IIUM Repository

Panchayat and colonialism in Humayun Kabir’s men and rivers

Hasan, Md. Mahmudul (2022) Panchayat and colonialism in Humayun Kabir’s men and rivers. Journal of Postcolonial Writing. pp. 1-15. ISSN 1744-9855 E-ISSN 1744-9863

[img] PDF (Article) - Published Version
Restricted to Repository staff only

Download (720kB) | Request a copy


Bengali peasants, as portrayed in Humayun Kabir’s 1945 novel Men and Rivers, have admirable notions of morality and justice, epitomized by the indigenous panchayat (village council/court) system. Written against the backdrop of peasant movements and anti-colonial struggles in Bengal, the novel implicitly provides an economic and cultural critique of British rule in the region. This article situates the text in colonial Bengal and the peasant revolutions of the 1930s. Referring to Frantz Fanon’s valorization of the peasants, it discusses Kabir’s depiction in Men and Rivers of the simplicity, integrity, and altruism of the peasantry as opposed to the sleaze and hypocrisy of colonialism and colonial modernity. It juxtaposes panchayat and colonialism to show the native peasants’ egalitarian potential and the encroaching colonizers’ exploitative motives, looks at Kabir’s celebration of rural traditions, and compares the South Asian panchayat system to its African counterparts – djemaas in northern, and kgotla in southern, Africa.

Item Type: Article (Journal)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Humayun Kabir, Frantz Fanon, Men and Rivers, panchayat system, peasant life, imperial incursion
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PI Oriental languages and literatures
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN0080 Criticism
P Language and Literature > PR English literature
Kulliyyahs/Centres/Divisions/Institutes (Can select more than one option. Press CONTROL button): Kulliyyah of Islamic Revealed Knowledge and Human Sciences
Kulliyyah of Islamic Revealed Knowledge and Human Sciences > Department of English Language & Literature
Depositing User: Dr. Md. Mahmudul Hasan
Date Deposited: 28 Jun 2022 09:26
Last Modified: 14 Mar 2023 11:12
URI: http://irep.iium.edu.my/id/eprint/98544

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year