Gynocritical Ethnography of the Dalit Women: Usha Ganguli’s Rudali The paper aims to study Ganguli’s Hindi play Rudali1 as a sociological discourse of Dalit woman’s experiences in the post colonial India. In his introduction to Poisoned Bread: Translation from Modern Marathi Dalit Literature, Arjun Dangle gave a genesis of Dalit literature and discussed how it became popular among academic personages. He noted that Dalit Literature is marked by revolt and negativism, since it is marked by revolt, since it is closely associated with the hopes for freedom of a group of people who, as untouchables, are victims of social, economic, and cultural inequality. (Dangle: ix) He said that Dalit is not caste but:
“… a realization and is related to the experiences, joys, and sorrows, and struggles of those in the lowest stratum of society. It matures with the sociological point of view and is related to the principles of negativity, rebellion, and loyalty to science, thus finally ending as revolution…Caste is at the root of most Dalit literature, as its literary manifestation is based on its experiences, the horizons of Dalit literature are expanding. The reason for this, I feel, is that the world ‘Dalit’ traditionally connotes wretchedness, poverty and humiliation… Dalit means masses exploited and opposed economically, socially, culturally, in the names of religion and other factors. Dalit writer hopes that this exploited group of people (Gramsci’s subalterns) will bring about a revolution in this country… Dalit literature revolts against oppression and exploitation and demands social and economic justice.” ([parenthesis mine] 164- 265) Usha Ganguli’s Rudali, a play, was performed on 29 December 1992 at her theatre in Calcutta. It was translated from Hindi to English by Anjum Katyal. Basically it belongs to the women’s theatre movement in India. Usha Ganguli believes that the stage is a place from which women can voice their indigenous. (Mee: 2) The chief objective of Ganguli’s theatre Rangakamee is to perform Hindi plays attempting to provide “a space in some corner of his (Dalit or Subaltern) over exploited mind, to question.” Ganguli was influenced by Ibsen, Premchand and Mahadevi Verma. For her theatre must concern with social concerns specially with those who have never been occasioned to speak their rights and died of crying help for care and food. By staging such characters Ganguli facilitates dubious questions against constitutional law for social, political and national security. For her experiencing Dalitness and becoming Dalit are two different things. The first might be revolutionary and recuperating whereas the other a biological curse which can never be improvised until one determines. Ganguli’s Rudali is, therefore, different from Mahasweta Devi’s novel Rudali. Mahasweta Devi’s Rudali declenches factors and ways imitated by oppressive class people to oppress the poor, weak, and subordinated women. Devi concerns herself with class consciousness in Indian society while Ganguli manifested that oppressive class (whatever kind) cannot be exploited until the oppressed accepts the politics of exploitations. Ganguli’s Rudali stages a plot of a woman’s struggle for survival and myriad experiences of some other women ruined by exploitative group. Thus Ganguli represented two faces of Dalit women: a. challenging and struggling; and
b. submissive and reluctant.
Sanichari and Bikhni follow the first face whereas Parbatia and others who practised prostitution as business for livelihood followed the second face. It dramatizes a story of an oppressed woman due less to her class than her poverty and unsupportive members of her family. Sanichari is the central character of the play. She is active, responsible and self-dominating woman, though belonging to the poorest background. Throughout the play Ganguli dramatizes two things: a. Man cannot secure women.
b. Women whether they belong to the poor or rich are only subject...