Famous Literary texts of the Subcontinent

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Offline Nahid Kaiser

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Re: Famous Literary texts of the Subcontinent
« Reply #15 on: July 16, 2011, 03:26:04 PM »
Kanthapura by Raja Rao : Book Review
Mabel Annie Chacko (India, 06/11/05)
 
Raja Rao's novel Kanthapura (1938) is the first major Indian novel in English. It is a fictional but realistic account of how the great majority of people in India lived their lives under British rule and how they responded to the ideas and ideals of Indian nationalism. The book has been considered by many to be the first classic modern Indian writing in English and is thought of as one of the best, if not the best, Gandhian novels in English.

Kanthapura - The Village:

'Kanthapura' portrays the participation of a small village of South India in the national struggle called for by Mahatma Gandhi. Imbued with nationalism, the villagers sacrifice all their material possessions in a triumph of the spirit, showing how in the Gandhian movement people shed their narrow prejudices and united in the common cause of the non-violent civil resistance to the British Raj.

This village is a microcosm of the traditional Indian society with its entrenched caste hierarchy. In Kanthapura there are Brahmin quarters, Sudra quarters and Pariah quarters. Despite stratification into castes, however, the villagers are mutually bound in various economic and social functions which maintain social harmony. The enduring quality of the Indian village is represented as ensuring an internal tenacity that resists external crises, its relationship to past contributing a sense of unity and continuity between the present and past generations. Kanthapura may appear isolated and removed from civilization, but it is compensated by an ever-enriching cycle of ceremonies, rituals, and festivals.

Rao depicts the regular involvement of the villagers in Sankara-Jayanthi, Kartik Purnima, Ganesh-Jayanthi, Dasara, and the Satyanarayana Puja with the intention of conveying a sense of the natural unity and cohesion of village society. Old Ramakrishnayya reads out the Sankara-Vijaya day after day and the villagers discuss Vedanta with him every afternoon. Religion, imparted through discourses and pujas (prayers), keeps alive in the natives a sense of the presence of God. Participation in a festival brings about the solidarity among them. The local deity Kenchamma protects the villagers "through famine and disease, death and despair". If the rains fail, you fall at her feet. Equally sacred is the river Himavathy which flows near Kanthapura.


The Strategic Setting of the Novel:

Rao's choice of this village setting is strategic in view of his Gandhian loyalties. Gandhi locates his politics in the villages of India where the majority of Indian's population resides. Rao maintains the sanctity of the village at an ideological level, but permits mobility and change to heighten the historical significance of the national struggle Gandhi conceptualized.

The time when the action of the novel is set is the 1920s and 1930s, the period when Mahatma Gandhi had become the pivotal figure in India's struggle for freedom. Rao treats the history of the freedom movement at the level of hostility between village folk and the British colonial authority at a time when colonialism had become intensely heavy-handed in its response to the Civil Disobedience Movement.

Kanthapura is an enchanting story of how the independence movement becomes a tragic reality in a tiny and secluded village in South India. The novel has the flavor of an epic as it emerges through the eyes of a delightful old woman who comments with wisdom and humor.


Telling of the Novel:

As far as the form and technique of the novel is concerned Rao makes a deliberate attempt to follow traditional Indian narrative technique and it is Indian sensibility that informs Kanthapura. In fact both the spirit and the narrative technique of Kanthapura are primarily those of the Indian Puranas, which may be described as a popular encyclopaedia of ancient and medieval Hinduism, religious, philosophical, historical and social. Rao at the outset describes his novel as a sthala-purana - legend of a place. The Puranas are a blend of narration, description, philosophical reflection, and religious teaching. The style is usually simple, flowing, and digressive.

