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Comment on the significance of the way C.K. Janu concludes the narrative of Mother Forest.

 Answer: The Personal is the Political Without any formal education and without the support of any political party, Janu challenged the state and the mainstream and staunchly fought for the rights of her community. She forged her own path of political struggle through grassroot involvement and one-to-one interaction with the members of her community. She is called an ‘Organic Intellectual’ who has her class consciousness and who works towards spreading that consciousness among her people to fight the hegemonic forces. She is an example of a true fighter. Ecocritical Perspectives The narrative shows the importance of the forest in the lives of them and the disturbing impact of encroachment of civilization and modernization projects on the livelihoods of the Adivasis. From the ecocritical perspective, Mother Forest presents the pivotal role of land and ecosystem in the culture and identity of the Adivasis. Land is not just a territorial entity but is crucially linked to the life of the Adivasis, their indigenous knowledge systems, faith, cuisines, language. The loss of land means loss of culture and identity for the Adivasis. Being Othered Mother Forest is a representative voice of a community that had been silenced for generations. The Adivasis have not only been silenced, but also ‘othered’, marginalized, and unrepresented literature. Misrepresentations leads to homogenization and stereotyping of the Adivasi cultures and lifestyles. Homogenization of the Adivasis causes turning a blind eye to the richness, variety and plurality of their identities. The politics of stereotyping and othering come under two types, the exotic and the demonic. Exotic means romanticization and glorification of the ‘primitiveness’ of the natives and borders on tendencies of patronizing them or civilizing them. Demonic means portraying them as a menace and criminalizing them. Both the types project the Adivasis as ‘the other’. The encroachment into the indigenous ways of life, and the attempt at indiscreet modernization and emancipation of the Adivasis end up in effacement of their traditional ways of life. Such tendencies without a constructive dialogue with the Adivasis, leads to drastic onslaught on them. Environment conservation might mean different things to the mainstream and to the Adivasis. From Janu’s narrative, the state protecting the forests means the Adivasis have been deprived of livelihood. Stylistics of the Text The translator states that he wanted to retain the flavour of Janu’s intonation and the sing-song manner of her speech and he thus experimented with the language and sentence construction. In the starting, the sentences do not start with capitals, even the ‘I’ is written in lower case. The upper case is used when something from the civil society is mentioned like “Motor Pump” and “Shirts”. Tom Thomas calls it a technique to indicate holism and to dwarf anthro-pocentrism. There are also no commas between various verbs. According to Thomas, “language does not merely reflect reality, but also actively creates it. Lives are strongly interlinked with nature, the earth and the trees.” Meena T. Pillai calls it an act of ‘cultural translation’. Pillai says that Janu’s monologue does not seem to be a free speech without a context, but “a process nudged and prompted by the ethnographer and translator to construct a particular kind of discourse of the subaltern, that is then condensed, formatted, published and reviewed as a postcolonial text that ‘centers’ the margin”. Despite the criticisms, texts like Mother Forest are a progressive leap in the history of regional literature which has always been hegemonic.  

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