Bengalis Nostalgia with Subarnarekha River
The Subarnarekha River flows through the Indian states of Jharkhand, West Bengal and …
Garra, Singaduba, Kodia, Dulunga and Khaijori.
The Kharkai meets the Subarnarekha at Sonari (Domuhani), a neighborhood of Jamshedpur. It originates near Nagri village in the Ranchi district and runs through some major industrial towns and cities, i.e., Jamshedpur, Chaibasa, Ranchi, Bhadrak before joining to the Bay of Bengal at Kirtania port in Orissa. This is why it was named Subarnarekha, meaning “streak of gold”. Legend has it that traces of gold were found within the watercourse bed.Even now, folks hunt for traces of gold particles in its sandy beds. The name could be a combination of 2 words which means gold and line/ streak in Indian languages. According to the tradition, gold has been well-mined close to the origin of this watercourse in a very village named as Piska close to Ranchi. This is one among the prime reasons that Subarnarekha was noted the Gold Streak. Subarnarekha is thought for its water of a golden hue.Scientists, however, say that the river’s golden color is that the results of its proximity to made ore deposits within the lateritic rocks in the area.Besides containing fertile lands, intensive mineral deposits of some vital minerals occurred within the higher a part of the geographic area that facilitate for the institution of variety of mineral-based industries along the Subarnarekha River banks.The confluence of Subarnarekha and Kharkai rivers around Jamshedpur is a depository of industrial effluents. Slag, a byproduct of iron-ore processing, has been dumped along the river bed.Some of the important mineral deposits of the Subarnarekha River basin are ores of copper, iron, uranium, chromium, gold, vanadium, kyanite, asbestos, barytes, apatite, china clay, talc, limestone, dolomite, and building stones. However, due to the unplanned and unregulated mining practices and mining waste disposal, the environmental condition of the river is deteriorating day by day.The riots that broke out insert while East geographical region presently once Partition saw a gradual influx of refugees into state. In the more impersonal government accounts, refugees formed part of a vast logistical exercise.
They had to be housed in camps, issued voter and ration cards and, in some cases, provided due compensation. But every individual exile story could be a tale of individual loss, of escape and survival in a new land; a narrative rendered especially poignant by the sudden whiff of nostalgia for a lost homeland or ‘desh’. In the more jingoistic present, ‘desh’ has taken on a connotation similar to the patriotic fervour, ‘nation’ evokes. However, for refugees, because the personal narratives during this article reveal, ‘desh’ will forever remain in place as one’s homeland, now only sustained by memories.
The Bengali filmmaker, Ritwik Ghatak, consistently layers these three components to convey both utopian and dystopian visions of “Homeland” in an independent Bengal. He employs Bengali folk music and frames Bengali landscapes to inform, both aurally and visually, his representations of Bengali women as symbolic images of the joy, sorrow and nostalgia that he associates with the birth of the Indian state.
The analyze scenes from Ghatak’s film, Subarnarekha (The Golden Line, 1962; also the name of a river in what is now Bangladesh) to illustrate this critical relationship between women, landscape, and sound and music that is key to his construction of a “resistant” narrative of the new Indian nation. First, some brief background information about the 1947 Partition of India and Ghatak’s melodramatic style is necessary in order to contextualize Ghatak’s representations of “Woman” and “Homeland” and begin to understand how these representations are linked together in his films Subarnarekha. Subarnarekha begins in a setting similar to that of Meghe Dhaka Tara: a lower middle-class family living in a bustee on the outskirts of Calcutta immediately following Partition.This bustee could be a camp, called “New Life Colony,” for refugees from East Bengal.The narrative of Subarnarekha focuses on Sita, whose mother and father were killed during Partition, and who is being raised by her elder brother, Ishwar. Ishwar has additionally taken in a very poor, low-caste boy named Abhiram. They move to the Bengali countryside for a fresh start when Ishwar gets a job as an assistant manager in an iron foundry. Sita spends her life caring for her unmarried brother, until she grows into a young woman and falls in love with Abhiram. Ishwar is determined to find a proper high-caste Hindu husband for Sita and demands that she never see Abhiram again. Ishwar proceeds to arrange Sita’s marriage, yet Sita, resolved to marry Abhiram, escapes with him to Calcutta on her wedding night. Once again living in a bustee, the newly married couple has a child, Binu, and Abhiram finds work as a bus driver. One day, he accidentally runs over a toddler associated an angry mob kills him. Sita is forced to earn cash for her and Binu. She begins to sing for paying customers, and thus unwittingly becomes a prostitute. One night, Ishwar, on a business trip to Calcutta, visits Sita in a drunken stupor to avail himself of her services, not realizing that this prostitute is his sister. In shock at seeing her brother in these circumstances, mythical being kills herself. At the conclusion of the film, Binu is placed in the care of Ishwar, who although devastated, attempts to move on for the sake of his nephew.