelists were preoccupied with the historic past and the unabated interest of the readers in the novels that depicted the past or that
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(Abrams 151)
However, in the present era, ideology is used in a variety of non-Marxist ways,
…ranging from a derogatory name for any set of political ideas that are held dogmatically and applied rigorously, to a neutral name for ways of perceiving and thinking that are specific to an individual’s race, or sex, or education, or ethnic group. (Abrams 148)
Here, the present reader is going to deal with the question of ideology in The Hungry Tide from this liberal standpoint.
The main historical event, i.e., the massacre of Morichjhãpi in the year 1979, that has been central to the novel, needs to be weighed against Althusser’s theory on State Apparatus. In his remarkable essay, ‘Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses’ (1971) Althusser talks about the Repressive State Apparatus which contains : the Government, the Administration, the Army, the Police, the Courts, the Prisons, etc. and he says that they must not be confused with the Ideological State Apparatuses which he proposes to be realized by certain institutions. These are * The religious ISA (the system of the different churches) * The educational ISA (the system of the different public and private ‘schools’) * The family ISA * The legal ISA * The political ISA (the

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