Rama Mehta’s Inside the Haveli: A Feminist Interpretation
– Dr. Muktaja V. Mathkari
The article discusses in the light of Rama Mehta’s Inside the haveli the issues of female rebellion and retreat of women in the haveli. It brings out the patriarchal mentalities of the society during a particular period. The article also deals with the issues on how “voicing of protests, alienates her from the prevailing culture on one hand and on the other makes her a participant in the traditional hegemonic practices which oppress her.”
The article further looks into women and her space, the status and position she holds in such a society. It talks about empowerment, survival and a quest for a lost identity in a male dominated society. Images in the novel Inside the Haveli are also looked into by the author. It discusses the protagonist, Geeta who despite being well educated, is stuck in the shams of patriarchy. She has been portrayed as submissive, one who has not made any effort to demolish the male dominance even though the way Rama Mehta has shown her character is restless and there is a spark in her to overcome such dominance, she is unable to do so.
The article further discusses the peripherilisation of women, where they are never given a chance to enjoy a central position in the family. The article reiterates this by stating S. Bhattacharya’s opinion on the marginalization of women in traditional Hindu families and he goes on to say that the writers could have avoided the old tradition where women are the victims of domestic violence and emotional privation. Hence, Rama Mehta’s writing is seen as an ‘othering’ of females which not only subordinates their position in the society but also silences their voices in a family. They are expected to maintain the household and take care of the children as a wife, mother, and daughter-in- law or mother-in-law. Even in the 21st century, when in India girls have repeatedly proved themselves competent for every profession, the deep rooted gender discrimination continues among even the affluent and educated people living a so called modern life in the metro cities.
The novel’s latter half shows Geeta’s search for an independent identity which is seen by her ‘moving’ within her traditionally specified confines. The author then talks about transgressing boundaries and spaces by bringing in the sub-plot of the novel through the character of Lakhsmi. It clearly discusses the male and female spaces in the novel and the stark difference between the two spaces. It talks about how still women are stable and wandering women like Lakshmi are evil- a typical notion of patriarchal society. Despite the alienation faced by Geeta in the prevailing culture she still is a participant in the culture. As the novel progresses she is seen to find a space within the limits of that culture. Her ambiguous nature can thus be seen as an amalgamation of both tradition and culture.
The researcher hence with the help of this article will attempt to study the dilemma in the characters of the females in Rama Mehta’s Inside the Haveli. This article gives a direct insight to the researches done on Rama Mehta’s Inside the haveli.
Mathkri.V.Muktaja. “Rama Mehta’s Inside the Haveli: A Feminist Interpretation”. Academic Research. (1-9)