Commerce College, Khedbrahma. Dist: Sabarkantha, Gujarat.
Feminism is an ideology against oppression and exploitation of women in patriarchal system. The goal of feminism is to establish and defend equal political, economic, and social right and equal opportunities for women.
It has been handled in the works of Indian English fiction especially Anita Desai, Shashi Deshpande, Arundhati Roy, Bharthi Mukherjee, Githa Hariharan, Kamala Markandaya, Shobha De, Mahashweta devi, Nayantara Sahgal etc. These Indian women Novelist have portrayed women’s issues realistically both psychologically and physically in their novels. They broke the literary and social norms of the past. Even they provided the solution of women’s problem through their novels. They studied deep into psyche of their character and projected various images of women and their status in society.
In fiction, some women characters have attitude of rejection and negation of life while others have an affirmation and acceptance of life with a compromising attitude leading to deep sense of fulfillment.
Shashi Deshpande was born in 1938 in Dharwad, Karnataka and is the daughter of the late Adya Rangachar “Sriranga,” a famous Kannada playwright. She had her education in Bombay and Bangalore and obtained her Post Graduate Degree in English from Mysore University.
Her career began with the publication of a collection of short stories entitled “The Legacy” in 1978. So far, she has published ten novels- The Dark Holds No Terrors (1980), If I Die Today (1982), Come up and be Dead (1983), Roots and Shadows (1983), That Long Silence (1988), The
Binding Vine (1992), A Matter of Time (1996), Small Remedies (2001) and Moving On (2004), The Country of Deceit (2008). In addition to these, she has also published several books for children in English and has also written the screenplay of the Hindi feature film Drishti. She won the Thirumati Rangamal Prize for Roots and Shadows and the Sahitya Akademi Award for That Long Silence in 1990.
The works of Shashi Deshpande have been translated into several languages such as German, Russian etc. She is a writer of popular taste and as of critical applauds. The film “Band Jharoke”, by famous film director Prem Karanth, is based on Deshpande’s first novel, The Dark Holds no Terrors. She is one among the most discussed writers in India and a lot of research work is being done on various aspects of her literary genius.
The novels of Shashi Deshpande present the women in changing times. Her novels are a reflection of the real life struggles of middle class women. By presenting women protagonists as progressive and assertive, she beautifully exposes the patriarchal domination and the socio cultural mind-set. There are repeated instances in her works to ascertain that the problems of women result from long process of socio-cultural conditioning, personal experiences and impressions. A continuous negotiation between the socio- cultural norms and individual urges which firmly establish her novels as a discourse of muted women’s culture can be noticed in her works. Marriage, in fact, becomes only another enclosure for women that restrict the movement towards autonomy and self realization. It fails to provide them the love and freedom and therefore, the protagonists resort to extra-marital relations. For example, Jaya in The Long Silence shows inclination towards Kamat who encourages her for writing in original and real way. In the Dark Holds No Terrors, Sarita flirts Busszi.
Suzanna Arundhati Roy was born on 24 November 1961, in Shillong, Meghalaya to a Bengali Hindu from Calcutta- Rajib Roy and Mary Roy, a Malayali Syrian Christian women’s rights activist from Kerala. An Indian author and political activist, Roy is popularly known for the 1998 Booker Prize for Fiction-winning novel The God of Small Things (1997) and for her involvement in human rights and environmental causes. Roy was educated at Kottayam, Kerala and then Tamil Nadu. She then studied architecture at the School of Planning and Architecture, Delhi. She is best known for the following works: The God of Small Things ( 1997), The End of Imagination( 1998), The Cost of Living( 1999), The Greater Common Good (1999), Power Politics (2002), War Talk (2003), An Ordinary Person’s Guide To Empire (2004), Power in the Age of Empire( 2004), The Checkbook and the Cruise Missile: Conversations with Arundhati Roy( 2004), The Shape of the Beast: Conversations with Arundhati Roy (2008), Listening to Grasshoppers: Field Notes on Democracy (2010), Broken Republic: Three Essays (2011), Walking with the Comrades( 2011) and Capitalism: A Ghost Story.
Arundhati Roy is an obvious example of the bold and blunt presentation of the prevailing social evils, prejudices, rivalry, hypocrisy, subjugation of women and finally their revolt against the customs and orthodox mentality of the males. The God of Small Things is a true expression of these aspects. The female characters such as Ammu, Rahel, Baby Kochamma, Margaret and Mammachi represent the various mentalities of women. Mammachi, a byproduct of the male dominated society, is a typical orthodox woman. She herself suffers from the torments of her husband. She considers her son Chako as another strong male protector. She exhibits double standards in treating her children- Ammu and Chacko. Her attitude towards her daughter-Ammu is condemnable. She, in fact, tortures her. But, Ammu remains strong willed. She rebels against the tyranny and double standards of the patriarchal society. Unlike her mother, she discards the norms and barriers imposed by the society. She treats her daughter and son equally. There is a strong affectionate bond among them. Rahel is also portrayed as an intelligent, indomitable, unorthodox strong woman who is full of rebellious attitude towards unjust, corrupt, prejudiced orthodox society. Ammu and Rahel suffer greatly all types of inhuman treatment and injustices but they never accept the dominance. They are bold and daring enough who struggle continuously for the sake of liberty and identity.
