Performative Act of the Subaltern: A Postcolonial Figure of Subaltern Resistance in Mahasweta Devi’s Draupadi
Keywords:Subaltern, Performative act, Theatrical, Non-theatrical, Elitism, Resistance,
This paper attempts to evaluate the resistance to the ethnic and gender subalternity portrayed by Mahasweta Devi n the story, Draupadi. Mahasweta Devi portrays a figure of resistance to the multi-layered subalternity through the rejection of gender performative acts in both theatrical and non-theatrical contexts of subaltern. The story, Draupadi, challenges the conventional phallocentric representation of gender subalterns and colonial domination over marginalized ethnicity through the construction of the character, Dopdi Mejhen (or Draupadi), a young Santal widow, fighting for the socioeconomic freedom of her tribe, who radically stands naked exposing her blood spotted body against the oppressive colonizer after extreme physical oppression, to protest the patriarchal and colonial domination over her body and ethnic community. She is subaltern by her class, caste and gender; but liberates herself from subalternity through non-cooperation resistance. This paper applies the theory of ‘subalternity’ of Ranajit Guha and Chakravorty Spivak to bring out the aspects of multi-layered subalternity and intellectual location of the resistance, and theory of ‘gender performativity’ of Judith Butler to evaluate the resistance of gender subalternity. This research proves that the conquering resistance to the colonial domination and subalternity is the result of the non-cooperative movement against dominant elitism, rejection of gender performative acts in both theatrical and nontheatrical contexts, radical stand against ethnic representation, existential tactic to disrupt the essential codes and dominant administrative colonial power.