Rao makes a highly innovative use of the English language to make it conform to the Kannada rhythm. In keeping with his theme in Kanthapura he experiments with language following the oral rhythms and narrative techniques of traditional models of writing. The emotional upheaval that shook Kanthapura is expressed by breaking the formal English syntax to suit the sudden changes of mood and sharp contrasts in tone. While the intuitive borrowing from language takes place at one level in the novel, at another interconnected level, "real" India is constructed by enshrining the novel in Gandhian ideology. It is a highly original style. The author's "Foreword" to the novel almost spells out the postcolonial cultural agenda:
The telling has not been easy. One has to convey in a language that is not one's own the spirit that is one's own. One has to convey the various shades and omissions of a certain though-movement that looks maltreated in an alien language. I use the word 'alien', yet English is not really an alien language to us. It is the language of our intellectual make-up-like Sanskrit or Persian was before- but not of our emotional make-up. We are all instinctively bilingual, many of us writing in our own language and in English. We cannot write like the English. We should not. We cannot write only as Indians.

Rao's novel is significant as a cultural tract which rewrites true history against the "inauthentic" historical accounts compiled by Europeans, and because it effects a cultural revival through the use of indigenous themes and motifs. Rao is also alive to the fact that religion has the potential to move people beyond dormancy - to display active political energy to the extent of sacrificing their lives. Kanthapura evokes a sense of community and freedom, construed as a spiritual quality which overcomes all bounds and crosses all barriers.

In order to allow an easy interchange between the world of men and the world of gods, between contemporaneity and antiquity, Rao thus equips his story with a protagonist whose role it is to enthuse the villagers into joining the political cause of India's struggle for freedom without reservation.

The tension between these two often contradictory levels of writing - the mythic/poetic and the political/prosaic - is the defining characteristic of the novel. As will be seen, this tension is both a strength and a weakness to the narrative; on the one hand enhancing its sheer readability as a story, and on the other hand blurring readers' understanding of the realities of the Indian Independence struggle.


Moorthy and other Characters - Raja Rao's Tools in Telling:

He focuses on two individual leaders and their beliefs; the actual and the mythicized figure of Gandhi, and his transmutation into Moorthy, the saintly hero of the novel. As the movement reaches Kanthapura, young Moorthy, son of a Brahmin woman, Narasamma, takes up the responsibility of spreading Gandhi's message. He brings about cultural awakening among the villages by organizing harikathas ("tales of gods"). By a subtle subversion the harikatha is turned into an allegory of India's struggle for freedom wherein the Gandhian saga is inscribed. Moorthy visits the city, and returns a "Gandhi man". He has become a spokesman for Gandhi, by submitting to his attitudes and beliefs. The villagers describe him as "our own Gandhi", yet interestingly he never has an actual meeting with Gandhi. He has only seen him in a "vision" addressing a public meeting with himself pushing his way through the crowd and joining the band of volunteers and receiving inspiration by a touch of Gandhi's hand. This enables Rao to turn the historical moment into a visionary experience, and opens a space for the possibility of assumed politics.

Moorthy preaches and practices ahimsa (non-violent resistance), the hallmark of Gandhi's appeal to the public, and evokes an overwhelming response among the villagers who unite in common cause, ready to break the British laws, picket toddy shops, and fight against social evils like untouchability.

Moorthy has several sympathetic souls with him: Rangamma, the kind lady and a patron for harikatha celebrations, Ratna, the young widowed daughter of Kamalamma, Rangamma's sister, Patel Range Gowda, the revenue collector, and others. But there are also sceptics, like the foul mouthed Venkamma. His own mother is much concerned about Moorthys mixing with the low caste pariahs. Indeed, when someone spreads the rumour that the Swami - the priest; upholder of dharma - has threatened the villagers with excommunication if Moorthy continues to go around with the pariahs, Naraamma is terribly upset; she sobs and shivers and soon dies.

