An Analysis of Cultural Identity in Amitav Ghosh’s The Shadow Lines

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Mohd Farhan Saiel


The aim of such a study is to understand some of the various issues regarding our national identity; particularly the identity politics that can fully submerge a colonized individual under its gigantic confusion. The author’s humble hope out of such a study is to have an idea of insight into Amitav Ghosh’s stance on national identity. Amitav Ghosh protests against the manmade boundaries of nation, cast, creed, and identity in his novel. The Shadow Lines (1988) negates the concept of national, social and cultural identities. In the novel, Ghosh gives the message to cast aside cultural, regional, territorial, religious and physical differences aside and join the hands through the bond of humanity. The characters like Tridib, Prince form a true relationship with one another bringing west and east together. This paper seeks to shed light on the formation of cultural identity crises in a transnational space in Amitav Ghosh’s novel which chronicles the lives of characters who, after many upheavals, where cross-cultural caste, class, gender, and national collaborations blur all sorts of boundaries and enable the formation of new alliances. The paper tries to unravel how the novel presents the emergence of reconstituted families within contexts of domination and resistance. In The Shadow Lines, Ghosh deals with the issues of identity vs. nationhood, the representation of history and ultimately concludes that all borders are imaginary constraints. He dismantles history, the frontiers of nationality, culture, and language. It is a historical novel that focuses mostly on nationalism, identity and the meaninglessness of partition and the 1964 communal riots which occurred in Calcutta, Dhaka, and Khulna.  


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Mohd Farhan Saiel. “An Analysis of Cultural Identity in Amitav Ghosh’s The Shadow Lines”. The Creative Launcher, vol. 4, no. 5, Dec. 2019, pp. 82-88, doi:10.53032/tcl.2019.4.5.13.


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