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Arboreal Articulations: Trees, Plants and the Possibility of Language in Mahashweta Devi's Fiction

Damai, Puspa

This study examines Mahasweta Devi’s Works from the perspective of ecopolitics. It revisits Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari’s ecophilosophy in order to intervene into their intriguing yet problematic binary between tree and plants, and argues that the philosophers’ ecosophy, which equates trees to imperialism and plants to subversion, fails as a tool to assess Devi’s literary “grassroots activism.” Devi’s fiction unsettles the duplex of the imperial West and the colonized East by inserting in the equation India’s continuous colonization of its own indigenous population. Devi’s stories envision a politics of tribal sovereignty by engaging in what this study calls “arboreal articulation” in which trees and plants act as witnesses of tribal suffering and a means of tribal resistance and survival.

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