Draupadi

Mahasweta Devi, Translated from Bengali by Gayatri Chakravarti Spivak

Read time: a minute

This is the weirdest writing style I’ve come across. Officially. Sharp, to-the-point, but sometimes, bizarre. This story is about Comrade Dopdi (Draupadi), and other her friends. Now, I don’t understand Naxals or Maoists much—I cannot even differentiate between them, I don’t know how they’re different from the other Leftists; I feel there’s a difference, but I cannot tell. Yes, I’m one of those Indians who don’t know much about these ideologies. But I’m also an Indian who knows that the system is all messed-up. Nobody is an angel.

I watched Newton a couple of months ago or so. I liked it. It shows a little about these… let’s call them “rebels” for now. Such activities are pretty common, from what I know about them, in West Bengal, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh. And again, in one of the movies I watched in the recent past (other than Newton), a “Comrade” was shown—a lady, who was beaten up terribly and was sexually assaulted by the Law Enforcement officers in Andhra.

This story is not very different, except that it goes into the details. Some of these details are gory. The terms that Law Enforcement and the Defence use italicised, sort of mocking at them.

All right, to be honest, I am not entirely sure how to do justice to this story in the form of a review.

All I would say is that the language and the style in this story are… different. The style is not something we come across on a normal day. But the story is worth a read. I liked the way it was narrated.

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Ram Iyer

Writer, PowerShell addict, typographer, self-acclaimed rationalist.

Bangalore, KA ramiyer.me