Can Raja Rao's Kanthapura be considered as a post- Colonial novel?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I think that Rao's work can be considered Postcolonial in a couple of ways.  The first would be that while the work is written about a decade before India gains its independence, the focal point of the plot is a setting where colonial attitudes between ruler and ruled are fundamentally questioned.  One of the ideas in Postcolonial literature is to bring out issues in the dynamics that exist between the social and political valences of power.  Rao's work does that.  Along those lines, I think that the work can be seen as Postcolonial because this questioning of social and political power leads to a new conception of identity.  The idea of who a person is and what should be done are critical elements to Postcolonialism.  Moorthy's presence in the village causes a questioning to the identity of the villagers and forces a change in how individuals the world is seen.  The women assuming action in the light of atrocities committed would be representative of this.  Postcolonialism literature seeks to bring out a different condition of individuals who are living under one set of precepts, and Rao's work accomplishes this end.

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