He has to resist orthodoxy at the social level, and at the political level he has to fight the British authority symbolized by the Skeffington Coffee Estate and the police inspector Bade Khan who is out to suppress any undercurrent of Gandhian movement in Kanthapura. Moorthy's efforts bear fruit and the village changes. Rao is careful to point out that the transformation occurs through a complex dynamism negotiated through tradition and change, as the village affiliates itself to wider nationalistic cause.

The British find their ally in Swami, who supports them as upholders of dharma and is rewarded with "twelve hundred acres of wet land" by the Government. Meanwhile Moorthy's message spreads far and wide and several private temples are thrown open to the untouchables.

Rao does not marginalize the role of women in the freedom movement and highlights their individual contributions. Rangamma and Ratna form women's volunteer groups, despite opposition from the orthodox. Moorthy and his volunteers closely monitor the Mahatma's Dandi march and enact their own satyagraha in Kanthapura. They picket toddy shops, and are joined by more volunteers from the city, and by the coolies from the Skeffington Coffee Estate. Their march is opposed by the police who beat them up mercilessly. The police tell them to be loyal to the British Government, but the people say they know only the Government of the Mahatma. Moorthy and several others are arrested. As a result of the police atrocities the entire village is desolate and, in the end, "there remains neither man nor mosquito in Kanthapura".


Conclusion:

Kanthapura has been described as the most satisfying of all modern Indian novels. Recognized as a major landmark in Indian fiction, it is the story of how the Gandhian struggle for Independence came to one small village in south India.


Offline irina

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Re: Famous Literary texts of the Subcontinent
« Reply #16 on: July 16, 2011, 03:43:12 PM »
Your posting is really worthwhile to read.
Thanks.

Offline Antara11

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Re: Famous Literary texts of the Subcontinent
« Reply #17 on: July 17, 2011, 10:26:52 AM »
Great job Nahid Mam!!!!!!I am really happy to read all these.
Antara Basak
Senior Lecturer
Dept. of English

Offline Nahid Kaiser

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Re: Famous Literary texts of the Subcontinent
« Reply #18 on: July 17, 2011, 12:37:19 PM »
Irina Madam, I will be happy to get any suggestion to enrich it. I mean you can suggest an author or book you want to be added here.

Offline Nahid Kaiser

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Re: Famous Literary texts of the Subcontinent
« Reply #19 on: July 17, 2011, 12:52:08 PM »
7.Nakshi Kathar Math
 â€˜Nakshikathar Maath’ (The Field of an Embroidered Quilt)
is a long narrative poem. It is about two young persons: Rupai and Shajoo. Rupai lives in one village and Shaju in another. One day Rupai went to collect bamboo (bamboo is an important construction material in rural Bengal) and then he saw Shajoo and Shajoo saw Rupai. They fall in love with each other and eventually gets married. Then one day Rupai gets involved in a serious fight with a group of people in the conflict he killed one and on that night he came to see his wife, Shajoo. After that Shajoo waited for her husband to return but he never returns.

Shajoo loved her husband deeply and not seeing him for all theseyeas made her very sad. She gave up eating and started to grow ill.

The she decides to make a quilt. On the quilt she draws her house where she used to live with her husband and the beautiful field near the house. By the time she finished the quilt she died. Before death she tells her mother to hang the quilt on a bamboo near her grave. Then after few months people of the village saw another old person lying on that grave. The whole story is very beautifully narrated. It is divided in chapters and each chapter starts with a Murhsidi song. This poem was translated into English by Mrs. Milford. Jasimuddin loved the rural Bengal and all his life he wrote for them.

Offline shipra

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Re: Famous Literary texts of the Subcontinent
« Reply #20 on: July 17, 2011, 02:35:57 PM »
All the things are very important.The students of English Literature should know about these literary pieces to understand literature.More than that,as a Bangali, they have to know their existence which lies in their own literature.

Offline Nahid Kaiser

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Re: Famous Literary texts of the Subcontinent
« Reply #21 on: July 19, 2011, 01:45:04 PM »
Thank you Shipra, actually I've started the topic with this view in mind.

