Communicating resistance in/through an aquatic ecology

A study of K.R. Meera’s The Gospel of Yudas

Authored by: Gayathri Prabhu

Routledge Handbook of Ecocriticism and Environmental Communication

Print publication date:  February  2019
Online publication date:  February  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138053137
eBook ISBN: 9781315167343
Adobe ISBN:

10.4324/9781315167343-5

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Abstract

The chapter is a sustained textual analysis of one of contemporary India’s most critically acclaimed novels: K.R. Meera’s The Gospel of Yudas (Penguin/Hamish Hamilton, 2016). The novel is set in the southern Indian state of Kerala, which has a coastline of 590 kilometers and inland water spread of around 4 lakh hectares. Much of environmental communication in Kerala (densely populated at over 30 million) has revolved around the trope of water: there has historically been a close association of various life forms, including the human, with the ecology of various water bodies. The Gospel of Yudas echoes the centrality of this “aquatic ecology” in its narrative about a former Naxalite (political revolutionary) whose guilt over betraying his colleagues during police interrogation leads to a tortured nomadic life of dredging up corpses from lakes and rivers. This chapter makes an argument to read The Gospel of Yudas as a postcolonial text that engages with the fields of ecocriticism and environmental communication, as the narrative simultaneously and powerfully negotiates both state violence and ecological degradation.

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