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Bon Bibi story analysis

QW Bon Bibi – Describe the Bon Bibi story.  How does it connect to multiple disciplines?

The Bon Bibi story is mostly narrated by renowned Indian writer Amitav Ghosh, who talks about the Sundarban mangrove forests from West Bengal and Bangladesh. During this time, the jungles of ‘the country of eighteen tides’ were ruled by a demon king, Dokkhin Rai, who swayed over every living and non-living thing in the forest. This included animals, ghosts, ghouls, malevolent spirits, and even humans. The demon king possessed hatred for humans, which was coupled with insatiable desires for human flesh. Whenever he felt a limitless desire to feed on human flesh, he always shape-shifted into a tiger to aid in his hunting. That said, the story is about a boy who goes into the forest to collect firewood, but while he is still at it, he confirms his misgivings when he realizes the ships are gone. In his abonnement, he catches a glimpse of an enormous body covered with black and gold stripes at the riverbank. The animal was none other than “Dokkhin Rai, in tiger’s guise.” As the story proceeds, we are able to connect the occurrences to disciplines such as religion, where we have the belief in superpowers and the environment, as well as our relationship and perception of animals, especially wild animals.

The Badabon Trust

The Badabon Trust is a non-profit organization located on the island and run by Kanai’s aunt, Nilima. Ghosh typically introduces a connecting force in the story in the form of married couple Mashima and Saar (Nilima and Nirma Borse) to occupy a position both in government and in local people’s hearts and thus are displayed as the mother and father of the community. The Badabon Trust oversees the school’s operations, which was erected by Mashima, with Saar being the school’s headmaster. Mashima’s actions to sustain the community portray her as a figure of maternal nurture, although she is often criticized by both sides (government and local people) as being guilty of taking part in the affairs of the other. Nonetheless, the Badabon Trust in the story is an indication that there are always good people in the governing bodies of a country.

Morichjhapi Incident

The conflict between animal conservation and human rights is a perpetual concern that state politics should take seriously. To illustrate this, Ghosh takes us back and forth from the horrors of the Morichjhapi massacre in an instance when Kanai is coerced by his aunt to go through his late uncle’s diary. The incident refers to a period in 1979 when Bangladeshi refugees were forcefully evicted from Morichjhapi Island in Sundarban, West Bengal, and left for the dead on the basis of ecological concerns. The aftermath of this massacre left East Bengali refugees to marginalize in other areas of India. That said, it means that despite the partition of India taking place in 1947, the effects of this process continue to be felt in some parts of India and is the main reason citizens and refugees continue to build more Diasporas.

QW Disciplines chart

Topic Discipline/Keywords
Bon Bibi Dokkhin Rai is perceived as a supernatural being with powers to shape-shift. This is a connection to religious discipline.
Badabon Trust The trust connected to education discipline
Piya’s scientific research Connection to science
Morichjhapi Incident It is connected to history, especially the portioning of India.
Tiger Incident Connection to nature.

QW Characters

Characters Character traits
Piya Curious, Knowledgeable
Kanai Wealthy businessman, Jealous, loving
Nilima Philanthropic-She starts a local school
Nirmal Creative, he leaves his diary behind for his nephew to see.
Fakir Brave, illiterate
Moyna Kind
Kusum Sharp

 

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