What picture of Indian society do you notice in “The God of Small Things”?

Introduction: “The God of Small Things” gives us a vivid picture of Indian society, especially the state of Kerala. This society suffers from various social evils like caste discrimination, gender bias, the double standards of politicians, police brutality, superstition, cultural prejudice, and various forms of social exploitation. 

For More Notes: The God of Small Things

The Curse of the Caste System: Arundhati Roy’s novel is woven into the fabric of centuries-old social hierarchies. Despite constitutional watchwords: equality, liberty, and justice for all citizens over the years, democratic India is still governed by a four-class system. 

Brahmins, the revered priestly caste, Kshatriyas traditionally associated with warfare and military service, Vaishyas engaged in trade and agriculture, and the low-caste Shudras engaged in men’s work, and the ‘outcast’ or ‘untouchable’ community below the Shudra group.  

Recent changes in politics are worse than ever. Arundhati clearly curses the caste system by covering the caste and community card, unintentionally perpetuating social discrimination, religious intolerance, and casteism to achieve the most progressive. Arundhati has vividly projected the curse of the caste system through the character of Velutha, the Prodigal Paravan. The novel shows how he becomes a victim of stock scams and the alienation of upper castes from all walks of life. The ‘touchable’ workers in Paradise Pickles sniff at him because according to them, Paravans were not meant to be carpenters. Caste consciousness is so pervasive in Indian society that the ‘pure and the ‘high’ try all sorts of tactics to show off their superiority. Even religious conversion fails to lift the dispossessed lot up to an esteemable status. 

For suggestion: The God of Small Thing

Women deprived of their rights: Despite the constitutional guarantee of women’s rights and privileges, they still remain objects to be appropriated, possessed and bargained under male domination. Contemporary consumer culture has further devaluated the status and dignity of women. “The God of Small Things” very pointedly portrays women’s position inside and outside the Indian home and hearth. Mammachi, Ammu, Baby Kochamma, Margaret, and Rahel are examples of women suppressed and exploited in various ways When Mammachi’s pickle-making job earns her reputation. Pappachi becomes jealous of her. Ammu is even beaten black and blue by her husband when she declines to satisfy the sexual urge of his English boss Hollick.   

The hypocrisy of the rulers: Arundhati Roy introduces the power structure in society and shows how the more powerful victimizes the deprived and the depressed. Comrade Pillai uses Marxism for personal gains rather than for the workers belonging to his party. Roy’s disgust with party politics is revealed in her portrayal of comrade Pillai, Chacko’s deceptive stances, and the freedom with which the police are allowed to unleash barbarism on the poor, hapless Velutha. Roy brings out the utter hypocrisy, cruelty, callousness, and unscrupulousness of the guardians of the law when Baby Kochamma goes to Kottayam Police Station with trumped-up charges of molestation and attempted rape against Velutha. 

Conclusion: To sum up, the social structures in India seem to be framed for males to dominate over females. Arundhati Roy has painted a rotten and decaying society in her novel “The God of Small Things”. 

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Mottaleb Hossain
Mottaleb Hossain

This is Motaleb Hossain, working on studying, a researcher on English literature and Theology.

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