“Death” and “Violence” in Mitra Phukan’s Writings: Unraveling an Aesthetics of Pain in The Collector’s Wife and Hope
In Mitra Phukan’s Hope (2006) and The Collector’s Wife (2005), the concept of death is imbued with strong significances. In Hope, there is an incessant reproduction of the terrorist’s (Shankar’s) violence, by casting his death into a viable “definition.” By the act of lending an identity to the terrorist, we tend to mourn a situation of loss, of peace and well-being. The fatality is there in the construction of such an identity; it lies at the core of the reconstruction of the terrorist’s life. Therefore, a profound morbidity is inherent here. Violence ceases to be an external event, or eventuality, and becomes instead the closeted content of a person’s identity. As such, death can no longer be termed as the guarantor of eternal peace, nor is it the secret truth of a person’s identity. In Shankar’s case, elimination through death is akin to the act of religiously contriving to kill. This is an act that kills the essence of a being. Rukmini, in The Collector’s Wife, upholds the viewpoint that in order to know what living is, one must negate it. In the similar vein, we can say that the measure of a thing is the effort made to destroy it. Here, death is a signifier with a varied and characteristically paradoxical function at work.
Death and Violence, Writings from North-East India, Terror Politics of Identity, Mitra Phukan, Dr. Namrata Pathak.
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