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2nd Assessed Essay Questions

Essays due by Tuesday, Week 2 of Term 3, by 12 noon.

Late submissions will incur a penalty of 5 marks per day.

Note: Please consult the Department website and/or the Student Handbook for guidance on essay submission on Tabula and penalties for late submission.

Please also make note of the Departmental regulations on Plagiarism.

 For all bibliographic citations, primary and secondary, use the MLA Guidelines, a link to which is provided on the Department webpage for Undergraduate Studies.


Choose any one of the following, or devise your own topic in consultation with the tutor and write a 2,500 word essay.


  1. Write an essay exploring the representation of India’s Partition as a wound that is simultaneously physical and psychic.You may choose to explore this theme and its meanings and write on any oneof the following: Manto, ‘Khol Do’; Kamleshwar, ‘Kitne Pakistan’; M.S. Sathyu, dir. Garam Hawa(‘Scorching Wind’).
  2. Salman Rushdie’s novel Shamepresents a searing portrait of a corrupt and authoritarian society that is postcolonial Pakistan. Write an essay reflecting on the critical position that the author/narrator occupies (as mohajir/immigrant/outsider) that allows him a critical insight into this world.
  3. The critic Ananya Kabir, reflecting on the long history of the cultural appropriations of Kashmir within Indian nationalism, calls it the “territory of desire”. Write an essay analyzing Mirza Waheed’s depiction of Kashmir in his novel The Collaboratorand the complex politics of nationalist and gendered desires.
  4. Arundhati Roy’s novel The God of Small Thingscarries as its epigraph a quotation from John Berger: “Never again will a single story be told as though it’s the only one”. How does the novel align itself with this idea and against official narratives, be they of nation, gender, caste or class? Write an essay exploring these issues via the particular mode of story-telling adopted by the novel.
  5. Discuss the role that language plays in Amitav Ghosh’s novelThe Hungry Tide. Does the novel succeed (or not) in reconciling the differing registers of poetic and scientific language? What possibilities does translation offer in bridging the divide between poetry and science, nature and society, memory and history?
  6. Analyse the ways in which Vishwajyoti Ghosh’s graphic novel Delhi Calmexplores the relationship between art and democracy.
  7. Explore the ways in which Masaan(dir. Neeraj Ghaywan, 2015) cinematically registers the multiple contestations of tradition and modernity in globalizing India. You may want to focus on one of these themes or consider one of your own: gender and caste; technology and ritual; development and nation.
  8. “There are some things that can only be said in English”, writes Balram, the protagonist of Arvind Adiga’s novel The White Tiger, in a letter to the visiting Chinese premier. Analyse this statement in terms of the novel’s representation of language, social status and power in globalizing India.
  9. The short stories “The Adivasi Will Not Dance” and “November is the Month of Migrations” by Hansda Sowvendra Shekhar depict the multiple forms of violence—social, political, sexual—against India’s adivasis. But these are also stories of acceptance and refusal, of power and powerlessness. Write an essay exploring the ways in which Shekhar’s stories seek to represent adivasis as more than just victims of a violent social, political and sexual order.
  10. Discuss the role of the intellectual in Mahasweta Devi’s story “Pterodactyl” in mediating between tribals and the state.