Colonialism, Capitalism, Christianity: An Ecocidal Nexus in Amitav Ghosh’s The Glass Palace

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Vineet Mehta

Abstract

This paper attempts to show Amitav Ghosh’s The Glass Palace as a tale of impoverishment of the South Asian region, and its populace. The novel tries to establish colonialism, along with its imperialistic motives and the Christianising impulse, as an ecocidal project. It is proposed that the pre-colonial symbiotic relations between man and nature were altered by the capitalist modernity introduced by the British colonists. The cultural plurality and biodiversity of these bioregions gave way to the establishment of monocultural, ‘synthetic nature’ in the form of plantations. The Glass Palace subverts the civilising, welfare propaganda of the Western colonialists and ‘orientalists’ by exposing the dark underbelly of the British imperial project. This paper also aims to discuss the catastrophic ecocultural effects of the British imperialistic venture based on a ‘close reading’ of the monumental novel by Amitav Ghosh. An attempt is made to present the novel as an illustration of ‘postcolonial ecocriticism’ where issues of racial domination and human displacement are found to be interlocked with issues of brutalization of land and landscape.

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Author Biography

Vineet Mehta

Vineet Mehta is Associate Professor in the Postgraduate Department of English at Doaba College, Jalandhar (Punjab). He has submitted a dissertation on the topic: Ecocritical Concerns in the Fiction of Amitav Ghosh: A Critique, for the award of PhD at Punjabi University, Patiala. His areas of interest are literary theory, philosophy, cultural studies besides poetry. He has presented his papers at various national and international seminars. Papers and poems have been published in various research journals and literary magazines.

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