Manusya, Journal of Humanities

Publication Date



Bonded labor or bonded slavery and bonded prostitution in India is a legacy left by British colonialism. Under this system, a person has to fall into servitude to whomever he or she has loaned money from with no means of repaying that debt. Mahasweta Devi has raised this social phenomenon in her writing, demonstrating that tribal people are those who have been victimized by this system. This study explores the issue of bonded slavery and bonded prostitution by analyzing two stories from Devi's Imaginary Maps. This literary work depicts the plight of tribal communities as a result of the exploitation of their natural and human resources by colonizers and domestic capitalists. Those exploiters have alienated themselves from nature, considering themselves not to be part of nature but people who can use nature to increase their wealth. The depletion of nature leads to the victimization of the tribal communities. Through the lens of Postcolonial Ecocriticism, Imaginary Maps condemns the colonizers and domestic capitalists for destroying the tribes' forests which serve as a motherly provider for their communities. This destruction forces communities to change their way of life. Money becomes a necessity and causes many tribal members to borrow money from moneylenders. Unable to repay the debt, they become bonded laborers and bonded prostitutes and are seriously exploited and abused. Imaginary Maps serves as a channel through which the tribal voice is heard, depicting the relationship between colonialism, neo-colonialism, domestic capitalists, ecology and the tribal communities. From being free subjects, both nature and the tribes are re-created as bonded slaves.

First Page


Last Page




To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.