Wood Cut printmaking
The banyan tree, It begins its life as a sprout on the trunk of a larger tree. Over time, it has the potential to choke and envelop its host completely, leading to the eventual demise and decay of the original tree. Commonly known as a "strangler fig," the banyan earns this title due to its tendency to hollow out the core of the host tree, creating a habitat for wild animals after the host's death.
Selecting the name "the banyan" for a character may be a manifestation of Gothic "othering," suggesting the character's non-human nature and conjuring associations with a figure that is hollow or constricting. Beyond this, the banyan tree serves as a metaphor in post-colonial interpretations of texts from the imperial expansion era, symbolizing a plural and interconnected system that contrasts with the unified trunk structure of English trees.
In addition to its literary symbolism, the banyan tree holds profound cultural significance in India. It serves as a communal space for the oral transmission of stories and is depicted in Hindu texts as both a haven for gods and a source of wisdom. According to the Bhagavat Gita, comprehending the imperishable banyan tree, with its roots reaching skyward and branches cascading down, signifies a deep understanding of the Vedas, underscoring the link between the banyan tree and the pursuit of knowledge in Hinduism.