Nation, Female Body, and Sexuality in Hansda Shekhar’s “November is the Month of Migrations”

My paper attempts to explore the intertwined narratives of nation, migration, violence and female sexuality in India with particular reference to Hansda Sowvendra Shekhar’s short story “November is the Month of Migrations”. It begins with the construction of Indian woman’s identity as a genuflection to the notion of nation and goes on to trace the difficult, problematic and elusive trajectory of female sexuality as an indispensable effect of class, and caste. The Adivasi women have remained in the periphery of belonging and non-belonging, and their presence/absence within the overarching narrative of the Indian woman in relation to the documented narratives of nation and migration has either been inadequate or myopic. Shekhar’s short story “November is the Month of Migrations” needs to be put within the sociocultural context of the official discourse on female sexuality in India that is nebulous, discursive, and highly relational.

Aparna Singh, She/Her, Assistant Professor, English, Diamond Harbour Women’s University

4 thoughts on “Nation, Female Body, and Sexuality in Hansda Shekhar’s “November is the Month of Migrations””

  1. Thank you for sharing your paper! Your reference to Shekhar’s short story was very interesting. I learned so much from this presentation!

  2. Thank you Linnea for your kind words of encouragement. Shekhar is a gifted writer who captures the travails of the Adivasis with remarkable conscientiousness.

  3. Thank you so much for your presentation! It was very interesting to hear your analysis of the short story, and why it’s important to the broader context of Adivasi women in Indian society. One question I have is how would you describe the futures of Adivasi women in India? Is there hope that we can find amid both ecological and sexual violence against them?

  4. Thank you Martino for this question which stands out for its pertinence. Well, one can only be hopeful for the future and wish that things would take a better shape over time, especially with writers like Shekhar taking up their fight through their writing. We however need more voices, a collective effort, to highlight the plight of the Adivasi women, as they have remained in the margins for long.

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