The Violated Body: Human Rights in Indra Sinha’s Animal’s People

Deepak Basumatary

Assistant Professor, Department of English, Kokrajhar Govt. College, Assam, India. ORCHID: 0000-0002-6605-5608. Email:

Volume 11, Number 1, 2019 I Full Text PDF

DOI: 10.21659/rupkatha.v11n1.08


India’s history is interspersed with human rights abuses, particularly in conflict zones. Poverty, social hierarchy, institutional weaknesses, corruption, marginalisation of the various minorities/subalterns and an inaccessible justice system has to a large extent made India a democracy only in name and paper. Human lives in India are valued differently and human rights have become a far cry for people living in the margins. The story of the innocent victims of the Union Carbide Corporation (UCC) industrial disaster at Bhopal in 1984 is a testimony to this. The deaths and sufferings due to the diseases caused by this man-made (industrial) disaster sadly remain mere statistics in the pages of the nation’s history. Indra Sinha’s Animal’s People (2007) is a narrative which exposes the human rights abuses of the poor, marginalized and disempowered people whose lives apparently matters less to the state. Sinha’s Animal is a metaphor of human rights abuse by the state and the society at large. Out of the countless number of stories that has emerged from the embers of this monumental disaster Sinha’s novel is significant, because it is a narrative that exposes the question of what it means to be human and the lack of (human) rights of the marginalized people. Animal’s People is an alternate history of India.

Keywords: democracy deficit, disability, discourse, grotesque body, grotesque realism, human rights, justice, marginalisation, narrative, normalisation, norms.