Men Without Names

Body-Identity Markers in the Naxalite Novel

  • Debjani Sarkar Indian Institute of Technology
  • Nirban Manna Indian Institute of Technology,
Keywords: onomastic identity, McCarthyism, homo sacer, necropolitics, democide


Left-Wing Extremism (LWE) in India was realized along the lines of Maoist ideology through the Naxalite insurgency in the 1960s. Novelists have attempted to grasp the mood of this decade of liberation through fiction. This article attempts to study two novels which document the formative years of the Naxalite movement in West Bengal. Translated works from Bengali, Mahasweta Devi’s Mother of 1084 (1974) and Bani Basu’s The Enemy Within (1991) foreground the necropolitical policies of the demonic state in eliminating these Naxal names. State and non-state actors obliterate the question of the Naxal’s identity (enmeshed with his mind and body), making it the focal point of the analysis. Drawing abundantly on concepts of homo sacer, necropolitics, McCarthyism, and democide, the analysis demonstrates that the protagonists are typical of what modern biopolitical states do to non-conformist subjects by creating death worlds. This article is an attempt at understanding the nuances of a sociopolitical movement through literature as social responsibility.


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How to Cite
Sarkar, D., & Manna, N. (2021). Men Without Names: Body-Identity Markers in the Naxalite Novel. Archiv orientální, 89(1), 155-183.
Research Article