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ISSN: 0974-892X

July, 2009



Raju Parghi

Voicing Self-Determination and Creating Self-identity in Mahasweta Devi’s Mother of 1084 and Lorraine Hansberry’s Les Blancs

Drama is a revelatory genre that vocalizes human emotions and explores the possible hidden and biting realities of individual, group, politics and society. The text, the stage and performance validate the purpose of a dramatist. As it is highly individual in terms of characterization and utterance of words, its success depends on the cumulative efforts and creative presentations. Unlike other genres, fiction, poetry and essay, drama has various specific fields for enactment and presentation, as it can be comic, tragic, satiric, romantic, historic, and tragicomic and, of course, drama is always a direct presentation. Many a dramatist has adopted the genre for multipurpose to revoke against injustice; evoke the awareness, to refine the individual, to rationalize social evil and to revivify the victims who identify themselves with the characters.

Mahasweta Devi of India and Lorraine Hansberry of America are two versatile, prolific and radical women writers reverberating the painful echoes of their respective communities and surroundings. The former is known for her fiction, short stories and plays which echo the voice of the voiceless of the downtrodden of the naxalite regions of West Bengal and North-Eastern states of India, while the latter is exclusively illustrious for her radical plays voicing against the inequality, injustice and partiality shown to her people. Though both the women playwrights share linguistic, cultural, social and geographical differences yet their voice is imbued with a desire for a social change and social justice. Both are good exemplars of social protest and have exerted their creative valour to produce dynamic literatures to depict their world. These playwrights have learnt the historically painful past and have cogitated the realistic present with their lapidary style. They lament the maltreatment against their respective people and have awakened the world to protect them from languishing in the society.

Mother of 1084 of Mahasweta Devi and Les Blancs of Lorraine Hansberry are two disturbing radical plays dictating historical past, voicing self-determination, condemning violence, glorifying motherhood, demonstrating women at the centre, seeking revolution and demonstrating the exploitation of the weak and minority section of the society which is often deprived of the basic human rights. Both the women playwrights have concentrated on the political upheavals and unrest of their respective countries or regions and have tried to justify the reasons for revolt and agitation condemning the massacre of the innocent people that results in claiming political self-determination. It can be defined as claims of people to establish their own separate political identity. The plays share the common themes of self identity, self protection, betrayal, and tyranny of the government or ‘police’. They also share the sharp contrast in their dramatic technique and creation, thematic and theatric development. The problems that are identified in the plays remain unsolved till the end.

Mother of 1084 and Les Blancs are based on death and their plots develop gradually. They have proper beginning, middle and end. The structure of Mother of 1084 is based on the news that Sujata, Brati’s mother gets over phone to identify the corpse 1084 which is of her own beloved son Brati. The plot of Les Blancs revolves around the burial of Tshembe Matoseh’s father for which he has come from Europe leaving his wife and newborn son only to return later. Perhaps the symbol of death has been used as a mark for the revolution, protest, war cry, upheavals and unrest. The device of race, extremism, social protest and politics of representations, intersections of race and gender are few of the issues that dominate the works of Hansberry and Devi. Mother of 1084 and Les Blancs share a few common issues such as historical movements, violence, political self-determination, revolt, social protest, exploitation, the idea of motherhood, characterization, and identified but unresolved problems.

Mahasweta Devi’s Mother of 1084 is set in the background of the Naxalite movement in West Bengal, focusing on the economic and the social exploitation in rural as well as in the urban areas. The landless peasants and the tribals were the victims who suffered mostly. “In Mother of 1084, she concentrates on the reactions of cross-sections of survivors both those who bear the scars and wounds of those horrible days and those who lived through the days of violence in ‘simulated insularity’” (Bandyopadhyay: x). The political upheavals in India in 1970s and the violence that broke out during the mid term poll of March 1971 and the fights between CPI (M) and CPI (M-L) had left the people in utter chaos and destruction.

