THE ROLE OF WOMEN IN SHASHI
DESHPANDE'S 'THE DARK
HOLDS NO TERRORS'
* Sangita Gandhi,
* Dev Bhoomi Institute of Technology for women, Dehradun
* Asst, Prof, Dev Bhoomi Institute of Technology for Women, Dehradun.
The status of woman all over the world, particularly in India, has been undergoing a rapid change in the recent decades. This phenomenon therefore has drawn the attention of literary artist, the artist and sociologists. The image of woman in Indo-English novel is based on the traditional ancient literature of India, which showed woman as a devoted wife or a devoted mother.
The imaginative and creative responses of the writers
are related to the changing world view and the questioning attitude thereby developed by it. The attitude to women has changed in recent times. Their writings
are based not only on observations of external behavior but also on the internal journey in the psychological realm of the feminine sensibilities. A few women novelists like Anita Desai, Shashi Deshpande make
straight journey into the psyche of their women characters that are torn on account of the tensions generated by the discord between the individual and the surroundings. They have started trying to understand
Indian women and portray her in their novels.
This is the story of Saru who feels like a
trapped animal, trapped by her own guilty feelings.
The story that unfolds is the guilty she bears for her
brother Dhruva's death, along with guilt of abandoning her parents, guilt about her mother's death which she learns about accidently, which in turn permeates
her entire life, her feelings about herself, her career as
a physician, her marriage, her feelings towards her
husband Manu and the kids. Throughout her life she
remains trapped by her need to succeed at any cost.
In one of her interviews Shashi Deshpande says,
"Relationships are not something one decides on. They
happen naturally, especially adult relationships,and
one must know what the consequences are and take
responsibility for it. It is very difficult to judge if adult love is good or bad. Human beings always crave for
love, even in death a dying man wants to hold someone's
This kind of utter loneliness a human being
faces in life stands at the core of 'The Dark Holds No
Terrors.' Saru is lonely because she has not received
any love all through her life. As a child, as a young girl,
she felt rejected by her mother, who preferred Dhruva,
her younger brother. She felt that her mother blamed
her for the death of Dhruva, who died by drowning
when he was just seven. After Dhruv's death, Saru is
accused of killing him and her mother lashes at her:
"Why you are alive, when he is dead." (TDHNT, 191)
As for her behaviour she always kept two different
measuring yards, one for the son and other for the
daughter. Here is one example to prove it- "Don't go
out in the sum. You'll get even darker." (TDHNT, 45)
The intensity of hatred is so overpowering, that her
mother disowns her and dies unforgiving. Saru is left
struggling with her life although there is no link with
her mother: "I hate her, sapping me of happiness, of
everything. She's always done it to me……., She does
it even now when she is dead" (TDHNT,109). 'The
Dark holds No Terrors' as novels of the woman are
self-quest and hopes to posit the view that women in
these novels have established themselves as autonomous beings. Free form the restrictions imposed by society, culture, nature and free from their own fears
and guilt; that women have reached a stage of understanding the fundamental truth: you have to find it for yourself.The suffering that Saru undergoes makes her
consider of writing to the young students of...