Clashing Masculinities: Amos Oz’s Panther in the Basement

Can Bahad?r Yüce

Indiana University, 1011 E 3rd St, Bloomington, IN 47405,, Email:

 Volume 10, Number 2, 2018 I Full Text PDF

DOI: 10.21659/rupkatha.v10n2.09

Received December 14, 2017; Revised March March 31, 2018; Accepted April 10, 2018; Published May 06,  2018.


In Middle Eastern fiction, the East-West discourse has largely been discussed through gender representations. Amos Oz’s 1998 novel Panther in the Basement follows this pattern by offering a complex portrayal of concurrent themes regarding the creation of the modern Middle East such as nation-building and empire. The novel narrates the friendship between a Jewish boy and a British soldier. The contrast between the boy’s emerging manhood and the soldier’s deficient masculinity suggests a reading of the tension between nationalism and colonialism through the realm of gender. The boy’s manliness features represent the idealism of the emerging nation-state whereas the soldier’s vulnerable masculinity represents declining imperial colonialism. The novel’s presentation of “clashing masculinities” indicates that a variety of masculinities exist, instead of one type of masculinity. This paper explores how Panther in the Basement offers cultural criticism by deconstructing the conventional conceptualizations of gender.

Keywords: masculinity, nationalism, colonialism, cultural criticism, gender, Amos Oz, the New Man, Middle Eastern literature.

Full Text PDF>>

The Subaltern Voice in Kylas Chunder Dutt’s A Journal of Forty-Eight Hours of the Year 1945

Paromita Sengupta

Sovarani Memorial College, Jagatballavpur, Howrah. ORCID: 0000-0002-3381-0726. Email:

 Volume 9, Number 2, 2017 I Full Text PDF

DOI: 10.21659/rupkatha.v9n2.23

Received April 11, 2017; Revised July 12, 2017; Accepted July 15, 2017; Published August 11, 2017.


This paper reads Kylas Chunder Dutt’s short fictional text A Journal of Forty-Eight Hours of the Year 1945 (1835) as a postcolonial voice, engaged in the act of representation, and of interrogating colonialism much before postcolonialism took formal shape as a theoretical practice. The text represents the injustice of subaltern oppression, and, what is more crucial, more vital, prophetically uses the word “subaltern” in its present post-modern signification. Dutt’s writing enclosed within it the inescapable multi-tensions of the Bengal-British cultural negotiation, of which it was the product, but it was simultaneously implicated in the process of indigenous identity formation and in the formulation of subaltern consciousness.  The text not only suggests armed conflict as a tool of opposing colonialism, it is also prophetic in its use of the concept of the subaltern as far back as 1835- about a hundred and fifty years before Subaltern Studies was formally born.

Keywords: Identity, India, Nationalism, Subaltern

Pan Arabism and the Question of Palestine: A Reading of Yasmine Zahran’s A Beggar at Damascus Gate

Kaustav Mukherjee, Michigan State University

 Download PDF Version


The narrative of Yasmine Zahran’s novel, A Beggar at Damascus Gate, situates the political ideology of Nasser’s pan Arab project as a cultural construct. It reveals the Palestinian history as seen from the different ideological perspectives of the two protagonists. I dwell into the ideas of pan Arabism and why for Rayya, the female protagonist of the novel, Palestine’s fortune is inextricably linked with the pan Arab movement. The narrative tries to give two vantage points of looking at the question of Palestine—one of a Palestinian revolutionary and the other of a British spy. It tries to promote the idea that the solution to the question is embedded within the ideological cooperation between them, while the hurt of history makes it seemingly impossible to bridge the differences.

The Portability of Indianness: Some Propositions

Pramod K. Nayar,  University of Hyderabad, India

We live in the age of portability. When the Government of India (GoI) offered Mobile Number Portability (commonly abbreviated as MNP) and the eventual abolition of national ‘roaming charges’ it was only one more instance of what might be called the portability-ethos of our everyday lives. Our everyday lives can go with us anywhere we go in India. Indeed, I am proposing here that we perform Indianness in the form of a certain portability.

Mary Magdalene or Virgin Mary: Nationalism and the Concept of Woman in Bessie Head’s A Question of Power

Sayyed Rahim Moosavinia, Seyyede Maryam Hosseini & Shahid Chamran

University of Ahvaz, Iran

Download PDF Version


Foucault believes that people live in systems of power different from one era to another. He applies the term “power archives” to demonstrate that those inside an institute cannot be aware of the subtle ways of power imposed on them. Likewise, it would be oversimplification to think that with the apparent end of colonialism, the colonized subjects will be free from subjugating contexts. In the case of women, the situation is even worse since they are repressed by both the colonialist and the post-colonial nationalist. “Under the anxiety of the influence” of the former colonial father, the once-belittled colonial men turn to support their females in terms of their body and soul, and in this way define them inside a strictly demarcated roles of good wives, mothers, and households or vicious prostitutes. Bessie Head in her semi-autobiographical masterpiece subtly examines this idea and through her coloured protagonist, Elizabeth, attempts to re-deconstruct this notion.

Two Cosmopolitan Friends: Tagore and Cousins

Utpal Mitra,Visva-Bharati, Santiniketan, India

 Download PDF Version


The word cosmopolitanism has different connotations. According to the philosophical cosmopolitans, who are also designated as Moral Universalists, there does not exist any boundary between nations, states and cultures, as they believe all human beings to be fellow citizens and compatriots. This article attempts to address the cosmopolitan ideas of Rabindranath Tagore and James H. Cousins. Moving beyond the parochial notion of nationalism, both Tagore and Cousins adopted the notion of universalism that assimilates all cultures, races and religions under the broader category of Humanism.