Keeping these historical facts in mind and mastering the socio-political background of the troubled Bengal, Mahasweta Devi has relived the past and presented the aftermath of Naxalite movement of 1970s in Mother of 1084. She always has focused her attention on the welfare of the downtrodden and the tribals at the same time she has not failed to document the ugly face of urban areas. Her feelings for the welfare of the humanity have been so tremendous and overwhelming that she says, “Life is not arithmetic, man is not made for the game of politics. For me all political programmes and creed should aim at the realization of the present social system. I do not believe in narrow party politics.” (xviii) She never believed that politics would uplift the needy. For her it has always been a corrupt and a destructive force.

Lorraine Hansberry has been a revolutionary and a passionate writer documenting history and society and manifesting the reality of African Americans and Americans with her sense of objective subjectivity. Her critic mentions about her knowledge regarding the African study is tremendous.

She was voracious reader of everything in African studies, she could lay hands on such works as Jemo Kenyatta’s great sociological study of Kikuyu, Facing Mt Kenya, Melville J. Herskovit’s The Myth of the Negro Past, W. E. Du Bois’ Black Folk Then and Now, Lorenzo Davidson’s Lost Cities of Africa. (Nemiroff: 37)

            Les Blancs (The White) is a play as a visceral response to Jean Genet’s drama Les Negres (The Blacks) which Hansberry felt as a play having “conversation between white men about themselves.” (42) She had a deep respect for human values and dignity. Her feelings for the African Americans were natural and serious. She hated the shabby treatment of the human beings in general and of the blacks in particular. In an interview she states, “The problem in the world is oppression of man by man, it is this which threatens existence” (42). In her plays the focus is laid on both the whites and the blacks where she neither completely justifies the oppression of the whites nor she appreciates the agitations of the blacks against the whites. This is what to be called her sense of objective subjectivity. She is able to draw a parallel between the whites and the blacks and attempts to narrow down the persistent gap between them. Robert Nemiroff rightly comments in the introductory part:

It is part of the point of Les Blancs that in spite of the three hundred years men must talk, they must establish a dialogue whose purpose is neither procrastination nor ego fulfillment but clarity and whose culminating point is action: to find the means in the age of revolution to reduce the cost in human sacrifice and make the transition as swift and painless as possible. (43) 

Les Blancs is an attempt to meditate upon the white tyranny and persecution and oppression of the Blacks over three hundred years and the aggression and anger of the Blacks who have been unsuccessfully trying to live with dignity and self respect in their own homeland.

In this way Devi and Hansberry both have traced out and mastered the painful past and have vented out their experiences and emotions to build a realistic present. Their attempts to human welfare and social justice seem to have mitigated the anger and suffering of the common people.

The rising anger and the suffering of the people were caused by the violence and murders. Violence of any kind is harmful and unacceptable to the civilized society. It dethrones peace and harmony, togetherness and unity. As mentioned earlier that Mother of 1084 and Les Blancs evolve around the theme of death which is caused by volcanic, unprecedented and incessant violence. The root cause for prevailing disharmony and suffering is the result of various forms of violence such as physical violence, domestic violence, psychological violence, emotional violence and communal/racial/caste-ridden violence in a civilized society. Both the plays portray violence and loss of lives.

Most of the youth who revolted against the rigid, partial, and tyranny system were killed in large numbers. Brati, Sujata’s son and his friend Somu and many other comrades become prey to the tyranny of the corrupt government behind the curtains of violence. Nandini, Brati’s lover who is tortured in the jail by the police tells Sujata, “... Do you think they’ve stopped only because the newspapers do not report them? Arrest? Torture? Murder in the name of encounters? A whole generation between sixteen and forty is being wiped out.”(M 1084:21) Nandini’s revelation shows how brutal and senseless are the killing and torture of the innocent people that bring catastrophe not only to a family or a group or a society but also to an individual. The aftermath of violence is so great that it makes Sujata emotionally and psychologically affected. She is unable to accept the killing of her son Brati as Mr. Kapadia observes, “ Mrs. Chatterjee hasn’t been able to recover from the shock of your younger son’s death, it seems…”(29) Physical violence is the root that sprouts all other violence. The assault on women like Nandini cannot be denied as she confesses to Sujata, “My right eye’s blind from the gleam of the thousand walt lamps. There is a little sight left in the left eye.” (26) Saroj Pal, the police inspector misbehaves with her and physically assaults her affecting, her heart and mind equally as Nandini is unable to forget. She tells Sujata, “I wont be able to tell you all that happened after. (Pause) the sores on the skin have healed but I’ll never be normal again. (Draws her finger across her face and chaste).” (25) History repeats as violence does not cease. For a good and greater cause many have to sacrifice their lives as it happens in the Mother of 1084.

