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Riddles of BelongingIndia in Translation and Other Tales of Possession$
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Christi A. Merrill

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780823229550

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823229550.001.0001

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Narration in Ghost Time

Narration in Ghost Time

Chapter:
(p.245) Six: Narration in Ghost Time
Source:
Riddles of Belonging
Author(s):

Christi A. Merrill

Publisher:
Fordham University Press
DOI:10.5422/fordham/9780823229550.003.0007

Both Detha's and Bhola Ram's versions satirize a landlord's foiled greed even into death and a helpless farmer's inability to refuse such unfair treatment by the landlord's ghost. Both versions ask us to think about the ways we might avoid such disparities and the resulting injustices. Even in Bhola Ram's impromptu, therefore somewhat abbreviated, and necessarily contrived performance, the narrative style he adopted made it seem ridiculous that the farmer would be so frightened of the thakur and his feudal sense of entitlement that he would agree to let the thakur's ghost take charge of the land. As the monsoon rains come, he still sits. As his neighbors sow and reap, he still sits, doing nothing. He keeps hearing the assurances of the ghost, who assures him, “I will do it in a day” (“ek din mai i kar devai”). That day, of course, never comes.

Keywords:   satirize, narration, ghost, thakur, Bhola Ram

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