Lil Bahadur Chhetri’s novel  Brahmaputraka Chheuchhau is the story of Nepalis in Assam. More than that, it is a history of Nepalis’ own failure to build identity. Contemporary scholars like T.B. Subba and Purushottam L. Bhandari attribute such identity crisis to external political causes like extortion, eviction, and deprivation from civil rights. But Chhetri deems internal causes such as exploitation, backwardness, disunity and self-imposed instability and disintegration to be responsible. The novel, set in a period between 1940s and 1960s, presents the most formative years of the life of Nepalis in the Brahmaputra belt. It foregrounds the issue of identity crisis of the diaspora of that time with reference to the then social history of Assam. The story of the hardships undergone by Man Bir’s family underlines exploitation and poverty as the fundamental causes of suffering before and after the migration. At the same time, the theme of the crisis of unity among Nepalis backgrounds the political causes of identity crises. The novel, nevertheless, is not an advocacy of the need to overthrow the hegemony of the host society,  but is an urge to the Nepali community to work for redefining their position as respectable citizens and human beings.

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By hkafle

I am a University teacher, with passion for literature and music.

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