Les Blancs presents violence as one of the main reasons for resistance. The White settlers in Africa and the Natives often are not at ease and peace. Hansberry tries to show solidarity with the people as she had great concern towards them. She tries to present the reality of the colonization in the regions of Africa and the Natives’ resistance against the white settlers. Although the intentions of the White settlers in the play seem to be a social cause and uplift the Natives but they do no accept the white men’s attitudinal superiority as most of them could not live freely in their own homelands and are regularly being monitored and even killed when suspicion over their honesty is aroused. Tshembe Matoseh tells Charlie about the violence against the Natives:

Mr. Morris your concern for non violence is little late, don’t you think? Where were you when we protested without violence and against violence? We did not hear from you then! Where were you when they were chopping off the right hands of our young men by the hundreds- by the tribe?” (L B: 120)

The irony is that the Natives were called terrorists and the curfew was imposed only on them and not on the settlers as Tshembe tells Morris, “I think you heard. There is a curfew here for “natives”. (94) Les Blancs is a realistic portrayal of the past which tries to show a resistance against the system itself. Like Mother of 1084 it is also a family portrayal of events and happenings but has a universal significance of violence, resistance and self-determination. The violent, arrogant, erotic and seductive Major George Rice shows his supremacy and tries to rule over the natives killing many of them. In return the natives kill the white families and the white settlers and the tension in the region becomes grim. They do not even spare Reverend Nielson who sacrificed his entire life for their welfare. It is Major Rice who addresses the natives as terrorists as he boasts of a new world to Charlie, “Come to do a piece in our New World? Eh?” and he further says, “We flushed out a couple of terrorists in the bush.” (61) As he tries to take control over the natives, the natives, though helpless, retaliate in their own ways. Marta a lady doctor tells Charlie, “They found the Hokinson family murdered in the very same incredible beautiful moonlight.” (84) Later Major Rice warns all the white settlers to be cautious as another Duchense family has been wiped out. Violence stems from anger as a stream of protest. It disturbs every individual directly or indirectly involved in it or away from it. On the one hand in Mother of 1084 violence spreads rapidly and on the other hand in Les Blancs the violence grows gradually but has more serious consequences between the natives and the white settlers.

The violence has its own reason to spread and continue. The years and ages of oppression and sufferings of the innocent civilians and the colonized majority of the natives of Africa voice to have freedom to establish self-determination, which is a kind of social protest. Both the plays highlight the longing for political self-determination, as people of the respective region and community struggle for freedom and space, for justice and equality since they have been sidelined for a long time.

In Mother of 1084, Brati, Somu and other young boys protest and plan to have their own separate region or at least they should be treated equally. The Naxalite movement though is curbed by the government but it remains meaningless for people like Nandini as she rightly remarks, “I wonder all those deaths, all the bloodshed, were they all useless? I wonder all the arrests, the killing and the bloodshed that continue, all that for nothing?” (M 1084: 25) Nandini’s statement hints that there has been a solid purpose behind the protest and violence. Most of them wanted a political freedom and geographical space, a free state as the government was unable to care for their welfare hence the idea of political self-determination gained momentum.

