Defying Boundaries and Transgressing Borders: A Study of Amitabh Ghosh’s The Shadow-lines

Sambit Panigrahi


Amitav Ghosh’s famous novel The Shadow Lines contains a story whose characters and situations have their global and cosmopolitan standings. However, a careful study would indicate that the crux of the novel–whose very title itself is overtly suggestive of its overarching theme—primarily deals with the very volatile nature of the dividing lines between the countries India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Through a moving storyline that spans across the pre-independent and the post-independent generations and thereby the pre-partition and the post-partition times, the text intends to foreground the intricate nature of our existence in this sub-continental part of the world where the people of these three divided countries stay connected to each other along various ethnic and cultural lines. What the novel finally succeeds in portraying is that despite the partition, the three countries cannot be considered as watertight compartments; rather they would continue to engage with each other through various activities that have their cross-border impacts and beyond-boundary ramifications. 

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