Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Abstract 2010 Swarali Paranjape

Swarali Paranjape
Ph.D. Student
(Department of Modern South Asian Languages and Literatures)
Cluster of Excellence, Karl Jaspers Centre
University of Heidelberg

Marathi Satire in the Era of Colonialism

Marathi is one of the prominent modern Indian languages of western India. Traces of satire in Marathi literature can be found in the literary works of Marathi writers as early as in 13th and 14th century. There is an abundance of satirical literature during the colonial era, especially in the second half of 19th century and in the early 20th century, in western India. Satire for the Marathi intellectuals – a product of colonial encounter themselves – was a powerful literary mode to critique the British colonial regime and also of self-criticism. Marathi satire deals with the questions of colonial government and its politics, ridicules and attacks the anglicized Marathi people and social mimicry, shifting gender identities, traditional ways, attitudes, role models and engages with the problematic of Marathi cultural identity and everyday lives under the overarching presence of colonialism. In spite of leaving a notable mark in the Marathi literary oeuvre, satire has been neglected by literary historians and critics. This challenges one to make it a point to give Marathi satire a critical attention in the realm of literature. 

My paper will focus on the changing mode of colonial satire from protest against the colonial rule to redefining the self. Colonial Marathi satire does not only attacks the British rule but also confronts the insecurity in the minds Marathi middle class about the rapidly changing society and hence their newly found identity. Marathi authors not only contributed highly controversial political theatre plays but also introduced legendary narrators in their novels reflecting the social and cultural changes in the society. The formation of Marathi middle class identity and its inextricable linkage with the contemporary discourse on gender relations in Marathi society is a prominent theme of colonial satire.

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