Les Blancs has a strong racial, social and political protest. Protest starts from the Matoseh family as Tshembe after his father’s death though reluctant initially, later has to lead the natives against the white settlers. His voice at the end becomes strong and inspiring. “WHAT THEN BUT TO FIGHT? WHAT THEN BUT TO DRIVE THEM OUT? …KILL THE INVADER!” (161) Forty years of social service of Reverend Nielson and Mme. Nielson and the short lived years of Dr. Marta and Dr.Willy to revive the region of the natives from ignorance to awareness, from illiteracy to education, and to provide them better health care do not produce better results. Though they have been partially successful in their endeavour yet they could not become trustworthy for the natives. Tshambe’s final resolution to lead the natives in order to drive out the invaders is heartening. Their leader Kumalo’s arrest brings disbelief and distrust among the natives and they cannot wait any longer but to go for protest against “the oppressors for three centuries”. (80) Major Rice’s conversation with Charlie proves that he wants to rule Africa and exploit it. “This is our home Mr. Morris. Men like myself had the ambition, the energy, the ability to come here and make this country into something… they had it for centuries and did nothing with it.” (92) This attitude of Major Rice shows his intention and so it sounds to be so ironic when it comes to the service of Reverend Nielson.

Therefore, Tshembe’s action seems to be valid and proper. The consciousness and realization of Tshembe symbolizes the entire African psyche. Of course, the services of Mme Nielson, Reverend Nielson, Dr. Marta and Dr. Willy cannot be ignored but their contribution is meager when compared to the rape of the continent for three hundred years. Tshembe tells Morris, “Sacrifice! There you see it is impossible! You come thousands of miles to inform us about ‘yesterday catchwords? Well, it’s still yesterday in Africa, Mr. Morris, and it will take a million tomorrows to rectify what has been done here.” (102). Thembe’s statement opens the eyes of Morris that just four people sacrificing their lives to serve the natives is nothing at all when the whole Africa had been under the colonial rule for three hundred years. 

The exploitation of masses in every form is universal and is clearly examined in Mother of 1084 and Les Blancs. Both the women playwrights are conscious of the sufferings of the people. They have tremendous sense of feeling and observation. Mahasweta Devi’s other plays like Aajir, is based on poverty and slavery, Water, analyses the exploitation and Bayen is a powerful portrayal of women, poverty, fate, exploitation, suspicion and superstition.

Lorraine Hansberry’s notion of exploitation and action against injustice can be seen in her other plays like A Raisin in the Sun, The Drinking Gourd and What Use are Flowers? The tension that prevails between the blacks and the whites, urge for action, sense of violence, voice against exploitation, purpose to achieve freedom, and political self determination are a few of the themes that she has concentrated on. Most of her plays have depicted “hermits, missionaries, mothers, fathers, revolutionaries, doctors, slaves, slave owners, surely children, confused young men, brave people, fearful people, and those who know what they must do.” (French: 94) She does not forget the exploitation of the blacks in the history of civilization. She has presented the women characters as courageous, strong and optimistic with firm will-power to change.

The portrayal of motherhood and women captivate attention to debate and discuss in Mother of 1084 and Les Blancs. As the title Mother of 1084 suggests that the play centres on the feeling of an ailing and heartbroken mother who has lost her beloved son. Sujata, Brati’s mother is helpless and confused while Somu’s Mother’s tears exhibit a strong bond of a mother towards her son. Motherhood is a universal phenomenon and a mother cannot forget her children. The loss of child to a mother is perhaps one of the biggest losses. Though Samik Bandyopadhyay considers the play as the awakening of apolitical mother” (Bandyopadhyay: ix) yet youth’s anti-government attitude and interest in the political awakening of separate state cannot be ruled out. As an individual and a mother Sujata’s emotions are natural but the interest of a community as a whole is more important than an individual. Brati is killed on his birthday and this would pierce the heart of Sujata to the core as she could not accept the reality. She says, “Brati’s fingers, his eyelids, how cold they are to touch. Nothing can be colder. I was with Brati the whole day.” (M 1084: 27) Her daughter Tuli too states that Sujata has always been possessive about Brati even after his death. The isolation, the loneliness, and the pain of Sujata cannot be concealed. The condition of Somu’s mother is even worse than Sujata. She says, “I lost my son, my son’s father, and I, with this tortoise life of mine, shall live on forever, the two funeral pyres burning within.” (17) The pain of loss is so intense that the characters start feeling isolated from the rest of the world.

