By Anshuman A. Mondal
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Additional resources for Amitav Ghosh
If, as Ghosh has shown throughout his work, some of the most powerful explanatory narratives are those which have served powerful interests and systematically excluded, distorted or degraded the experiences of those without the power to inscribe themselves into such narratives, or whose knowledges and beliefs are not 20 Amitav Ghosh recognised by those regimes of truth, then the ‘facts’ which supposedly guarantee the ‘truth’ must be suspect from such perspectives. It is unsurprising, then, to find considerable traffic between Ghosh’s fictional and his non-fictional work.
To a greater or lesser extent, all of Amitav Ghosh’s major works resonate with many of the preoccupations that have been marshalled under the rubric of ‘postmodernism’, a difficult and contentious term which has nevertheless proved useful as a label for a set of ideas, concepts, and cultural practices that mark it out as a distinct phenomenon. In all his novels, for example, Ghosh exhibits an interest in the nature of language, textuality, and discourse, and the ways in which human perception, comprehension, and experience is invariably shaped and, to varying degrees, determined by them.
What is really at issue for Tagore here is the concept of the ‘State’, which embodies the ‘mechanical’ organisation of the scientific worldview for political purposes and thus oppresses ‘society’ (which Tagore distinguishes from ‘Nation’). Tagore’s views on nationalism were crystallised in the context of the Great War of 1914–18, and they were to profoundly influence Nehru who nevertheless disagreed with his evaluation of the role of the state. However, Ghosh, whose own ideological affiliations were moulded by Nehruvian nationalism (and thus indirectly by Tagore) would gravitate towards the poet rather than the politician in his own critique of the nation-state.
Amitav Ghosh by Anshuman A. Mondal