Other Side of Eden
Sara Rai
Chotti Munda Aur Uska Teer by Mahashveta Devi Radhakrishna Prakashan, Delhi, 1982, 332 pp., 35.00
May-June 1982, volume 6, No 6

For Mahashveta Devi, writ¬ing is a mission, a cause and a crusade. This is what we are told about the writer in the blurb of her latest novel to appear in a Hindi transla¬tion. After ‘1084 Ki Maori’, ‘Jangal Ka Davedar’ and ‘Agnigarbh’, Mahashveta Devi has attempted a novel about the Adivasis of Bihar. She has done so with authority, for she has spent years in the forested regions of Bengal and Bihar. She has an insight into geographical and experiential areas that are quite unfamiliar to the common reader.

Chotti Munda Aur Uska Teer (‘Chotti Munda and his Arrow’) is a historical docu¬ment. It is not only the story of a single Adivasi, Chotti, but about the collective life of the Adivasis as it has been for hundreds of years. Govern¬ments may come and go; Lala Baijnath, the moneylender, may be replaced by Lala Tirathnath; the faces of police officers, ministers and land¬lords may change; but the ruthless machinery of oppres¬sion rolls forward changelessly and relentlessly, crushing under its giant wheels the struggling Adivasi.

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