Quest for Identity in the Novels of Shashi Deshpande

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QUEST FOR IDENTITY IN THE NOVELS OF SHASHI DESHPANDE
The Indian socio-culture system has never given, if we take into account the history ,both past and present ,due and responsible place to woman. Her roles in the family organization, consolidation of social norms and cultural tenets have always been neglected. The orthodox myths as well as folklorical assumption, we believe in, have controlled not our. The traditional Indian society and cultural tenets have enslaved woman from time immemorial till date. The Indian society in its legends and scriptures and even in the actual life never gave space to woman so that she can have her honour, her identity and opportunity to play equal roles in all the spheres of life ,in the family and society and in building of the cultural edifice. The self of woman, her desires and aspiration have been imprisioned by imposing the traditional notions on them. She is a colonized woman by culture fetters and shackles the superiority complex of male domiance. The traditional picture Indian woman is grave and pathetic in the society. She undergoes arduous journey in her life. When born in a family she belongs to her father, after marriage she is supposed to belong to her husband and in old age, she depends on the grown up male child. She is always a dependent. As N.D.R. Chandra has pointed out, “Indian woman’s identity is one that is usually connected to and defined by the socical and cultural norms of a practicable structure”1. She has been fettered physically as well as psychologically by the conventions and limitations supported by the culture, rooted in the mind of the individual and the memory of the society and surprised by the patriarchal temperament. Indian woman has been marginalized by denying her right in family property, family affairs etc. Shashi Deshpande has up literature as medium to assert woman’s voice freely and courageously in her novels and short stories. Deshpande’s women protagonists are drawn from the middle class. They are “sensitive, intelligent, educated and career oriented. She endeavours to establish woman as an individual who is free from the traditional constraints and redefines her identiy in tune with the changed social ambience of the modern time. Shashi Deshpande has seen the subdued and slave women living in the society since ages, uncared and least respected. She makes her arise, awake and find freedom for her development and stability in all her novels. She says, “For women the situation is more complex by the fact that they have been told they are weak, they are made to believe in their weakness . And often they learn to hide their own strength, because a woman’s strength seems to weaken a man.”2 (1) SARITA AND INDU GO AGAINST TRADITION

Sarita, in THE DARK HOLDS NO TERROR, is a well educated and economically independent woman, in search of identity. Her struggle leads her to discover the hidden strength in herself as well as in other human beings. She reviews her relations with her parents and her husband. It is the story of a marriage on the verge of breakdown and of a woman who has been made acutely conscious of her gender since childhood. She undergoes’ the arduous journey into herself and learn to free herself of guilt, shame, humiliation and she is also initiated into the mystry of human existence. As Sarbjit Sandhu says, “Saru is brought up in a traditional atmosphere but the education she receives make her a changed person with a rebellious attitude towards tradition. As an educated young woman, she does not accept anything without reason.” Sarita neither surrenders to nor escapes from the problems she is confronted with but with great strength accept the challenges of her own protege. She is humble and modest, very sensitive but lacking in lacking in self confidence. As a middle class woman, she is aware of her own limitations and tries to stay within...
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