Mahasweta Devi weaves the play around Sujata and Somu’s mother, and Nandini, Brati’s lady love, keeping women at the centre. Her other plays like Bayen, Aajir and Urvashy and Johny have found women characters powerful and have got their place at the centre.

Les blancs of Lorraine Hansbery too has strong portrayal of motherhood and women characters getting the central place. The prologue of the play is prominent in this regard. A woman at the centre of the stage is presented symbolizing Africa. The material exploitation of Africa by the settlers signifies rape of ‘the woman’ symbolizing rape and exploitation of the women of African continent as well of those African American women who live in America. To validate the point one of the critics comments on Les Blancs as follows:

And in this play a woman plays a fundamental role. It is a woman warrior who first appears on an open stage, clutching a spear from the earth and holding it high. This woman warrior symbolizes the African continent and she is the one who haunt Matoseh’s mind (like the ghost haunts Hamlet) for he is afraid to take an action that might require violence. Matoseh asserts he has renounced all spears. (Blancs Act 1 scene 3, 81) Like Lena encouraging her children to take a step, the woman warrior encourages Matoseh to take the spear and be a leader to his people to fight against the western invader. (Barrios: 30)

            The first scene opens with Dr. Marta who has given up her country for some reason and found solace and satisfaction in offering the health treatment to the natives. She is quite contented with her stay and service. The next noteworthy and most important character is Mme Nielson whose concern for the natives cannot be overlooked. She treats Tshembe, and Eric as her own sons. Moreover, she encourages Tshembe indirectly to take action and support his people, the natives. Tshambe too has a deep regard and gives her due respect. Hansberry, as always has been, has discovered and developed the women characters in her plays for right action and purpose. Her presentation of women characters is also symbolic as mentioned earlier. It is a woman militant who takes initiatives to venture into struggle for freedom and fight against injustice in Les Blancs.

The African woman dancer symbolizes the spirit and land of Africa. The woman is Africa’s outcry to be defended from the rape, exploitation and scars caused by colonialism. Hansberry’s symbolism of woman warrior, the drums, and the hyena folktale is rooted in the African American tradition of signifying. The repetition of these symbols throughout the play emphasize self-assertiveness and self-affirmation against the danger of a possible annihilation. (34)

            Keeping women at the centre and projecting that they too could voice against injustice and arouse the feeling of protest, encourage men to decide and take action. “Hansberry’s plays are about social problems. She claims that all art is ultimately social that which agitates and that which prepare minds for slumber.” (Effiong: 282) Her background and experiences from the early childhood have helped her to rise above and look into the lives of the African Americans.

Hansberry and Mahasweta Devi both have been revolutionary writers of their respective nationality but both have a universal appeal to protest against injustice, inequality and exploitation. Devi in her interview with Samik Bandyopadhay in April 1983, states:

Once I became a professional writer I felt increasingly that a writer should document his own time and history. The socio-economic history of human development has always fascinated me… The Naxalite movement between late sixties and early seventies with its urban phase climaxing in 1970-1971, was the first major event after I had become a writer that I felt an urge and an obligation to document. (Bandhyopadhyay: viii)

            As a true writer to document the realities of the present day, Devi has written a lot of short stories and a few plays. Her depiction of the lives of the poor, and especially about women is undoubtedly realistic. In Mother of 1084, Sujata’s speech becomes proverbial to protect the lives of the civilians and the rights of the poor.

