Post colonialism refers to an academic discipline which analyses, describes and responds to the cultural legacies of colonialism and imperialism. Postcolonial reading of a text delves into the identity of a person as a colonizer as well as the colonized. This emphasis on identity as doubled or unstable one is a major characteristic of the postcolonial approach. Another major aspect of postcolonial studies is its representation of the ‘subalterns’. Though the term broadly implies peasants, working classes, tribal, and women, Gayatri Spivak suggests that subaltern is not just a classy word for "oppressed", for the Other, but for everything that has limited or no access to the cultural imperialism. This paper seeks to analyse these two aspects of postcolonial reading in the character of Shyam from Anita Nair’s Mistress. Shyam is a victim of the doubled identity as he is a success in his social life who hails from a poor family and raises himself to be a great businessman envied by many and at the same time a failure in his marital life where his wife despises him and falls in love with Chris, a foreigner. His poor background gives him an inferiority which makes him unable to control his wife or scuffle with Chris. Though Shyam tries to subjugate Radha with love, he fails in it due to his subaltern identity. He is again traumatized by the so-called ‘subaltern’ identity when he had to witness Radha falling in love with Christopher Stewart, a traveler writer who comes to meet Koman, Radha’s uncle. His masculinity is questioned when his wife conceives from Christopher after eight long years of their marriage in vain. Though Shyam attempts to exercise his supremacy over his wife, he is ruled out by Christopher. It can be seen that Radha, whom Shyam regards as his own Syamantakam is preempted by Chris and Shyam is dismissed from his own life. Shyam’s identity is reduced to that of a subaltern status when his wife is surmounted by Christopher.
S. M. Chandran, “Torn Between the Dual Identities: A study of Anita Nair’s Mistress”, Research Journal of English Language and Literature (RJELAL), vol. 4, no. 3, pp. 452-456, 2016.