In the World of Men: Tagore’s Arrival in the Spiritual Domain of Nationalism

Banibrata Goswami, Panchakot Mahavidyalaya, India


Rabindranath Tagore was born in a family which, on one hand, inherited a legacy of rich Indian culture, and on the other, did not hesitate to welcome the modernism, freshly arrived from Europe through waves of Enlightenment. He was sent early to England to imbibe the gifts of modern science and rationalism that could lead him to a standard and secured career. But even though the discipline of work, love for liberalism and quest after scientific truth and technological perfection there impressed him much, in its over all effect the West’s efforts of de-humanization disappointed Tagore and disillusioned him as well. This led him finally to the realization and reconstruction of the motherland that is India. He came to meet the common man and his everyday sorrows and tears in rural Bengal, in Silaidaha, Patisar and Sazadpur where he was given the duty to look after the family estate. The raw and rough smell of the soil, the whirl of the waves in river Padma, the play of seasons on the strings of nature lent him a unique insight. He learnt to weave his words offering a perfect slide show of mutual reciprocation of man and nature, accompanied by a hitherto unheard melody of folk tune that glorifies the struggles of that life and thereby consolidating it gradually to a consciousness out of which a nation is born. The present essay intends to seek and understand the secrets of that story, which, though lacking miserably in sound and fury, strives towards a steady self emergence and emancipation paving the way for political freedom.

Unheeded Caveats: Examining Pax Americana in the Light of Tagore’s Nationalism

Abin Chakraborty, University of Calcutta, India

 Download PDF Version


Rabindranath Tagore’s much discussed opposition to nationalism has often been seen as a source of consternating confusion which not only invoked the ire of many contemporary nationalists who interpreted his vision as one of helpless inaction as well as by certain contemporary critics who have considered Nationalism to be a disorienting product of “impassioned myth-making” which falls within the tradition of English liberalism[1]. This paper seeks to analyse Nationalism, as well as other related texts, in a different light, by comparing Tagore’s assessment of ‘Nation’ and Nationalism in the West’, with both the Communist Manifesto, as well as Lenin’s Imperialism, The Highest Stage of Capitalism in order to reveal how Tagore’s explorations constitute a sustained and scathing critique of capitalism, as manifested through the European bourgeois nation-state which is also relevant for this present age of U.S. imperialism and its consequences as many of the crises unfolding around us were presaged by Tagore’s unheeded caveats. The paper also suggests that whatever post-imperial vision we may imagine for our future, they must always be based on those values that Tagore championed throughout his life and which have often been dismissed as sentimental naivety.

Representation of the ‘National Self’— Novelistic Portrayal of a New Cultural Identity in Gora

Dipankar Roy,Visva-Bharati, India


Any colonial rule involves a systematic and ruthless attack on the culture and heritage of the colonized race. This often results in a total loss or at least maiming of the sense of ‘self’ for the colonized people. The masculinist self of the colonizer labels the self of the colonized as ‘effeminate’. In reaction to this, the nationalist consciousness of the colonized people often tries to replicate the macho virility of the colonial masters in an act of fashioning a ‘nationalist self.’ In the context of Indian colonial history we see development in similar lines. But, the codification of the dominant strand of the nationalist consciousness in overt masculinist terms often have strange reverberations. This paper is about such an act of fashionning selves and its after-effects. To study the issue in the Indian colonial contexts I have chosen Rabindranath Tagore’s novel Gora as a case-study. The conception of this novel’s central character is largely modelled on the issue of an ‘ideal’ national self.  The author, however, by observing the dialogic principle consistently in the text, problematises the dominant ideas connected with the figure of ‘nationalist self’. How he does it will be my main concern in this article. Whether it is possible to arrive at a general tendency of the nature of India’s colonial encounter with the British in relation to the issue of the development of the national character will be dealt with in the concluding section of this essay.

Open Texture of Nationalism: Tagore as Nationalist

Gangeya Mukherji, Mahamati Prannath Mahavidyalaya, Mau–Chitrakoot, India

Download PDF Version


“The attempt to evaluate the relationship of Tagore with the phenomenon of nationalism is hardly uncomplicated and defeats easy categorisation, naturally drawing attention as it must, to the porosity of the concept of nationalism. Although it is the received wisdom in many quarters that Tagore unlike Gandhi was opposed to nationalism, a close analysis may reveal why in his obituary of Tagore Gandhi chose to say: ‘In the death of Rabindranath Tagore, we have not only lost the greatest poet of the age, but an ardent nationalist who was also a humanitarian’.  Was there a nationalist hidden in Tagore which appealed to Gandhi’s nationalism? This paper will try to examine Tagore’s nationalism and his different understanding of the constituents of the nation – culture, language, history, idea of nationhood, memory, non violence – which led him to occasionally take stances that appeared to strike at the roots of the conventional notion of nation, exploring in parallel the extent to which the category of nationalism can be stretched without becoming something of its opposite. Waismann’s idea of open texture, more generally used in the philosophy of language, indicates that notwithstanding definitions there still remain possibilities of a definition being inadequate, although being different from vagueness insofar as the definition may be fairly accurate. This paper on the nation of Tagore will look at the open texture of nationalism.”