Social Scientist. v 15, no. 164 (Jan 1987) p. 25.


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^l£)DLE CLASS CONSCIOUSNESS ^5

Given the paradox of the Bengali middle-class consciousness, Jivanananda arrives at the logical conclusion that it can only be resolved by collective death, by the dissolution of the consciousness itself.

Through Sutirtha and Khemesh, and again through Nisith and Harit of Jalpaihati, Jivanananda reveals the schizophrenic character of the Bengali middle-class.

He is able to bring out this character by not confronting the authentic world against the inauthentic in a straight binary opposition but by treating them in dialectical terms. Nisith Sen, a lecturer in English of a small town college, believes that the world cannot be bettered, it is futile to think of a free, future society. His son Harit is a member of a revolutionary party, he is committed to the cause of bringing about a radical transformation of society. Yet after a long talk with Harit, a character in the novel remarks—and this remark is borne out by the rest of the narrative—that Harit is like and unlike his fother, both at the same time.

By problematizing the Bengali middle-class consciousness, Jivanananda Das has shown how it formulates strategies of containment, has made it possible for the reader to come to terms with himself, prepare the ground to go beyond mere theory and create the possibility of praxis.

1. Jameson Fredric, The Political Unconscious p. 20

2. Sarkar Sumit, Modern India 1885-1947 pp. 67-68

3. Jameson Predric, Marxism and Form p. 169

4. Jameson Fredric, Marxism and Form p. 185

5. Lukacs Georg, History and Class Consciousness p. 3



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