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Place of Women in Indian Literature

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  • Pages: 5
  • Word count: 1020
  • Category: Ethos

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The paper tries to analyze the popular term ‘feminism’ and exhibits the perspective of various writers. The ‘feminism’ is coined in different ways and it is expressed in different manners. In US and Europe, Some writers use the term ‘feminism’ as historically specific political movement whereas few writers use it to refer injustices against women, though there is no proper evidence for these injustices. In the mid-1800 the term ‘feminism’ was used to refer to ‘the qualities of females”. The origins of the term “feminism” in English are rooted from Europe and US during the late 19th and early 20th century and this movement gave birth to feminism.

In many ways, feminism has two phases, one normative and the other descriptive. The first phase, focus how women ought (or ought not) to be portrayed and analyzed on a background conception of justice and moral position. The second phase focuses how women are treated, as a matter of fact apart from justice and morality. Together the two Phases reflects feminism is not only a theory, but it is also a political movement.

India is also one among the countries where girl’s population is high. Even though the women are considered as goddess, the roles of women in literature are often less supportive. Mostly traditional Indian novels portrayed men as an important character and women as secondary character. After the rise of colonial rule and contacts with western philosophies and movements, slowly but steadily, the women characters were strengthen by some of the authors, who were away from the traditional picture of literary damsels.

Right from the beginning women are always under the clutches of male domination and oppression. Although Women occupy half of the world’s population, they are not provided with equal rights in human activity. They are oppressed, suppressed and marginalized in the development of her family and society. They are used as a tool in the hands of men for their desire.

The woman is often ‘marginalized’, ‘repressed’ or ‘silenced’ in literary works. Feminist criticism is a specific kind of political discourse which takes a stand against patriarchy and sexism. Woman’s oppression is not only due to individual male violence but it is based on the patriarchal structure of society.

Like other Indian women writers, Githa Hariharan is also well versed in portraying Indian literature which is committed with feminist and social issues. Through her novels, she explores the marriages, old traditional values, story and myth, passion and loneliness in the lives of Indian women. She states that Marriage is an instrument that leads to female exploitation and oppression, which results in loneliness, hollowness and incapability. Marriage is laid as a bridge for man-woman relationship which may or may not fulfill the conditions necessary for individual growth.

In a patriarchal society system, a female child is taken care with many restrictions by her parents because she has to enter into a new world where, she is molded according to her husband. This system is followed to make her to be the best object of sale in the marriage market.

Myths play an integral role in literature. Githa Hariharan is well known for utilizing Indian myths in her novels. In Indian traditional society, women are expected to be the reflection of archetype women like Sita and Savitri.

Women characters in Githa Hariharan’s novels falls under two categories: one reflecting contemporary woman whereas other rebels like modern women. They are ready to adjust with family and society but they are not ready to sacrifice their self respect. It is mostly highlighted in her novels which try to empower the status of women. Her novels reveal how Indian women are dragged between tradition and individuality. Her fiction also examines how women struggle to sustain herself as an individual human being in this male dominated society. In this patriarchal society, her protagonist tries to attain self realization and freedom apart from her traditional role of daughter, wife and mother. Wifehood plays a main role in every woman and after marriage; she is expected to aim at its excellence.

With a keen observation about life, author comes out with a view that women are undergoing torments both physically and psychologically. Her work reveals with the changing social, emotional and ideological set up in our society. Though women are not bond with devotion, love, care, tolerance, generosity and compromise towards her family and society, but it is imposed on to follow these virtues. Women are expected to be the backbones for the achievements and successes of men.

Some important novels like “The Thousand Faces of Night”, “Fugitive Histories”, “When Dreams Travel”, “In Times of Siege” focuses on the reality of society. These realities are exposed with a precision of style and magical imagery concepts. Her characters are connected with unity and continuity of social and cultural ethos.

Many of the Indian women writers were the first voice of the women, for the women, and by women. The significance of Githa Hariharan’s novels revolves around struggle of women in Indian society and seeking her own identity among men. She reached her destination while others women writers were trying to hold it. In her novels, one can trace how Indian women came out of orthodox society and create their world according to their convenience. Her characters are not characters against social traditions and values but they are not ready to accept it in its originality. Her modern women characters are very strong to face any difficult situations in the society for their survival. All these views marked her as a feminist novelist.

In all her novels, Githa Hariharan has rightly pointed the feminist trends. Many Indian women writers gave importance to the self identification of their women characters. Generally women in Indian society are respected from their childhood to womanhood.

The paper tries to identify how Githa Hariharan suggests women to come out their ideologies in patriarchal society. She advises the contemporary society to uplift themselves with respective caste, community and gender. Through her characters, she dreams for an eco-friendly environment. She also adds that women should be educated and self-employed for the development of her as well as the society. Through her novels, she voiced for the women society.

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