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Rereading and Restructuring the Marichjhapi Massacre in Post-Partition Historiography

Sumallya Mukhopadhyay
The Criterion: An International Journal in English
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In 1979, several untouchable 'nimnoborgo' refugees were forcefully uprooted from their self-made home in Marichjhapi, one of the islands of the Sundarban forest area in West Bengal, by state-sponsored goons and the police. The proposed paper intends to reread the atrocities committed by the Left Front government of West Bengal in Marichjhapi to showcase how, in the decades following the killings, the upper caste bhadralok Bengali society offered little space to these minority refugees in their narration of post-partition historiography. Incidentally, very little has been written about Marichjhapi in Indian writing in English, and this is precisely where Amitav Ghosh counts heavily; for Ghosh builds the entire narrative of his novel The Hungry Tide against the backdrop of the Marichjhapi massacre. After revisiting the history of Marichjhapi, this paper restructures the incidents through Ghosh’s narration of Marichjhapi in The Hungry Tide with the belief that it is imperative to generate critical discussions among the reading public regarding Marichjhapi, especially after the Supreme Court of India passed a historic verdict in favour of the farmers in Singur. If justice is served to those in Singur, it cannot be denied to the refugees of Marichjhapi, merely because they are untouchables. www.academia.edu/42269341/Rereading_and_Restructuring_the_Marichjhapi_Massacre_in_Post_Partition_Historiography