Offline shipra

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Re: Famous Literary texts of the Subcontinent
« Reply #22 on: July 19, 2011, 03:18:35 PM »
Thank You,Madam.So,carry on.From Classical to contemporary writers,you have given importance to both.That's great.

Offline shamsi

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Re: Famous Literary texts of the Subcontinent
« Reply #23 on: July 25, 2011, 11:32:57 AM »
Dear Nahid,

Thanks for enriching our forum with the information of such wonderful texts.I have started reading and found it adventurous.

Great job.Keep it up.

Shamsi

Offline Nahid Kaiser

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Re: Famous Literary texts of the Subcontinent
« Reply #24 on: July 30, 2011, 10:43:54 AM »
Graet pleasure Shamsi madam
but many of our resourceful poets like Chandidas, Viddyapati are absent from internet. I am trying to include them as well.

Offline Nahid Kaiser

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Re: Famous Literary texts of the Subcontinent
« Reply #25 on: July 30, 2011, 10:44:42 AM »
Maimansingha gitika or Môemonshingha gitika is a collection of folk ballads from the region of Mymensingh, Bangladesh. They were published in English as Eastern Bengal Ballads. The primary theme of the ballads is love in its different aspects: pre-nuptial love, marital love and extra-marital love and the resultant family and social conflicts.
Chandra Kumar De and Dinesh Chandra Sen collected the songs, and Dinesh Chandra Sen was the editor; the collection was published by the University of Calcutta, along with another similar publication named Purbabanga-gitika.
It is assumed that some of the songs were composed between the late 16th century and early 18th century. In the course of time, the ballads underwent some transformation. The increasing use of Arabic and Persian vocabulary in some ballads indicate their periods of composition. Mansur Bayati, the Muslim poet among the composers, is believed to have composed "Dewan Madina" around the 18th century.

Offline Nahid Kaiser

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Re: Famous Literary texts of the Subcontinent
« Reply #26 on: July 30, 2011, 10:45:35 AM »
Maimansingha Gitika compilation of folk ballads by Dinesh Chandra Sen. Chandra Kumar De of NETROKONA collected a large number of ballads or narrative songs from greater Mymensingh. Dineshchandra edited the ballads which were published by Calcutta University as Maimansingha Gitika and PURBABANGA-GITIKA (1923-1932). They were published in English as Eastern Bengal Ballads.
Of the 21 ballads collected by Chandra Kumar De, Mahuya', 'Maluya', 'Chandravati', 'Dasyu Kenaram', 'Kamala', 'Rupavati', 'Kanka O Lila', 'Dewan Madina', and 'Dhopar Pat' were included in Maimansingha Gitika, while the rest were included in Purbabanga-Gitika. The primary theme of the ballads is love in its different aspects: pre-nuptial love, marital love and extra-marital love and the resultant family and social conflicts. It is assumed that 'Kenaram', 'Mahuya', 'Kanka O Leela', and 'Chandravati' were composed between the late 16th century to the early 18th century. The composer of 'Maluya' is unknown but some think it was CHANDRAVATI. In course of time, the ballads underwent some transformation. The increasing use of Arabic and Persian vocabulary in some ballads indicate their periods of composition. MANSUR BAYATI, the Muslim poet among the composers, is believed to have composed 'Dewan Madina' around the 18th century.

