Women writing in India Essay
Updated: Sep 15th, 2019
The confrontation between tradition and change comes out well in the collection Women writing in India. The collection contains various views on the theme change as presented by various women authors. This paper will examine the outstanding features of the tradition and the change as presented in the collection. The paper also brings out the effect that change has on the protagonists. An analysis is made on how both men and women respond to change and who between men and women responds better to the changes.
The Theme of Change
It is worth mentioning that the collection of short stories in the book Women writing in India is one big representation of the theme of change. It is a representation of the change because it assists to bring out the talent that women possess, which was initially (before the age of learning institutions) not recognized. The collection is true evidence of the ingenuity that women posses; a potential which has been trampled down by male chauvinists.
Going through the stories in this collection, one gets to view the society from a different perspective. It was quite appropriate that the authors did not engage in any kind gender modification to represent women as better than men; such an action could have dispelled the authenticity of the application of the stories in the society. The stories are a true replica of the society with no unnecessary delineation, which could have depicted the society as it was not.
It is evident that the authors in this collection had embraced to write about change as it had seemingly set them free. This, however, is not an indication that the authors had depicted tradition in bad light. It can be argued that the authors had technically juxtaposed tradition and change thus leaving it to the readers to point out the good and bad element of both the tradition and the change.
The authors were very observant of the changes that were taking place in the society, especially those which touched on the liberation of women. Some of the authors who stood out well in representing the change in their stories are examined below.
Razia Sajjad Zaheer
Razia Sajjad Zaheer was well educated; she acquired a master’s degree. She was married to a husband who shared the same interest as her and was an activist. It is alleged that he spent half the years he was married to Razia Sajjad Zaheer in prison. Nevertheless, they kept on communicating despite the geographical gap that existed between them.
Razia wrote many stories and the one which was captured in the collection was titled Neech, which meant low born. Using this story, Razia presented in an exceedingly powerful manner a huge conflict between the tradition and change. She juxtaposed dominant elements of tradition and change in a very amazing manner. Shymali was the daredevil who changed the tradition. To Sultan, who had developed an admiration for Shyamali, this was beyond reality, it was lunacy.
The tradition was that, husbands were very precious and in the words of Sultan: “a husband was so precious; he was a woman’s honor, her god on earth” (Tharu and Lalita 148). Shyamali, a low born, was of a different opinion; she did not believe she deserved to be treated as a prostitute. The author decided to introduce a change in a different manner, not through the noble but through the low born.
The change story Neech surprised both men and women. Sultan was seen struggling with the thought of how women could go against their husbands even if the husbands mistreated them. To Sultani, this was unthinkable. To Sultani, there was one fact; a fact that in that society “marriage was nothing more than legalized prostitution” (Tharu and Lalita 149).
Amrita Proitam went through a life that was filled with many restrictions that adversely hindered her potential from sprouting freely. After the death of her mother, her father restricted her so much that she could literary feel restriction in each breath she took. At a tender age of sixteen years, she got married and her new family was against her publicity, which was due to her writing of poems.
The general feeling was that she was not undertaking her duties as a wife and daughter in law but instead was engaging in writing, which brought much publicity to her. She later divorced her first husband and afterwards lived with the artist Imroz.
Amrita Pritam can be described as a champion of the women struggle against oppression from male. She often wrote about the loneliness that married women endured and the atrocities that they suffered. Her writings can be described as those which encouraged women to be open-minded and seek freedom from the entanglement of oppression.
She was quite frank and often informed the women who so desired to free themselves that they were likely to incur some costs. Amrita received a number of awards for her contribution towards empowering the womenfolk and encouraging them to stand up for their rights.
Amrita expressed a lot of pain in one of the poems that she wrote. The poem was titled Jada that is winter (Tharu and Lalita 163). The title might have been symbolic to display the coldness that was inherent on women’s lives. The poem described how her whole body shivered. The shivering is attributed to have started from her soul. This is an indication that the cause of the oppression that women were subjected to was an intrinsic factor; it was something that was inherent in the society.
In the last stanza of her poem, she seemed to have had a desire for a cup of sunlight. She was to tuck this cup of sunlight into her womb and by so doing the winter in her life would have passed away. This was quite symbolic as it was a simple but powerful message that she was delivering to fellow womenfolk that they needed enlightenment in order to cross over from the coldness that oppression had locked them in.
Ratakonda Vasundhara Devi
This is another writer who vividly brought out the suffering that women underwent while undertaking the roles that the society had prescribed to them. Ratakonda clearly fought for women right. Her writing brought to light issues, which touched on women “rights, their pleasures and pains, and their welfare” (358). The story Picchi (madness) was written by Ratakonda. She used this story to shade light on the burden that women were exposed to. In this story, a man married his second wife after the first one had committed suicide.
The second wife seems to put up well with the family but soon after she gave birth to the first child, she ran mad. The immediate family believed that it was the food she was given after giving birth that affected her. In the true sense, it was the pressure and burden that were laid on the first and the second wives that drove them to the kind of calamities that they underwent. Some members of the village often went to visit the second wife at the mental hospital.
Though visiting her was a show of concern, clearly the society was missing out on vital issues and attending to issues, which were of less significance. The vital issues were to ensure that women were not overworked. It was ironical that overworking oneself could be viewed as being a good and responsible wife. Unlike in the two stories above, this story on Picchi does not reflect any change but rather brings to full light the kind of chains that women were enslaved in.
The collection Women writing in India brought out significant issues, which affected the lives of women. The collection was a good illustration of women fighting for their rights. The theme which dominated in this volume was that of change. The change depicted in most of the stories by the different authors was that of women going against oppression and moving towards their freedom.
As some of the writers noted, this movement was not easy, and in some cases it cost women a lot. Some of the changes which took place surprised even the women who were supposed to benefit from the changes. Men, who were depicted as agents of this oppression on women, did not take lightly the changes as they viewed them as a disobedience to what the society had agreed on as the normal way of life.
Tharu, Susie and Lalita, ke. Women writing in India: 600 B.C. to the present, volume 2. New York, Feminist Press, 1991. Print.
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