A glimpse from A Plate of White Marble originally written by Bani Basu in Bengali as Swet Patharer Thala and translated by Nandia Guha (Published by Niyogi Books, 2020)
There was no consolation. Yet Bandana repeatedly read the letter from one end to the other. She remembered everything— from holding Kaka’s hand and going to attend Gandhiji’s lectures in Deshbandhu Park to putting coins in the trunks of elephants and looking at giraffes at the zoo. She could easily picture those cold Sunday mornings when they used to reach Esplanade, peeling oranges all the way. Kaka smoked very strong cigarettes. The fingers of his right hand were yellow with nicotine stains. When Bandana was small, she was under the impression that all Kakas would have coppery yellow fingertips.
A Kaka surely meant someone in whom this feature was an integral part, inseparable from his image.
When her mother died young, Kaka immediately decided not to marry and start a family. Baba had tried to persuade him to change his decision. Kaka had the same argument every time, ‘Dada, this child is so naughty, you will never be able to manage her on your own. If this girl is to be brought up well, I will have to join you in taking charge of her.’
Anushree Joshi takes us through interrogation and confrontation of Gender Roles in Kamala Das’ works in this literary essay
This paper attempts to analyze the feminist tones in the poetry of Indian-English writer and poet, Kamala Das, particularly focusing on the expression and problematization of gender roles in her 1965 poetry collection, Summer in Calcutta. It argues that her gendered identity manifests itself in her poetic style and aesthetic, wherein she questions the patriarchal expectations of gender – of women rooted in immanence and domesticity and of men rooted in transcendence and the public sphere. The custom of arranged marriage, domestic emotional abuse, confinement to the private sphere of domesticity, and daunting standards of feminine beauty, are some of the gendered expectations in the Indian woman’s experience that Das’ poetry interrogates. The confessional movement of poetry in the West, iconized in the poetry of women writers like Anne Sexton and Sylvia Plath, also appears to influence Das’ mode of expression, since she emphasizes on the ‘I’ in her poems, while voicing the experience of not only her own self, but also of women as a community who have been disenfranchised socially, linguistically, politically, or culturally due to the gendered roles and expectations imposed upon them.
Keywords: gender roles, confessional poetry, domesticity, Kamala Das, feminist
Dr. Sutanuka Ghosh Roy explores Sanjukta Dasgupta’s Sita’s Sisters calling it a poet’s exhortation of womanhood.
- ISBN: 978-93-87883-89-5 ( Paperback)
- Published by Hawakal Publishers, Kolkata-India.
Sita’s Sisters is the sixth book of poetry by Sanjukta Dasgupta, former professor, head and dean, faculty of Arts, Calcutta University. She is a poet, critic and translator. She is the recipient of numerous national and international grants and fellowships and has lectured, taught and read her poems in India, Europe, USA and Australia. She is a member of the General Council of Sahitya Akademi New Delhi and Convenor of the English Advisory Board, Sahitya Akademi. Her published books include Snapshots (poetry), Dilemma (poetry), First Language (poetry), More Light (poetry), Her Stories (translations), Manimahesh (translation), Media, Gender and Popular Culture in India: Tracking Change and Continuity, SWADES—Tagore’s Patriotic Songs (translation), Abuse and Other Short Stories, Lakshmi Unbound (poetry) 2017.
By Ankita Shukla
Literature has witnessed the roles of women evolving through ages, but until recent times, most of the published writers were men and the portrayal of women in literature was without doubt biased. A lot of it has to be blamed on the fact that in the ancient world, literacy was strictly limited, and the majority of those who could write were male. However, the contribution of women to oral folklore cannot be taken for granted – in folk songs, stories, poetry and literature in general. Here’s a look at how women were portrayed in literature through eras.
During the Victorian era, there was an unending debate over the roles of women. While the era was dominated by writers who treated women as angelic figures- innocent, physically weaker and nothing less than household commodities; Edwardian poetry spoke of women’s rights gathering much attention, feminism and females getting out of their homes during the war times. Read more
Source: The Times of India
Are all women writers essentially feminist, and is women’s writing a separate entity? These were two questions thrown up by the keynote speaker and noted Odiya writer Pratibha Ray at the seventh Women Writers’ Conference of the Karnataka Lekhakiyara Sangha, an organisation of like-minded women writers in the State.
Ms. Ray’s questions are as old as the organisation itself, when back in 1979 a group of women decided to organise themselves into a sangha to promote works by women writers and inspire young women. Answering her question, Ms. Ray emphasised that all writers are feminists, because “inherently a good piece of writing questions the social order, and in spirit, protests against that which is wrong”. “In that sense, all writers are feminists. And while women’s writing is not a separate entity, women writers are able to bring in different kinds of sensibilities and life experiences into their writing.”