Offline Nahid Kaiser

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Re: Famous Literary texts of the Subcontinent
« Reply #27 on: July 30, 2011, 10:46:31 AM »
Maimansingha Gitika
`Maimansingha gitika` or ` Môemonshingha gitika` is a collection of folk ballads from the region of Mymensingh and around of Bangladesh.Chandra Kumar De and Dinesh Chandra Sen were the collectors and editors; the collection was published from Calcutta University, along with another similar publicat...
Found on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maimansingh

Offline Nahid Kaiser

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Re: Famous Literary texts of the Subcontinent
« Reply #28 on: August 21, 2011, 11:25:55 AM »
Selina Hossain is one of the most important women writers of Bangladesh. She has published twenty-one novels, seven collections of short stories, four collections of prose writings and four collections of stories for children. Her works are a moving account of the contemporary social and political crises and conflicts as well as the recurrent cycles of the life of the struggling masses. Quite a few of her novels have been translated into Indian regional languages and into French, Russian and English. Commenting on the war of liberation in Bangladeshi novels, Kabir Chowdhury wrote that Selina Hosain's, Hangara, Nadi, Greneda (Shark, River and Grenade), "set in a remote riverine rural area of southern Bangladesh, dealing with illiterate common men and women, achieves a commendable integration of theme and style and brilliantly highlights the essence of all that is heroic, noble and glorious in our liberation war." Critic Syed Akram Hossain recalls Selina's Pokamakorera gharabasati and comments, "Her portrayal of life of a particular community living on the south-east coast of Bangladesh is informed by a deep awareness of life which transcends regionalism."


