Short Story Analysis

Things I did not understand/was not familiar with-

  • Mahua Tree- A tree often used for it’s leaves where food can be kept or offerings can be offered before the gods or people of power.
  • Sarai- a term for a guesthouse, or a restaurant where people can come and stay for the night and eat.
  • Chudel- the word can be best translated as meaning a female witch, or a female ghost. It is seen as a grave insult and dehumanizes the person it is being spoken to.

Analysis-

In this heartbreaking short story, the Dalits, or those of the lower class are portrayed as humans without rights, and often time, they are not considered to be human at all. The way they are treated, and the way the Brahmins react to them is more reminiscent of what people do when they encounter animals or garbage. Quite literally, the dalits are not seen as people, and the caste system ensures that they can be freely exploited, mistreated, and then discarded by those in positions of power i.e Brahmins. Their suffering is seen as mindless and their worth in the society seems to amount to nothing next to the Brahmins who represent the epitome of the hierarchical structure of the caste system.

But as much as we may condone the Indian society for this behavior, as this is something that is still going on in many villages and regions to this day, it is also a practice that the Indian society is founded on. It is deep and complex in the fact that there is no concrete solution to the problem. It is often difficult to address as people who are opposed to this change are more often than not in the higher echelons of society or elders who are deeply respected and whose words are considered to be law. The fact that makes this issue even more complicated is the practices’ connection to religion. This treatment, although grotesque and unfair to our eyes, forms the cornerstone of Hinduism, and hence, Indian culture. To change this would be to challenge decades and centuries of practices and widely held beliefs and traditions, which in and of itself, can be contradictory to the universal declaration of human rights that we are striving to protect.

However, change is happening. If it’s not a direct radical change, it’s a gradual, steady change that is resulting in the region through education and greater awareness of practices and a broader mindset of the entire world. Sure, the issue is complex and multifaceted, but the agents of change are the very people who have dealt with this from an early age, and no matter how it is looked at- progress is happening. Equality and justice are more prevalent than ever before in the Indian society.

The wishes and desires of many are finally taking shape. Fruition is only a stepping stone away.

-Raving Ranter.

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Social Issues

First off before I begin I would like to state my grievances on writing about topics such as these. The problem I have with these topics is that when I do write about them, I feel so powerless and almost downright depressed to see all these injustice around us and knowing that even though we may have the power to change a few things, acting on that is something that is still a ways away.

Perhaps the most intriguing concept that I learned about in this unit was the cycle of crime that poverty brings along that is brought about by the cycle of movement from rural to urban areas, which can be classified in the broader cycle of urbanization and urban crime. It is all painstakingly connected, intricately balanced and intertwined. In effect, the root of these problems are often not one, but numerous, each which have to be dealt with swiftly and effectively to successfully combat the problem. Focus too much on one, and the others get out of hand, but focus equally in all, and we sacrifice efficiency and fast progress for a defensive outlook rather than eradication. But then again, can these problems ever truly be eradicated? I do not know. These are hard questions to think about, ones that evade direct answers, ones that constantly claw at the government and frustrate the citizens.

Are we powerless against these then? Perhaps, but then again, not necessarily. These are not problems that only exist within the scope of the government, but we as responsible citizens need to step up as well, and the global community also needs to get involved. If we mobilize all that we have, surely no problem can be insurmountable. Surely the good will of millions can’t go to waste right? But that is the problem right there.

In my opinion, we often lean towards a very strong government when it comes to these problems. We put the government in a position of contradiction. We want all our freedoms intact, yet we restrict the government by saying what they can or cannot do, and at the same time, while we do not assist them, we are quick to criticize how they can get nothing done. We blame them when they raise taxes for welfare or when they take any stance on these as any potential solution is to offend a number of people. Is this the right attitude? Aren’t we just blaming the government then to avoid blame? Are we covering up for our inaction by making those who have the power to take action unable to follow through with it?

Sure the very notion of a government exists for the people, but the government IS made out of people. And i believe we can all agree that people gain power, strength, motivation, and empowerment in numbers. We can’t function alone, and hence theory would point to an ideal society being when all citizens take part in decision making and do so sincerely while being willing to compromise and often times sacrifice their own ideals and views for the greater good. But how does one truly describe the concept of the greater good? So perhaps it is just our apathy and failure to take a stance that results in these never-ending cycles. But then again, this may all be coming from the deluded and overly passionate mind of a teenager with no idea as to how the complex and real world outside the walls of school, novels and home operates.

-Raving Ranter