Brick Lane

Politics in Brick Lane College

Monica Ali published her debut novel ‘Brick Lane’ in 2003 to much critical acclaim. Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, the novel tells the hardships faced by Nazneen, a young Bengali woman who is sent from her quiet rural village home to built-up, suburban London into an arranged marriage. The novel outwardly deals with political issues such as the rise of the Bengal Tigers in the neighbourhood who fight back at the anti-Islamic organization, as well as the political outcry in Bangladesh told by her sister, Hasina, through epistolary narrative. Amidst these, there is a political undercurrent throughout the novel dealing with issues such as corruption, the subjugation of women, crime, racism and inequality – making Brick Lane a political novel.

The uprising of the Lion Hearts on the Tower Hamlets estate sparks an outcry in the Bengali community. The anti-Islamic group distributes anti-immigrant propaganda around the community, slamming England for being able to introduce diversity into the education system: “and in Religious Instruction: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John? No. Krishna, Abraham and Muhammad.” The name of the Lion Hearts is significant due to its’ direct derivation from the infamous Richard the Lionheart who, during...

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