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Reading The Shadow Lines as a Critique of Statism

Khaled Imran & Muhammad Nurul Islam

2(2), Apr-May-Jun

Despite constant deliberation, The Shadow Lines by Amitav Ghosh is now considered a modern classic due to its certain merit. This study has identified that the novel primarily criticizes the concept of statism, a resurrected term, whereas the existing literature, for more than three decades, were dominated by the criticism of nationalism. The study argues that certainly the novel tirelessly criticizes nationalism as well as statism, but criticism of the former was seen by many, whereas criticism of the latter seemed to be overlooked. The study first briefly outlines what statism is. Then a selected literature on the novel as a criticism of nationalism is preceded by a comparison of statism and nationalism. The study compares these two concepts both on their functions and then on how nationalism and statism view sub-national components, borders, and freedom and sovereignty. The final section discusses four sectors in which Amitav Ghosh criticized statism throughout the novel The Shadow Lines: the unique function of state of creation of „others‟, state‟s view on sub-national components, borders, freedom as well as on sovereignty.
Keywords: Statism, nationalism, sub-national components, freedom, sovereignty

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