European Journal of English Language and Literature Studies (EJELLS)

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Female Subjectivity: A Re-reading of Mariama Ba’s So Long a Letter (Published)

Polygamy in Africa has being in existence before the advent of religion, western education and colonization. Once upon a time, polygamy had numerous advantages, so much so that the benefits superseded the disadvantages. But this is not the case today. Over the years, scholars from different fields of knowledge have contributed to the discourse of polygamy, while trying to investigate its necessity in the lives of the each individual in the family. While most were against it, few were in support of it.  Bâ explores the problems of polygamy, patriarchy and female oppression in the context of African and Western cultures. She critiques polygamy by exploring its cons in the lives of women.  This essay looks at the contribution imaginative literature has to offer to this discourse. Hence, this essay examines the portrayal of polygamy as it relates to female subjectivity in Mariama Ba’s So Long a Letter; especially how religion and society contributes to the oppression of women and children in a polygamous relationship.

Citation: Kehinde, Kemi Rebecca (2022) Female Subjectivity: A Re-reading of Mariama Ba’s So Long a Letter, European Journal of English Language and Literature Studies, Vol.10, No.5, pp. 50-55

Keywords: Culture, Polygamy, Religion., Society, family

Cambridge Apostles: Religion (Published)

In 1820 and at Cambridge University in England, a secret group or society called The Cambridge Apostles appeared and attracted many British learned or intellectuals of the 19th century. This paper gives a brief account of the group, the foundation, and the procedures of their meetings, to focus more on their religious identity. Cambridge Apostles with its liberal endeavor, based first on real Christian grounds with the founder who acknowledged himself as the Bishop of Gibraltar, however, the members or the apostles turned later to acquire, what was commonly known, the religious doubt and went to question the old established Christian institutions.

Keywords: 19th century literature, Apostles, Cambridge Apostles, Cambridge University, Religion., literary clubs, literary group, religious doubts, the elite

Abu Ishaque’s Surya-Dighal Bari: Religious Hegemony in the Context of the Famine of 1943 in Colonized Bengal (Published)

Surya-Dighal Bari (The Ill-Omened House), published in 1955, translated into English by Bangla Academy awardee Abdus Selim, is Abu Ishaque’s first and classic novel. Ishaque is considered one the pioneers of modern Bangladeshi novelists. The background or plot of the novel is twofold. First, the time period, this is known as the famine of ‘50. In Bangla year 1350 (1943 AD), a devastating famine stroke this land just four years before the Partition of Bengal and almost five million people died of starvation. This famine was caused by some controversial policies and indifference of the British government. A heartbreaking scenario of this famine reported in “Bengal Provincial Hindu Mahasabha Relief Committee Report of Relief Works” says, ‘The streets of the “Second City of the British Empire” thronged with living skeletons, the emaciated deadbodies frequently found on the pavements of the metropolis, men and dogs fighting for a share of the garbage collected in the dustbins of Calcutta, unattended babies in the villages being dragged away by the jackals are the sights that are never to be forgotten’ (6).  Secondly, the pre and post-Partition Bengal and its impact on ordinary people. The Partition was done on the basis of Hindu-Muslim religious riot the devastating impact of which is still perforating Bangladesh, India and Pakistan. After the partition, people became more dominated by religious fundamentalism. So called Imams and other leaders started to take the opportunity of the ignorance of ordinary people to dominate them. Even in the novel, it is depicted how the ill-omened house is haunted by djinns. And to be safe from them, people have to take Tabij (amulets) or other superstitious precautions. Politicians, who used religious sentiment as their political weapon, are not the characters of this novel, yet they dominate the plot. Readers can smell gunpowder though they don’t see a single gun. The famine emerged during World War II, the country became independent in the name of religion, and politicians were benefitted in various ways. This paper tends to show how insignificant this independence is for the ordinary people. Just within five or six years of independence, Ishaque realized that nothing positive was going to happen in independent Pakistan, a religion-based state. Independence in the name of religion is of no use to the ordinary people; rather, religion becomes another weapon of domination for the ‘independent religious-political leaders’. Politicians didn’t create war for economic- social- psychological freedom of these marginalized people. They wanted to fix up their own geographical border where they would practice power freely. National and international politicians created war and took their own shares. But the inextricable strike of the rodent paw of war descends on those who don’t know the who- what- why- how of the war. They don’t even know who are fighting against whom. The people dying of starvation are innocent and their only fund is some simple- impeccable dreams. One of these dreams is to have enough food for survival. This simple dream becomes an unreality when riot begins, war haunts and famine strikes. This paper also tries to show the true condition of a newly independent East Pakistan (now Bangladesh), where the infamous famine of 1943 has already stricken. It also tries to depict the condition of so called low life marginalized people. Has the controversial Partition of Bengal really benefited either Hindus or Muslims? Has it really freed people of religious, political or economic subservience? These questions are still valid because the devastating War of Liberation of 1971 again left an almost-permanent scar in the soul of Bangladesh. The necessity of the Liberation War proves that a partition on the basis of religion can never bring good luck to a country.

Keywords: Colonialism, Famine, Hegemony, Partition, Religion.

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