Thus, Roy and Deshpande project the need, desire, and struggle of women for establishing their identity and freedom. These novelists catch the attention of the society towards the real demand and life of women. They understand the feelings, emotions and desires and pangs of women. Therefore, they portray the psyche and mentality of women more realistically than the male novelists.
A number of works on the feminine aspects of Shashi Deshpande and Arundhati Roy have been done in the recent past. A few of them are briefly mentioned below.
Works done on Shashi DeshpandeDevi and Mahalakshmi (2012) make a contrastive study of Shashi Despande and Shobha De in “Depiction of Women in Shashi Deshpande and Shobha De’s Works”. They make an attempt to depict how the attitudes and behavior of women differs according to the society she belongs to, by highlighting the works of Shashi Deshpande and Shobha de.
Kapoor and Singh (2012) in her article “A Feminist Narratological Study of Shashi Deshpande’s That Long Silence” makes use of the first person homodiegetic narrator to build a sense of intimacy and empathy with the reader, and also to add to the touch of real life authenticity which facilitates the reader?s sense of identification with the situations depicted in the novel. That Long Silence is a representative sample of women?s writing and it exposes stereotypical images of women as meaningless constructions of the male imagination.
Bite (2012) talks about domestic relations in the short stories of Shashi Deshpande. Shashi Deshpande deals in the above stories with the daughter and mother relationship. Often she compares the present with the past and shows that even in the modern context there has been no change in the relationship. She sometimes sarcastically comments on the situation. There are seven stories and they deal exclusively with the daughter-mother relationship.
Sinha (2012) studies women characters of Shashi Deshpande in “A Study of Shashi Deshpande’s Women Characters: Feminism in Search of Identity”. She takes into account the essay “OfKitchens and Goddesses”, where Deshpande experiences an epiphany and she suddenly feels thatfemale space is rigidly confined. She talks about how Deshpande?s fiction focuses on the womencharacters trapped up in a conflict between tradition and modernity. She highlights the gapbetween the prejudice stricken traditional women who prefers her daughter?s marriage to careerand the modern, educated, empowered women who prioritizes her personal opinion andempowerment.
Nayak (2011) in “The Making of a New Woman” takes into account the works of Shashi Deshpande. She says Indian women, unlike their western counterparts, have always been socially and psychologically oppressed, sexually colonized and biologically subjugated against a maledominant social set-up. Any attempt by a woman to rise above the oppressive forces rooted in the middle class margins has either been curbed mercilessly or ignored in the name of social dignity. Shashi Deshpande all through the gamut of her ever expanding creative horizon always makes it a point to provide a separate space for her characters.
Ambika & Latha (2012) seek to focus primarily on the psychological exploration of the inner mind of women characters in their article entitled “Tradition Vs Transition: A PsychologicalStudy of Shashi Deshpande’s The Binding Vine”. The writer being a woman dives deep into the inner mind of the repressed women by virtue of their feminine sensibility and psychological insight and brings to light their issues, which are the outcome of Indian women?s psychological and emotional imbalances.
Al-Quaderi and Saiful Islam (2011) in “Complicity and Resistance: Women in Arundhati Roy’s The God of Small Things” discuss the peculiar part played by the women characters in ArundhatiRoy?s The God of Small Things. They point out that the resistance against gender oppressionleads to resistance against caste, class oppression and spurring on anti-colonial thought andaction. Such variants of resistant rebellion are articulated through the examination of the maritaland inter-gender relations of Ammu, Mammachi, Baby Kochamma and Rahel.
Subhashini (2011) in her article “Feminine Sensitivity with reference to The God of Small Things” talks about evolution of feminism as a revolt against “conservative perception ofwomen’s issues”
In order to apply the analytical and descriptive methods to the research, the primary sources such as the original works of these writers as well as the secondary sources available in the form of criticism would be used.
Some of the important libraries of various colleges and university would be visited to encompass the views of the various researchers.
The subject matter would be analyzed in the perspective of feminist theory.
The researcher will read and study various research papers and articles, book reviews, reference books to make an in depth study.
First outcome of the research is the writer’s portrayal of her protagonists in the perspective of Indian Concept of Feminism is expected to be brought into critical discussion.
In the light of the novelist’s perception and portrayal of various issues related to Indian women, the research work is also expected to analyze and assess the modern Indian society with special reference to the condition of women therein.
The research is sure to add significantly to the existing pool of knowledge on feminism and will contribute towards establishing Indian Writing in English in its rightful position in the contemporary word Literature.
The thesis has been organized in five-chapter and the tentative
Chapterization of the thesis is given below.
Chapter-1 Introduction- Status of women in indian society and the evolution of feminism.
Chapter-2 A representstion of women characters in the novels of Shashi Deshpande and Arundhati Roy.
Chapter-3 A comparative study of the gender discrimination and the impassioned quest for identity.
Chapter-4 Feminist voice in the Novels of both the Novelists.
Deshpande, Shashi . The Dark Holds No Terror. New Delhi: Penguin Books (India). 1990.
Deshpande, Shashi . Roots and Shadows. New Deli: Disha Books. 1992.
Dodiya, Jaydipsinh. & Joya Chakravarthy (eds). The Critical Studies of Arundhati Roy’s “The God of small things”. New Delhi: Atlantic Publishers.
Dwivedi, A.N. (2001), Arundhati Roy’s Fiction World, New Delhi: B.R.
Indra Bhatt and Indra Nityanandam (1999), Explorations: ArundhatiRoy’s The God of Small Things, Delhi: Creative.
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