Finding the Working Class Hero and Reliability of Docu – Novel

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Prabuddha Ghosh


This paper shall look at the construction of protagonists in the novels of Akhtaruzzaman Elias and Debesh Ray. It will also address the reliability of Docu – novel to keep an account of the exploitation and oppression of the ruling class. Some ‘leftist’ authors portrayed peoples’ resistance against socio – political oppression and substantiated the narrated event with real data, statistics and official reports. By this way they presented a ‘realistic’ view and resisted the ruling class’s propaganda to normalize oppression in a class – based caste – discriminated society. In ‘Yuddha Paristhiti (1996)’ Nabarun Bhattacharya mentioned reports from some booklets to portray violence perpetrated by the State. Ashok Mukhopadhyay, Debesh Ray and Mahasweta Devi too presented data and official reports to justify the dialectic of truth – claims in the texts. Is this a more sustainable/reliable literary model in the post – truth era than the socialist – realist model?

In the political novels of Elias and Debesh Ray, the protagonists, despite being landless farmer or urban proletariat, lack the qualities of a so called ‘social – realist hero’. Their morale, values and class consciousness differ from a prototyped protagonist of a Bhadralok – centered novel as well as a typical protagonist of the social – realist model. They too suffer from psychological complexity and ‘political unconscious’ but at the same time they defy the individualistic approach to deal with the crisis of a ‘modern man’. They incorporated myths, fantasies and oratures to construct multi – layered narratives where subalterns dream, fight and etches the real consciousness and the real praxis. Elias’ model of novel writing rejects the wishful thinking of socialist realism. In ‘Chilekothar Sepai (1986), three protagonists represent their class but Elias refuted a purely black and white canvas dotted by faultless and angelic workers and peasants. How do they represent the class conflict of the Indian subcontinent? How Elias and Ray avoid the contamination of wishful thinking despite being Marxist?


Published: Nov 14, 2022

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Socialist Realism – Soviet Intentions and Receptions in the Exploited Worlds