Offline Nahid Kaiser

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Re: Famous Literary texts of the Subcontinent
« Reply #29 on: August 21, 2011, 11:27:01 AM »
Parul’s Motherhood
Parul calculated that it had been around six months since the man had disappeared. Some said he had drowned at sea, some that he had gone to Dhaka for work. Parul didn't care where the hell he went, but why did he leave without telling her? Would she have stopped him if he had told her? Would she have started crying? No, she would have done neither. She would have allowed whoever wanted to leave, leave. If there was any pain in her heart, it would have been her own. Why did the man run away then? He had fled because he couldn't understand Parul, was that it? Or did he think that if he did not escape, it would have been too hard to leave her?
Her head spun whenever she thought these things. She could never stand indifference from anyone, certainly not from someone so close-her socially "I do"-ed husband. Whose name was Abbas Ali, village Thanar Hat, district Noakhali. Not much income, he was a day laborer, spending their days any old how with whatever they could scrounge together. When she entered his household, poverty was what Parul saw around her mostly, so she put her energy to earning, working house to house, getting rice, vegetables, whatever she managed to get served for meals. She had put up with the poverty. She had no complaints against Abbas Ali. In fact, she had rather liked the strong young man. She would fall asleep late at night talking of her sorrows and her joys. Why did the man not like this household? Parul's anger was focused on this question, but it remained unanswered. When people questioned her, she never felt embarrassed; instead her blood would begin to boil.
Her head would pound when she returned home after work and sat in the veranda at midday-the raucous songs of the boatmen from the shores of Hatiya floated in her skull. They were going to Narayanganj with the salt-earth they had collected. Salt would be manufactured at Bhuiyan's factory in Narayanganj.
Some day the hands of people somewhere would be eaten away from washing the salt earth, bringing out the crystal white salt. They would not know that Parul was a girl of the salt lands-whose empty skull spoke, asked questions, and answered them. A hard question rang through her empty skull: When does a person's need for another person end? Why did the man leave? Why should he leave? These whys encircled her empty skull like a rope-a tough rope, bringing out welts in white or black skin. At some point, the welts would crack, blood spurting from those wounds. When she felt like scratching at something, she would grab the bamboo pole and shake it. The roof of the rickety house would shudder. Parul would stare at the shuddering roof. The thatch had shifted in places, creating gaps-the bamboo leaves were about to fall off, something needed to be done before the rainy season. The roof needed to be mended. This need had a meaning, it was not necessary to search for a meaning for this need. The man must have left in search of some other need-what did that mean? Then her empty skull questioned: When does a husband stop needing his wife?
Her belly replies: When she cannot give him food.
The question arises again: When does a husband stop needing his wife?
Her loins answer: When she cannot provide her flesh.
Her whole body shrieks, I could do everything. Why did he run away?
Then it felt as if she has no hunger, thirst, or sexual desire. The shores of Hatiya lay all around her. The tidewater brought in the salt-earth. Her empty skull said, never had the keening for food reverberated around the horizons of her household. The urges to love never fell flat on the rainbow hued fields. Then why did he leave? Why does her skull languish empty among the dirt, the mud, the weeds, the trash? When her heart burns out, her eyes catch fire. Does living life mean counting the hours for the one person? The person who had a socially accepted role in her life? The person with whom if she went to bed, whose child she could carry in her belly without society saying anything? Parul quivered. Her body tautened. She kept thinking, her skull emptying with the thought that for no reason at all the man was indifferent to her female self. This insult burned her with an intense heat. She accepted a tremor within her tense body and cursed the void in a strong voice.
She protested with her voice and gestures. She didn't want this life. She wanted laughter, pleasure, desperation, a life that could kick society in the ass. She pulled out the gamccha tucked into the fence and ran to the pond, jumping in. Romping against the water, frolicking within the water-she tried to wash away the insult. But the feeling of humiliation would not go away.
She started work on the road two days after that. The road needed to be filled up. The Upazila Parishad was having it done-they would get wheat for the work. Others shoveled the earth into a basket, she carried it on her head to deposit it on the road. The intense sun was cooking her flesh and her bones. She tired and stopped awhile to rest. Tara's mother came near and proffered her the bidi held in her hand-Go on, have a drag.
But I don't smoke.
Don't smoke, my ass, try it, girl. It'll give you strength.
Parul hesitated before accepting the bidi. She dragged on it and coughed. After coughing several times she began to like it. That day after work, as she returned from the Upazila office with her wheat, she bought a pack of bidis from Qashem's store. After returning home, taking her bath, she fried up some wheat in a clay wok. That day she crunched on fried wheat till late at night, dragging endlessly on bidis and humming different songs. After a long time everything seemed to be mighty fine.
A few days later Alam Chacha of the village gave her the news in front of the Upazila Parishad office. Said: "Your husband's cutting paddy at Monpura Char. He's married too."
"Married!"
At first her eyes widened. Then she started giggling and said, "Quite right too."
But her insides burned at this humiliation of her womanhood. Burning,- burning - vivid like the flicker of a bidi in the darkness.
Irritated, Alam Chacha said, "Whatcha laughing for then, huh? What's so funny?"
