Her Fresh Outlook Shares Similarities
Ghosh illustrates Piya’s beginning unawareness about the local inhabitants through the narrative she constructs about Fokir. Piya imagines a personal history for Fokir that romanticizes his family life and background:
She pictured a hut…with mud walls and straw thatch and shutters of plaited bamboo. His father was a fisherman like him…his mother was a sturdy but tired woman….There were many children, many playmates for little Fokir….Had he seen his wife’s face before the wedding? [...] A meeting between the unwed would surely not be allowed in the village Fokir lived in. (131)
Piya believes she understands Fokir and that she can identify with his life. Ghosh encourages Piya’s expectations about Fokir, but Piyaimagines about Fokir’s life prove incorrect, which foregrounds further misunderstandings by Piya and the reader. Ghosh challenges readers’ preconceived notions about the region and its inhabitants through a pivotal, and frequently-analyzed, scene from the novel: the killing of a tiger. This scene combines Piya’s mainstream environmental sensibility and her fabricated impression of Fokir’s character.
Ghosh represents the fundamental difficulty of changing personal ideologies and well-established societal beliefs through Piya’s resistance to Kanai’s explanation of Fokir’s and the villagers’ treatment of the tiger. Piya is disturbed by what she has just witnessed in the village and is aghast when Kanai suggests that they too have contributed to the “horror.”
Piya disassociated herself with a shake of the head. ‘I don’t see how I’m complicit.’
‘Because it was people like you,’ said Kanai, ‘who made a push to protect the wildlife here, without regard for the human costs. And I’m complicit because people like me—Indians of my class, that is—have chosen to hide these costs, basically in order to curry favor with their Western patrons. (248-249)
Kanai informs Piya about the loss of human life to tigers in the Sundarbans. He learns the information from Nilima before he accompanies Piya on her survey. Kanai expline to piyaabout man and animale conflict in Sunderbans, there are many more death than the authorities admit, each year more than hundred peolpe are killed by tigers.
Nilima forces Kanai to realize the dangers of living day-to-day in nearness to tigers, which is often elided by government officials and people who want to benefit from the appeal of the species. Kanai makes Piyastart her role in the situation, and during their conversation, Piya functions as a metonym for conservation-minded activists. She supported to save the wildlife campaigns without knowing exactly status of local people and knowledge.Ghosh’s novel suggests that the people who believe they are helping to alleviate suffering for animals are associated with institutions that may contribute to injustices against local residents. Through Piya’s character, Ghosh draws attention to the importance of decentring certain points of view in order to reassess international activists’ positions in the web of systems and institutions that knowingly and unknowingly add to ecological and social problems worldwide.
Piya’s new perspective coincides with an environmental ethics view that includes human interests and takes social designations like class into consideration when thinking about species preservation and the location of animal reserves. Initially motivated to visit the region because of the promise of scientific discovery, Piya decentres her purely scientific perspective. Her fresh outlook shares similarities with an environmental justice frame, and her class and international awareness signals its alignment with global approaches.
Piya no longer views science as the only authority on why the region matters. Scepticism towards scientific expertise is a characteristic of an environmental conservation. In addition to representing characters that are sceptical of expert accounts, Ghosh depicts figures that dismiss people who embrace local knowledge and myths. Scientific knowledge is a crucial component for understanding environmental issues, this novel illustrates that understanding local culture is crucial too. Ghosh challenges the reader to consider the history of institutional mistreatment in the region and poses the question: how can scientific experts are trusted to help the area and its inhabitants? Ghosh suggests that stories and science must be combined in order to find viable solutions for the region. The novel demonstrates the need for both local knowledge and official accounts about history, science, and cultural representations.