Religious Division and Otherness as Portrayed in 'Shame' and 'The Ministry of Utmost Happiness'

Main Article Content

Sheikh Zobaer

Abstract

After the partition of India in 1947, religion has become a major catalyst for division and othering in most of South Asia. Bangladeshi author and activist Taslima Nasrin was exiled from her country, primarily for revealing the mistreatment of the Hindu minorities in Bangladesh in her novel Shame. Indian author Arundhati Roy has also faced severe backlash due to her portrayal of the mistreatment of the Muslims in India in her novel The Ministry of Utmost Happiness. Religion has become an extremely fraught issue in South Asia, making almost any criticism of religious fundamentalism a highly perilous endeavor. Yet, both Nasrin and Roy had the courage to do that. This paper explores how the aforementioned novels expose the process of othering of the religious minorities in India and Bangladesh by highlighting the retributive nature of communal violence which feeds on mistrust, hatred, and religious tribalism – a cursed legacy that can be traced back to the violent partition of the Indian subcontinent based on the two-nation theory.

Article Details

How to Cite
Zobaer, S. “Religious Division and Otherness As Portrayed in ’Shame’ and ’The Ministry of Utmost Happiness’”. Linguaculture, vol. 12, no. 2, Dec. 2021, pp. 65-81, doi:10.47743/lincu-2021-2-0203.
Section
Literary and Cultural Studies
Author Biography

Sheikh Zobaer, a:1:{s:5:"en_US";s:22:"North South University";}, Bangladesh

Sheikh ZOBAER is a Lecturer in the Department of English and Modern Languages (DEML) at North South University in Dhaka, Bangladesh. He completed his MA in English Literature from the University of Surrey, UK, before joining as a Lecturer at North South University. He is the current Editorial Assistant of Panini: NSU Studies in Language and Literature, a peer-reviewed academic journal of DEML. Currently, he is working in a project funded by NSU which documents the oral narratives of the survivors of the Liberation War of Bangladesh in 1971. His areas of interest are postcolonial literature, feminism, and gender studies.

References

Ali, S. M. From East Bengal to Bangladesh: Dynamics and Perspectives. The University Press Limited, 2009.

Azad, Abul Kalam. India Wins Freedom. Orient Longman Limited, 1988.

“Genocide, 1971.” Banglapedia. https://en.banglapedia.org/index.php/Genocide,_1971. Accessed 21 September 2021.

Bass, Gary J. The Blood Telegram: Nixon, Kissinger and a Forgotten Genocide. Alfred A. Knopf, 2013.

Bose, Sumantra. Kashmir: Roots of Conflict, Paths to Peace. Harvard University Press, 2003.

Chaudhuri, Kalyan. Genocide in Bangladesh. Orient Longman, 1972.

D’Costa, Bina. Nationbuilding, Gender and War Crimes in South Asia. Routledge, 2011.

Ellis-Petersen, Hannah. “Hindu-Muslim violence crosses border from Bangladesh to India.” The Guardian, 31 October 2021, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/oct/31/hindu-muslim-violence-crosses-border-from-bangladesh-to-india. Accessed 28 September 2021.

Embree, A. T. “Religion and Politics.” India Briefing, 1987, edited by M. M. Bouton, Westview, 1987, pp. 49-50.

Fair, C. Christine. In Their Own Words: Understanding Lashkar-e-Tayyaba. Oxford UP, 2018.

Hay, Jeff. The Partition of British India. Chelsea House Publishers, 2006.

Hodson, H. V. The Great Divide: Britain-India-Pakistan. Oxford UP, 1993.

Khan, Yasmin. The Great Partition: The Making of India and Pakistan. Yale University Press, 2007.

Mamun, Muntasir. The Vanquished Generals and the Liberation War of Bangladesh. Translated by Kushal Ibrahim, Somoy Prokashan, 2000.

Mascarenhas, Anthony. The Rape of Bangladesh. Vikas Pablications, 1971.

Nasrin, Taslima. Split: A Life. Translated by Maharghya Chakraborty, Penguin Random House India, 2018.

---. Shame. Translated by Anchita Ghatak, Penguin Books, 2014.

Nehru, Jawaharlal. The Discovery of India. Oxford UP, 1985.

Prasad, Bimal. Pathway to India's Freedom: A Nation within a Nation 1877-1937. The University Press Limited, 2001.

Roy, Arundhati. The Ministry of Utmost Happiness. Hamish Hamilton, 2017.

Saikia, Yasmin. Women, War, and the Making of Bangladesh: Remembering 1971. Oxford UP, 2011.

Singh, Jaswant. Jinnah: India – Partition – Independence. Rupa & Co., 2009.

Snedden, Christopher. The Untold Story of the People of Azad Kashmir. Hurst and Company, 2012.

Talbot, Ian, and Gurharpal Singh. The Partition of India. Delhi: Cambridge UP India

Pvt. Ltd., 2009.

Tharoor, Shashi. Inglorious Empire: What the British Did to India. Hurst and Company, 2017.

Wolpert, Stanley. Shameful Flight: The Last Years of the British Empire in India. Oxford UP, 2006.