The Starved

Mangalu Charan Biswal

Nirjharini Tripathy

A layered portraiture of Dalit oppression and ruthless hierarchies in 1980s Odisha

Set against the bucolic landscape of undivided Sambalpur, the play follows five Bajnias – professional rural folk performers – whose lives are pushed into a corner by poverty, social discrimination, addiction and illiteracy. Believed to be conduits connecting ordinary people to the divine, the musicians echo the voices of the gods through the rhythmic play of their instruments. But the decline in folk music and drying farmlands soon become a persistent reality, and the circumstances of those on the fringes devolve from difficult to dire.

Mangalu Charan Biswal's play highlights both the insidious and immediate violence of generational enslavement and casteism, and the wilting landscape of folk art and music. A tale of crippling deprivation and staggering optimism, this revolutionary work of Sambalpuri literature inspects the longevity of hope in the face of adversity and casts a steely gaze on the institutional betrayal of the underprivileged in the country.

  • Classification : Translation
  • Pub Date : JUN 20, 2023
  • Imprint : Hachette India
  • Page Extent : 160
  • Binding : PB
  • ISBN : 9789393701817
  • Price : INR 399

Mangalu Charan Biswal

One of the most prominent writers to grace the Odia literary scene, Mangalu Charan Biswal (4 May 1935รข11 January 2022) was born in Pitapali, Sambalpur, Odisha. Eminent litterateur, teacher, writer, poet and noted playwright, his writings are an ode to the common man and the rich cultural heritage of Sambalpur. Bhukha remains his most celebrated and acknowledged work. His other plays include Udlaa Patar Budlaa Danga, Luraa, Bhutiaar Hatiaar, Dadaar Darpan, Ulgulaan, Birsaa Bhagabaan, Sundar Saae, Chhaeli, Baruaa, Maa Samlei, Bir Kaahaali and Guri Gaa'n.


Nirjharini Tripathy

Nirjharini Tripathy is an Indian writer from Odisha. She is an Associate Professor in the Department of English, Utkal University, Bhubaneswar. Her areas of research and interests include Black Studies, Caribbean Studies, African American Literature, African Literature in English, Asian American Studies, Drama/Theater and Performance Studies, Postcolonial/Decolonial, Indian Literature and Translation studies. She has authored several books and research articles in national and international publishers. A few of the books authored by her are Women and Awareness in the Writings of Manju Kapur, Mahasweta Devi and Mahesh Dattani, The Myriad Facets of Women: A Study of the Novels of Manju Kapur, Trauma and Terrorism in the novels of Don Dellilo, Mohsin Hamid and Shafi Ahmad.

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