Yes, The World

My fourth novel will look at the lives of internally displaced people in India in what I hope is a formally original way – by marrying the extreme and self-conscious artifice of the pastoral mode to the density and ‘life-like’-ness of the realist novel. Internally displaced people are essentially refugees, fleeing conflict, violence, terror, forcible removal from homes and land; their enforced migration happens not across national borders but within one country. In the particular context of this novel, I would like to focus on very poor people, mostly tribal, in the central-eastern Indian states of Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh, who have been caught in a pincer movement between Maoist militancy and the government’s counterinsurgency operations, forcing them to abandon their homes and take shelter in the surrounding forests. Complicating this picture is the continuing story of the state’s relentless hounding of these people out of the lands they have inhabited for centuries in order to have large mining companies, who have long coveted these particularly resource-rich areas, gain possession of them. The ultimate goals will be to represent a world about which little is known, to articulate something with humanity and compassion while attempting something inventive with form.

Project leader(s):
  • Neel Mukherjee (Artist-in-residence)

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