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

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Sheikh Zobaer


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.

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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.
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.


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