Where well the siren screech? Where will the bullets pierce the wind? …Why don’t you speak? Speak for heaven’s sake, speak, speak, speak! How long will you endure it in silence? Where is the place where there is no killer, no bullets, no prison no vans? (goes round the stage) where can you escape it all, Brati in Calcutta, in West Bengal, from north to south, from east to west.” (M 1084: 31)

            Sujata’s voice at the end becomes demagogue asking the audience to speak out, to break the silence and voice against the injustice. The injustice done to the common mass, the massacre of innocent people especially of youths, a corrupt and unreliable government’s is hold responsible for which the unrest and protest against such practices spring certain regions. Mahasweta voices such unheard cries of the people.

Hansberry’s past experiences have been troubling and bitter as she has been a Black woman, but with her experiences and education, she could present the realities as a keen observer of human condition and great learner of human history. In one of her essays she says:

It is no longer acceptable to allow racists to define Negroes manhood … I think that Negroes concern themselves with every single means of struggle: legal, illegal, passive, active, violent, and non- violent. They must harass, debate, petition, give money to court struggles, sit-in, lie-down, strike, boycott, sing hymns, pray on steps, and shoot from their windows when the racists come cruising through their communities. (Hansberry: 214)

            She feels for her people as they are economically not so strong and educationally backward. She has been able to understand their psyche. “My people are poor. And they are tired. And they are determined to live. Our south side is a place apart: each piece of our living is a protest.” (1) Hansberry’s realization and knowledge of her own people has earned her a high respect. Every moment of black life is a struggle and it is a protest too. Dr. Willy has understood a bit of African mindset. He tells Mr. Moris, “Mr. Morris the struggle here has not been to put the African into the twentieth century but at all costs to keep him away from it. We do not look down on the blacks because we really think he is lazy, we look down on him because he is wise enough to resent working for us.” (L B: 152)

The mission was set up for almost forty years to help the struggling blacks especially in health and education but it did not succeed much because “stripped of all excuses, the true motivation for colonization in Africa were simply greed and lust for power. After all encounters between members of diverse cultures, religions and races have at least as much potential for aiding the growth of all concerned as for turning into destructive clashes” (Carter: 36). Though the service and sacrifice of the handful of people like Dr. Marta, Dr. Willy, Mme. Nielson and Reverend Nielson were appreciable and laudable yet the younger generation of the natives was not in a position to improve their life standards. In forty years there were hardly a dozen of natives who could read and write. Charlie’s question to Tshembe seems to be valid when he asks him, “How many people in this village can even read? (L B: 152) and Tshembe’s answer disturbs as he says shockingly, “Read what? Drums? Everyone. Books? Six, eight or a dozen at most.” (152) Therefore, it is clear that the years of service have gone in vain as the natives were not educated enough and were still leading life in the jungles.

The issue of race and religion is highlighted in Les Blancs while Mother of 1084 has more appeal for political and social change. Tshembe’s mind, though initially reluctant to react against the white settlers, nevertheless he is able to lead at the end as he realizes, “Independence! Free-dom now! Ah-FREEKA” (99) and metaphorically utters that the pain and anger persisting in the natives stating, “you must have seen the hills there and the scars in them.”(101) The impact of colonialism and discrimination was so intense that even today it can be felt among the natives. Tshambe explains that “racism is a device.” (121) Many of the white settlers like Major Rice had racist attitude who addressed the natives as uncivilized and terrorists. They were also forcing the natives to be converted into Christianity as Abioseh did underestimating and undermining their unique culture and tradition.

One of the dissimilarities found in Mother of 1084 and Les Blancs is in the intensity of revolt and protest. While the former is based on the Naxalite movement the latter is about the entire continent Africa and Africans and African Americans. Mother of 1084 does not have acts but it contains twelve scenes which could be considered in the Brechtian style having an appeal at the end to protest while Les Blancs was collaboratively completed with Robert Nemiroff having two acts and posing an urgent question of the twentieth century. “Can the liberation of the oppressed people be achieved without violent revolution? Les Blancs is the first major work by a Black American playwright to focus on Africa and to pose this question is the context of an American liberation struggle.” (Wilkerson: 13)
Mother of 1084 has a close ending. With the death of Sujata, the revolt comes to an end as no other person dares to support her. The play lacks required intensity. While Les Blancs has an open ending where Tshembe accepts the challenge and leads from the front providing an optimism and hope for the liberation of the natives. Hansberry has “sighted eyes and feeling heart” (Wilkerson: 13) for documenting the reality while Mahasweta Devi has a “revolutionary fervour to recording the present instead of reconstructing the past.” (Mukherji: vii) Devi’s concern is more with the tribal communities of the north-east in particular and all over India in general. Hansberry uses the words of the illiterate and the speech of the slaves.

