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Write an Essay Which Applies the Theories of Post-Colonialism and
Globalisation Within an Analysis of the Set Text the Harvest
Write an essay which applies the theories of Post-colonialism and Globalisation within an
analysis of the set text The Harvest
The play The Harvest by Manjula Padmanabhan was written in 2003 and can be seen to be
dealing with many issues facing the un-developed world such as poverty and disease. One of the
most prominent features of the play are its strong links to post-colonialism and globalisation. In
her article, Manjula Padmanabhan’s Harvest: Global technoscapes and the international trade in
human body organs, Gilbert exclaims that the play focuses on “the global spread of late capitalist
technology [and it’s] significant risks…Manjula Padmanabhan’s Harvest, locates these risks as
intensely intimate and yet thoroughly social through a chilling drama about transnational flows
in two distinct but related areas; biomedical technology and digital technology including virtual
reality.” (Gilbert 2006). The play follows a young man, Om who signs up to the organ selling
company Interplanta in order to earn money for his poverty stricken family, only to discover
that his and his families lives would change forever, being ruled and watched over by who is
thought to be an all American blonde called Ginni. The play follows Om and his family and their
struggle to keep their identity and sanity through the hands of the Western Interplanta and the
Western society who made them. There is much evidence of post-colonialism and globalisation
in Padmanabhan’s Harvest, such as dehumanisation and orientalism, however the main focus
points of this essay are utopia and dystopia, capitalism and the advances in technology.
It can be seen that a prominent theme in Manjula Padmanabhan’s Harvest is the one of post-
colonialism. Western countries have dominated the world since the sixteenth century, at one
point Britain owned fifty per cent of the world, however much has changed, and many of the
colonised countries are now independent. Post-colonialism is the aftermath of a country, race or
religion imposing their views and customs on another, less developed country. “Post-colonialism
often involves the discussion of experiences of various kinds, such as those of slavery, migration,
suppression and resistance…” (Quayson 2000), an example of this would be the on-going
economic and military domination of the United States. Post-colonialism in regards to Manjula
Padmanabhan’s Harvest, is evident in the way in which the Westerners are still able to take
advantage of and almost take over the lives of a poor Eastern family. The other dominant theme
in Harvest is the idea of globalisation. Globalisation comes in many forms but is mainly the idea
that the world is getting smaller through consumerism, technological advances and
homogenization. “In its broadest sense globalisation can viewed as the world wide integration of
economic, political and social activities and information.” (Schwerin 2005). It is made light of in
the play that the house becomes more Westernised, the family are presented with expensive and
technologically advanced gifts, thus bringing the first world into the third world.
It has been argued that one of the most prominent themes in relation to post-colonialism in
Padmanabhan’s Harvest are the ideas of utopia and dystopia, utopia being the ultimate living
paradise, a place where there is no poverty and no suffering. There has been much debate about
whether or not one could ever achieve utopia as the notion seems highly improbable as one
man’s utopia is ultimately another man’s dystopia. However, Harvest introduces these ideas

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through the character of Ginni and the company Interplanta. Through Interplanta, Ginni can
achieve “eternal life”, she is described as a kind of utopia herself, she is rich, beautiful and is
even referred to in Act One as “an angel” (Padmanabhan 2003) by Ma, even the name Ginni is a
play on the word genie, thus showing her to be the ultimate being, a far cry from anything that
Ma or the rest of the family would have seen before. However, in order for Ginni to achieve her
utopia of “eternal life”, she has to rely on Om and his dystopia of being so impoverished that he
has, as Jaya bitterly exclaims “sold the rights to his organs! His eyes! His arse! Sold them!”
(Padmanabhan 1997). Another example of post-colonialism is the way in which Ginni controls
the lives of Om and his family even though she is miles away in America, “You must eat at
regular hours ok? We’ve had this problem before.” (Padmanabhan 1997), “Ginni’s dictates
quickly come to govern the minutiae of the Indian’s lives…This deterritorialised power,
exercised at a distance yet all-invasive in its effects, precipitates the breakdown of the family as a
social unit.” (Gilbert 2006). This can be argued to be an example of post-colonialism as it can be
seen to be an example of what Spivak would define as “othering” the idea of an, “an ideological
process that isolates groups that are seen as different from the norm of the colonisers.”
(Auslander 2008). Othering is the idea that people in poverty are known as the “the others”, and
are therefore treated differently from the rest of society. A dividing line is drawn up between “us
and them”, a line that is usually surrounded by negative connotations and judgments, believing
“them” to be of an inferior level. Some may argue that it is necessary and natural to use othering,
“[othering] satisfies a need to keep psycho and socio-spatial proximity…(Freud 1930) suggested
that it was inevitable; peaceful groups are only made possible only by the presence of others that
could be viewed negatively.” (Taket 2009).However it can only be seen as negative how
Interplanta and Ginni who represent the Western word, use Om and his unfortunate
circumstances for personal gain, they see Om and his family as the subaltern, the inferior in
society, thus believe that it is right to harvest him for his organs, knowing that he has limited
choice and therefore are showing that they, the Westerners still have power over the Eastern
countries, seeing them as inferior and using them for their own personal gain instead of using
someone from the first world, thus showing evidence of post-colonialism.
As well as dealing with post-modernism the play also embodies aspects of globalisation through
the ideas of advanced, global capitalism. Capitalism is at the forefront of the developed world, an
economic system in which the lower, working classes are exploited both financially and
physically in order to gain a profit. For example in Harvest Interplanta exploit the poverty
stricken Om into selling himself for his organs, although Om is getting paid, the very notion of
putting a price on organs itself highlights capitalist way of getting a lot and giving out very little.
The play shows evidence of advanced, global capitalism rather than standard capitalism as the
company are breaking boundaries and making money around the world rather than just the
developed world, pushing their profit margins further and exercising their dominance as a global
corporation. Additionally this concept also relates to Marxist theory, the way in which Om is
dehumanised, he is forced to sell himself like a product, “workers become commodities when
they must sell their alienated labour in the marketplace, just as other goods are sold. Thus,
workers are alienated from their own humanity.” (Auslander 2008). This is highlighted in the
way in which the guard unsympathetically and insincerely reads to Jaya, “Interplanta services
thank you for your cooperation, your family member is about to fulfil the solemn and noble
contract that they have entered” (Padmanabhan 2003). The wording is very formal and
impersonal, almost like an apology letter from a company whose product did not work.

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Write an Essay Which Applies the Theories of Post-Colonialism and Globalisation Within an Analysis of the Set Text the Harvest Write an essay which applies the theories of Post-colonialism and Globalisation within an analysis of the set text The Harvest The play The Harvest by Manjula Padmanabhan was written in 2003 and can be seen to be dealing with many issues facing the un-developed world such as poverty and disease. One of the most prominent features of the play are its strong links to post-colonialism and globalisation. In her article, Manjula Padmanabhan’s Harvest: Global technoscapes and the international trade in human body organs, Gilbert exclaims that the play focuses on “the global spread of late capitalist technology [and it’s] significant risks…Manjula Padmanabhan’s Harvest, locates these risks as intensely intimate and yet thoroughly social through a chilling drama about transnational flows in two distinct but related areas; biomedical technology and digital technology including virtual reality.” (Gilbert 2006). The play follows a young man, Om who signs up to the organ selling company Interplanta in order to earn money for his poverty stricken famil ...
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