Teaching Literature through Multimedia: A Comparison of Maitree Express with the Novel t he Shadow Lines


  • Thuhina Bose Fr. C. Rodriguez Institute of Technology, Vashi, Mumbai University, India




Nostalgia, Identity, multimedia


While most of the world today, is struggling with the various problems of immigration,
terrorism, racism …a part of it is trying very hard to reconcile with the inherent differences between
human evolution. With the proximity and commonality that digital and media resources have
facilitated, the world has shrunk and become accessible from any part. The last few decades have
seen a paradigm shift in the methods of imparting education and use of technology to make learning
more tangible. In this transitional phase the major shift in education has been, to try and use these
facilities for better understanding of different cultures, artwork, music, literature and science.
My paper explores the possibility of making use of the multimedia technology in discovering ways
and means to bring the learners closer to the text they read. I have taken the example of the
postcolonial diasporic author Amitav Ghosh to extend my findings and opinions to the audience.
Teaching the works of writers such as Amitav Ghosh and many others like Salman Rushdie, Jhumpa
Lahiri, Naipaul, to name a few, has become more achievable and enjoyable because the use of media
simulates a quasi-environment rendering the writer’s perspective and image to the reader. Not just
the character growth but the entire backdrops of many of their works are built up to reflect a struggle
during transition from the discrete to the global; and, what could be better than to address their works
through visual and auditory media, that can transform the written word into a relatable experience?
The works of such writers as Ghosh, attempt to infuse the reader with thoughts of an emerging
colonial people who, through the trauma and joy of living in hardship, have discovered the power of
expression in social media and pop culture. Movies like, Salaam Bombay, Namaste London , Swades,
Monsoon Wedding etc. are some movies that rewrite the past and reflect the present. Such fiction
and movies are now poised to slowly start influencing the global perspectives. For generations the
effects of colonization like the stereotyping of the Indian masculanity as being lazy, indulgent and
lusty or that of Indian culture as that of pagans with nothing to takeaway, would be endured by the
people of the colonized nations.
Using multimedia for teaching allows a teacher to establish an immediate connect with her learners.
Alluding to the visuals, movie depiction of a novel or a documentary, can bring alive the sentiments
the writer has juggled within the narrative, especially if it is as subtle as the identity crisis!
In this context my paper argues that since the learners are often unaware of the cultural context in
which a story was woven, a movie depiction can bring them closer to the real life experience and
increase the sensitisation of the theme. I make a comparison of The Shadow Lines, the much
appreciated and acclaimed novel of the writer Amitav Ghosh, with the BBC documentary Frontier
Railways, to assert this hypothesis.


Download data is not yet available.


Saxena Manjula, The Shadow Lines as a Memory Novel, in Arvind Chowdhary (Ed) Amitav Ghosh,s The

Shadow Lines- Critical Essays (New Delhi: Atlantic publishers & distributors(p) Ltd, 2008) .

Das Sukanta, Beyond the frontiers: Quest for identity in Amitav Ghosh‟s The Shadow Lines, in The

Atlantic Critical Review Quarterly. Vol-8 No-1, Jan – March, 2009.

Sati Someswar –Interrogating the nation, Growing global in The Shadow Lines in Arvind Chowdhary (Ed)

Amitav Ghosh’s The Shadow Lines- Critical Essays (New Delhi: Atlantic publishers & distributors(p) Ltd,


Ghosh Amitav, The Shadow Lines, (Ravi Dayal Publisher & Penguin Books, 2009)

(All subsequent textual references presented within brackets are to this edition)

(PDF) Amitav Ghosh’s “The Shadow Lines”: Problematics of National Identity. Available from:



BBC documentary India’s Frontier Railways, Maitree Express Episode 1


A Talk by Amitav Ghosh, Mukul Kesavan, Supriya Chaudhuri at Ta ta Steel Kolkata Literary Meet 2016





How to Cite

Bose, T. (2020). Teaching Literature through Multimedia: A Comparison of Maitree Express with the Novel t he Shadow Lines. Proceeding of the International Conference on Arts and Humanities, 6(1), 38–42. https://doi.org/10.17501/23572744.2019.6105