Subaltern Studies

2795 WordsAug 28, 201312 Pages
The Subaltern in India The ground breaking text Orientalism written by Edward Said widened the arena for the post-colonial thinkers to consider the text with a new mechanism in Third World context. Orientalism has developed a purported approach of binary opposition to dismantling the East/West dualism in relation to Eurocentric edifice. The focal point of Said’s study is the ‘West’ and its observation of the ‘East’. The former having all positive traits: white, brave, dynamic, civilized, cultured, educated, rich of the ‘Empire’ identifies the ‘Eastern countries’ as the ‘Other’ with all the negative attributes: black, coward, static, barbaric, natural, uneducated poor people of the ‘Colony’-subjected to their contempt. The post –colonial…show more content…
The subaltern studies historians in their meticulously researched analyses not only only seek to identify the modes and mores of domination that makes subalterns subordinate to power but also try to find out an understanding of people as “subjects of their own histories”.(Das 1988, p.312) The persistent hypotheses such as caste, class, gender, system of patriarchy and nation bring to acknowledge that subalterns’ consciousness is predominantly governed by physical coercion of the state(presence) rather than mutual consent of the ‘people’ (absence) as a result most of the masses of hinterland have been effaced throughout history. In order to make the absence into presence the subaltern studies group profoundly show their concern to the relevant affair of the age and think it their commitment to ‘fill up the gap’ by turning the things upside down. To emphasize their task Rosalind O’ Hanlon quotes Partha Chatterjee’s statement: “The task now is to fill up the emptiness, that is, representation of the subaltern consciousness in elitist historiography. It must be given its own specific content with its own history and development… only than can we recreate not merely the whole aspect of human history whose existent elitist historiography has hitherto denied, but also the history of the ‘modern period’, the epoch of capitalism”. (O’ Hanlon 1988, p 196) The Concise Oxford
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