An Amplification of the Subaltern Voice by Mahasweta Devi in Rudali

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Dr. Papari Kalita


In Rudali Mahasweta Devi puts forward a critique of the hypocrisies of the society during the time of the prevalence of the zamindari system and also blatantly brings the oppressed women of the subaltern communities to the center. The demand for the wailing of the lower caste women like Sanichari, Bikhini and the whores from Tohri bazaar on the death of the wealthy zamindars mock the system that oppressed these people throughout their lives. This paper, therefore attempts to focus on the exegeses of the society and how Mahasweta Devi has turned the system upside down by projecting these otherwise subalterned women as Rudalis. The manner in which the author has projected crying as a symbol of strength for these women shows the subversion of the concepts of the society. The people who were looked down upon as ‘untouchables’ having been called by the group of people who had always subjugated the former to the funerals in the latter’s household marks the change in the role of the center and the periphery. Thus, the art of crying professionally had given the rudalis/ subaltern women the strength not just to earn their living but also the power to create their importance in the society that oppressed them.

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