She not only inspired the men playwrights but also became the presence needed by other African American women to identify with it. Her work provided a positive image which contributed to break women’s silence and help them speak of their own experiences in their writings… Lena, Beneatha, the African woman dancer/warrior and Mme. Nielson have already torn to pieces of the stereotypes of passive, uncommitted and empty-brained Black and White women as portrayed by male writers. These women characters would become the bulwark of power and strength in the process towards self-affirmation and determination. (Barrios: 35)

            Hansberry has been a role model to the African American creative writers and the women playwrights in particular. She has penned a number of plays illuminating the history and celebrating the roots of African Americans only to revive the lost spirit of her people. .

Both the women playwrights have been inspirational writers who have documented respective society’s condition as it is. The plays Les Blancs and Mother of 1084 demonstrate the purpose to enhance political self-determination bringing both the playwrights to share a common meeting point. Amidst the tyranny and torture, violence and vices, suppression and suffocation, fate and fury, the plays provide optimism and hope, a hope for a better tomorrow at the cost of a beautiful today.




Works Cited

Barrios, Olga. “The Intellectual Spear: Lorraine Hansberry’s Les Blancs.” Atlantis. XVIII (1-2) 1996. 28-36.

Carter, Steven R. “Colonialism and Culture in Lorraine Hansberry’s Les Blancs.” 15.1 Melus (Spring, 1988) 27-46.

Cheney, Ann. Lorraine Hansberry. Boston: Twayne Publishers, 1984.

Devi, Mahasweta. “Aajir.” Trans. Samik Bandyopadhyay. Mahasweta Devi: Five Plays. Calcutta: Seagull Books, 1997. 35-51. 

---. “Bayen” Trans. Samik Bandyopadhyay. Mahasweta Devi: Five Plays. Calcutta: Seagull Books, 1997. 75-91. 

---. “Mother of 1084.” Trans. Samik Bandyopadhyay. Mahasweta   Devi:Five Plays. Calcutta: Seagull Books, 1997. 3-31. (Abbreviated as M 1084).

---.   “Water.” Trans. Samik Bandyopadhyay. Mahasweta Devi: Five Plays. Calcutta: Seagull Books, 1997. 95-146.  

Effiong, Philip Uko. “History, Myth and Revolt in Lorraine Hansberry’s Les Blancs.” African American Review.32.2 (Summer, 1998) 272-283.

Hansberry, Lorraine. “Les Blancs.” Les Blancs: The Collected Last Plays of Lorraine Hansberry. Ed. Robert Nemiroff. New York: Random House. 1972. (Abbreviated as L B).

---. To Be Young Gifted and Black: Lorraine Hansberry in Her Own Words. Ed.     Robert Nemiroff. New York: New American Library, 1970. 45.

---. To Be Young Gifted and Black: Lorraine Hansberry in Her Own Words. Adpt.             Robert Nemiroff. New York: Samuel French, 1971. 214.

Mukherji, Sujit. “Mahasweta Devi’s Writings - An Evaluation.” Book Reviw, Vol. XV, No. 3. (May-June, 1991), p. vii.

Satayanarayana, E. The Plays of Mahasweta Devi. New Delhi: Prestige Books, 2000.

Wilkerson, Margaret B. “The Sighted Eyes and Feeling Heart of Lorraine Hansberry.” Black American Literature Forum. 17.4 (Spring, 1983) 8-13.