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Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.)
Year Degree Awarded
Month Degree Awarded
Female Friendships, Jharkhand, India, Coming of Age, Queer, Indigenous
The protagonists of the novel, Vedantika Ojha (12) and Cyka Ho (13), meet when the latter starts working as a domestic help in the former’s house. They live in a conflict-ridden town in India which is the site of one of the world’s longest ongoing guerilla rebellions, the Naxalite-Maoist insurgency. The girls seem to have little in common. Vedantika resides in a big house with razor spikes on the boundary walls. She is a queer neurodivergent 7th grader who has unstable relationships with everyone, including the reader. Cyka, who lives in the slums, is confident and charming. She stands up for herself because she knows that no one else will. She is all too familiar with the violent streets that Vedantika has so far been sheltered from. However, a closer look reveals that the girls share an absence. Cyka’s family was displaced from their village due to coal mining. She belongs to one of the indigenous tribes who have historically co-existed with nature without capitalizing on its resources. But their lands are now being taken over by the neoliberal government. Her people must revolt to survive. On the other hand, Vedantika’s mother has left her family to take up a job in Delhi. While Cyka pines for her village, Vedantika pines for her mother. Their respective losses become the basis of the bond that develops between them despite their dissimilar contexts.
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Available for download on Thursday, May 08, 2025