Postcolonialism and Feminist Assertion in Mahashweta Devi’s “Draupadi”



Condition of women as a subaltern subject in the postcolonial nation state needs to be closely analyzed as there is no real independence for them. Women and ethnic minorities become the ‘other’ in postcolonial nation state. The present paper will focus on the postcolonial feminist assertion in Mahashweta Devi’s short story “Draupadi” where a Santhal tribe woman Draupadi is subjected to third degree in sexual violence. Comparing her with the eponymous character from the Mahabharata, Devi asserts that she has no saviour to save her because in the postcolonial nation state the so called ‘saviours’ are depriving people from the benefits of independence. Draupadi depicts how a marginalized tribal woman derives strength from her body and her inner feminine core to fight against her marginality. She defies shame traditionally related to the body of a woman. Less of a feminist and more of a humanist, Mahashweta alleges that women should be judged from the point of view of a human and not from the point of view of gender, race, caste and class. Devi portrays the true face of feminist assertion where Draupadi uses her wholeness of mind and body to fight against her marginalized identity.


Postcolonialism, Feminist assertion, Sexual violence, Subaltern women, Mahashweta Devi, Draupadi.

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