Still she tried to say with a bright smile, "Marriage is good news. Why shouldn't I laugh?"
When Alam Chacha left with a "Stupid girl," she realized that there was pain within that laughter-sorrow does not always mean tears. Her empty skull began to speak-she wanted to forget her sorrow. When her empty skull began to speak she became certain of what she must do. She felt no indecision in her mind. She realized that what is most difficult is to ascertain a target. Inability to make decisions was the biggest problem in living life. Once this difficult problem was resolved, then time flowed fluidly, and did not become a burden to the mind.
Two months later she became pregnant. When it became clear to her another three months later, she felt joy within. I'm going to be a mother? She twirled inside her house like a madwoman. It took some time for her to settle down. Once settled down, her insides kept flooding in a deluge of joy. Whether it was good or bad to be a mother without a husband was not a thought that entered her head. She's a mother, this feeling turned her into a wealthy woman. It became the single most important thing to her to hold on to this feeling.
One day, standing in her yard, Tara's mother threw a look at her and said, "Hey Paruilla, have you got something in your oven then?"
She nodded with a shy smile.
"What! You don't have a husband."
"Do you really need a husband to get a bun in your oven?"
She looked at her in amusement. As if Tara's mother had just said something enormously funny. It didn't seem to her that such a response was ready in her mouth. The answer came out quite spontaneously. She wagged her finger at Tara's mother and repeated her remark.
Tara's mother snapped at her, "You shameless girl . . ."
"Don't curse me, you'll regret it."
"Won't the baby need a dad, then?"
"What would it need a dad for? I'm its dad, I'm its mom."
Tara's mother grumbled, "The girl's gone mad."
Word of Parul's strange behavior spread throughout the village. Women crowded her house asking curious questions. Sometimes Parul answered them, sometimes she didn't. She would look away or go down to the pond. She would swim in the pond as long as she felt like it. It wasn't as if all the men in the village came to her; it wasn't as if she liked all the men She encouraged whomever she liked in order to satisfy the cravings of her flesh. Her joy was in whomever's company she enjoyed-the paternity of her child was not important to her. She didn't even want to give them the rights of fatherhood. She would say directly, "I will bring up the child. I'll feed *Šñem, I'll clothe *Šñem, what would I do with a dad? There's Aiton, her husband's run off leaving her with two kids. What's the difference? Don't kids who don't have dads turn out all right?"
Some nodded at Parul's unarguable logic, some argued back. She would grow tired of arguing and would let it go. But she never suffered defeat. Tired of arguing, she would stop. Girls who had been abandoned by their husbands with two or three children would praise her in secret. They would tell her, "You've done the right thing, Parul. Now those pigs can't talk back at us."
When she would hear this, that "Why" question of Parul's would remain unmoving in her empty skull. A balm of sympathy was smoothed over the burns of humiliation. A strength worked within her telling her that she would never lose.
She would sit in her veranda, sewing linen for her baby from used clothing. Some of the girls came in secret to give her old saris. Sometimes someone would give her food. She didn't really need these, but the small gifts made her glad. Now she was immersed in the dreams of motherhood-her body felt no sexual urges. She was a woman-now she was on her knees in front of nature. Vast nature had fulfilled her self, her identity with pride and glory-she would reap the rewards.
Sometimes there would be scrabbling sounds at the fence in the darkness. Someone would call to her in a whisper, Paru, oh Paruilla . . . She didn't answer. Didn't get up. She needed no one now. She would of course open her door when she would need someone.
One day, mid afternoon. She had just finished bathing and was standing in the middle of her yard. The man of the first day arrived. With hurried footsteps, fearful that someone would see him here. The man placed one hand on his chest and asked quickly, "Am I the father of your son?"
She beat her hair with her gamccha as she replied impassively, "No."
"Then who is the man?"
"Why do you want to know? What do you need to know that for?"
There was pleading in the man's voice, "Come on Parul, tell."
"Tell you what? I told you, it's not you."
She spread the gamccha on the clothesline and went into the house. In the evening came another man. "Parul you have to tell me who the father of your son is. Isn't it me?"
"No." Parul's voice is somber. "What do you want to know that for? What's it to you?"
"Such arrogance will do you no good, Parul."
Parul breaks down in helpless laughter. The Azaan floats on the evening air. The man waits no longer. Late at night comes another one. Silently. Whispers, "Parul."
"Why're you here? To be the father of my child? You're not my baby's dad. Now go."
Finally she is annoyed. The men just want the authority of fatherhood. Nothing else. They wouldn't take care of the child, wouldn't take the child in, wouldn't even acknowledge it in public. All any of them wanted to do was feel pleased at the thought that it was his child in Parul's womb. Oh men! Then Parul's empty skull speaks, I don't sell my flesh. I don't ask for money from anyone, this isn't my trade. I enjoy for my own pleasure-whoever I want-whenever I want.
Parul tidies her bed and goes to sleep. Even before her head touches the pillow she hears footsteps outside. She sits up again. Who were they that they wanted rights over the child? Who were they? They were only one kind of people. That was their nature but no one will know whose child I am mother to-only I, only I am God.
Then the call comes in a loud voice from the other side of the door, "Paru, Paruilla . . ."
She chortles loudly and says, "You're not my baby's father."
The darkness shatters with the sound of that laughter.
Copyright © by Selina Hossain. Published by arrangement with the author. Translation copyright © 2005 by Shabnam Nadiya. All rights reserved.