Queer, Caste and Identity: Contemplating Sexuality and Subalternity in Hansda S. Shekhar’s My Father’s Garden
Keywords:Subaltern, Gender-queer, Santhal Tribe, Homosexuality, Caste
Divided into three sections “Lover”, “Friend” and “Father”, Hansda Sowvendra Shekhar’s novel, My Father’s Garden (2018), traverses through caste system, politics and most specifically sexuality and its multiple orientations. Set in Jharkhand, all three sections [especially the first two] introduce us to different contours of masculinities, and their accompanying desires and alienations. Observation of sexuality in Shekhar’s works is nothing new but what is exclusive is his depiction of homosexuality or its “queer” trajectories in a marginalized, third world, tribal society. This paper seeks to examine the nuances of sexual identity, issues of queer representation, subaltern selves and complexities of caste recognition in rural queer India. Through the characters’ [like Samir, BadaBabu and the narrator himself] view, this paper also tries to explore, locate and understand the queer selves. Taking philosophical supports from the works of Spivak, Mary Mackintosh, Foucault and Judith Butler, this paper simultaneously brings out the issues like marginality, the social construction of sexuality, discourses of sexuality and gender performativity.
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