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Creole Glossary: Tarashankar Bandyopadhyay’s Hansuli Banker Upakatha

Author(s): Baer, Benjamin

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Abstract: Tārāshankar Bandopādhyāy's novel Hānsulī Bānker upakathā 'The Tale of Hansuli Turn' (1946–51) straddles the period of independence and partition in India. Its literary staging of the creolized Bengali spoken by a marginal, untouchable, semiaboriginal group is both formally innovative and politically imaginative. Tārāshankar disperses the book's glossary throughout its text, and the workings of this glossary embody an unusual perspective on class and caste segregation in modern India. The novel's historical narrative tells of the disintegration of a rustic, semifeudal Kahar community under the crises of war and modernity in the 1940s. While this history says that proletarianization and loss of idiom are inevitable for such figures of the rural margins, Hānsulī Bānker elaborates a counterfactual possibility. This alternative history is not simply a romanticized novelistic preservation of a dying way of life but a minimal imagining of a different line of connection between the realm of subalternity and the public sphere. In its reimagining, Hānsulī Bānker also rethinks and prefigures modern India's other internal partitions, internal diasporas, and emergent political dilemmas and the history of the Bengali novel itself.
Publication Date: May-2010
Citation: Baer, Benjamin. (2010). Creole Glossary: Tarashankar Bandyopadhyay’s Hansuli Banker Upakatha. PMLA, 25 (3), 622 - 639
ISSN: 0030-8129
Pages: 622 - 639
Language: English
Type of Material: Journal Article
Journal/Proceeding Title: PMLA
Version: Final published version. This is an open access article.

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