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|Title:||TREATMENT OF WOMEN IN THE NOVELS OF BHABANI BHATTACHARYA|
|Abstract:||Bhabani Bhattacharya is one of the most prominent and widely acclaimed Indian English novelists of his time, who is endowed with a vision of life that owes much to the spirit of humanism. His themes are entirely related to contemporary life and events in this country, depicting with realism the problems, trials, and tribulations faced by Indian people. The secret of Bhattacharya's appeal lies in his universality. He is one such novelist who has reaffirmed human worth and dignity in all his works. Despite dehumanising effect of poverty, hunger and other vicissitudes of life, the common man is never shown by him as bereft of his essential goodness. Apart from the social problems, Bhattacharya's novels also shape the complex ways in which men and women organise themselves, their interpersonal relationships, and their perception of the socio-cultural reality. The attitudes of the characters, male and female, to one another, highlight the gender relationship as well as the author's attitude towards these relationships. What ultimately determines the worth of a writer is his creative vision of life as enshrined in his work. Bhattacharya is undoubtedly a writer with a vision - the vision of a new India. He has rightly been called a 'Mediating Man' as the ideologies of Mahatma Gandhi and Rabindranath Tagore influence his thought and mould him intellectually. Thus, his vision of a new India and the impact of Gandhi and Tagore on him, guide him to present the graphic image of Indian women in his fiction. Bhattacharya has no pretensions of being a social reformer or a lawgiver in the context of treatment of women in his novels, but a close study of his works is likely to give us useful insight to sort out several problems related to women that the world in general and India in particular are beset with. IV Since Bhattacharya is a progressive writer, he understands well the role of a woman in building up a healthy and prosperous society. Even though a male writer, he promotes emancipation of women by dissolving rigid doctrines, which marginalize their personality, rights, individuality, and freedom. In his view, a proper and gracious relationship between man and woman gives her space to affirm her true selfand also provides her with a chance to ameliorate her predicament. Bhattacharya is different from the contemporary trinity of Indian English fiction- Raja Rao, Mulk Raj Anand and R. K. Narayan, in respect of the treatment of women in their novels. Bhattacharya's women characters do not only occupy a very special position in his novels, but also know the warmth of personal contentment when the test of their courage and endurance comes into open. They do not negate and berate the family life. Retaining their identities as daughters, wives and mothers, they also finally restore their individuality and affirm their true selves. Each of his novels ends with the women facing their future with confidence and fortitude. One of the reinforcing features of all these women characters is the tenderness that they exhibit in the family relationships. They are affectionate, vivacious beings, exuding the warmth of femininity. Amidst so many uncertainties and vagaries of change, they show glimpses of tenderness and hope to their family. Bhattacharya is of the view that women should take active and equal part in family and social life with an optimistic approach. Thus, an important feature of Bhattacharya's fiction is the close emotional tie not only between the author and his women protagonists but also between them, their society and country. The subtle empowerment of woman as presented in his novels, is operative at two levels, the one being the family and the other one, the outside world. Fiction today is seriously concerned with the changing perceptions of woman's position in social and familial context. Changes in the socio-economic conditions have v modified our patriarchal attitudes towards gender-discrimination and this contemporary change is reflected in the novels of Bhattacharya too.'Change for him is neither apathetic nor trivial; it is mostly positive. He has dealt with various facets of manwoman relationships quite intensely because the traditional heritage ofIndia gives great importance to the cordial family life. Bhattacharya, in his novels, presents an image of woman, which is largely different from his contemporaries. They have viewed woman as 'an evil counterfeit', 'a weak vassal,' but Bhattacharya has consolidated her position, and has refused to present her as a mere submissive being. As a creative writer, he has redefined the husband-wife equation where each inspires the other partner at every turn of life and work positively for his/her betterment at the same time. Bhattacharya's novels depict his immense admiration for Indian women as he gives them either a vital position or at least an equal importance. His women characters also imbibe high principles and are pure in body and spirit, and yet they are endowed with exuberant verve. Thus, the present study, with thematic approach, critically examines the treatment of women in the novels of Bhattacharya with special reference to their different roles, both in the family and in respect of larger social and national contexts, and thereby enriching their identities too.|
|Appears in Collections:||DOCTORAL THESES (HSS)|
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