CHAPTER – I
The word literature comes from the Latin word ‘litteratura’ which means writing formed with letters. It refers to the works with imagination and creative writing skills. It connects individual with real truths and ideas in the society. The history of Literature started long before, man learned to write. Art is the reflection of truth and beauty. Literature preserves the ideas, love, faith, duty, friendship and freedom of human beings life. Literature is the written record of man’s spirit, emotions and inspiration; it is the history and only history of human soul. Literature provides a way for writer to express their thoughts and experience.
It is in written form and these words are alive forever. Literature teaches the reader about the values of life with their stories. Literature mirrors the society and its behaviorism. It helped the civilization to overcome from the darker side of life. It is a storehouse of knowledge and wisdom. Literature allows the individual to gain new ideas and helps them to present themselves in the society. Literature is a form of art; it brings different emotions and sense of ‘spiritual’ things, it helps to know the different cultures and traditions. Literature records the expression of the inner self of human beings and message to the universe. It is not an imitation of life but a copy of the real world.
“The history of literature is the history of the human mind.” (William Hicking)
“Literature: The art of putting old words into new places.” (Edward Blanchard)
“The very essence of literature is the war between emotions and intellect, between life and death. When literature becomes too intellectual-when it to ignore the passions, the emotions- it become sterile, silly and actually without substance.” (Isaac Bashevis singer).Literature is an instrument of self-discovery. Literature is nothing but the experience of a writer which expresses, represent and communicates their feelings through writings. Literature is a group of works made up of words, it also describe sometimes spoken material. Literature is a development of writings that enhance to give entertainment, enlightment and instruction to the reader, listener, observer as well as development of the literary techniques used to communicate. Literature is important in everyday life as it connects individual with huge truths. It gives way for people to share or record their ideas, experience and knowledge through written and oral form. “Literature adds to reality, it does not simply describe it. It enriches the necessary competences that daily requires and provides; and in this respect, it irrigates the deserts that our lives have already become.” (C.S. Lewis)
“Literature overtakes history, for literature gives you more than one life. It expands experience and opens new opportunities to readers.” (Carlos Fuentes)
Indian English Literature explains the body of works written by Indian writers in the English language and whose native language could be one of the languages of India. The earliest works of Indian Literature were orally transmitted. Indian writing has been turned out to be a new form of Indian culture. English has been adopted in India as a second language of education and literary expression besides being an important medium of communication. The beginning of Indian literature in English is traced to the end of 18th c and the beginning of the 19th c by the time English education was more or less established in three major centers- Calcutta, Madras and Bombay.
The first book written by an Indian in English was Travel of Dean Mahomet, a travel narrative by Sake Dean Mahomet published in England in 1793. In early 1900s, Rabindranath Tagore began translating his works from Bengali to English. He won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1913 for his book Gitanjali. Sarojini Naidu (1879-1949) was great poetess. Her Golden Threshold (1905) and The Broken Wings (1917) are the works of great literary merit. Mulk Raj Anand, R. K. Narayanan and Raja Rao were the earliest Indian novelist writing in English, who began to write in the early thirties. Mulk Raj Anand (1905) is known for his short story, The Last Child.
His novels Coolie (1993), Untouchable (1935) reveal his concern for the downtrodden and under privileged in India. R. K. Narayan is another well-known figure in Indian English writings. His first novel is Swami and Friends (1935) and the next one is the Guide (1959). The last sign of Indian English literature is Raja Rao whose novel Kanthapura was published in 1958. Latest writers like kamala Das, Manohar Malgonkar , Anita Desai and Nayanthara Sehgal captured the spirit of an independent India, struggle to break away from the British. They support traditional Indian culture and establish a distinct identity.
In the 1980’s and 90’s India emerged as a major literary nation. Salman Rushdie’s Midnight Children won the Booker Prize. The worldwide success of Vikram Seth’s The Golden Gate made him first writer of the Indian diaspora. Bhabani Bhattacharya, Arun Joshi, Khushwant Singh, Amitav Ghosh are the predominant Indian writers. The latest Indian writer who took the world with a trouble was Arundhathi Roy.
Her novel The God of Small Things won the Booker Prize in 1997. Rohinton Mistry, Kiran Desai and Jhumpa Lahiri are the some distinguished writers of Indian origin. The mid-20th c saw the emergence of poets such as Nissim Ezekiel, Kamala Das and R. Parthasarthy who heavily influenced by literary movements. Many Indian writers have chosen English as medium of expression and left away a great impact on different forms of literature. They have been used English to reproduce the Indian culture and spirit. Raja Rao said in the preface of his novel Kanthapura:
“One has to convey in a language that is not one’s own, the spirit that is one’s own”. Indian writing in English shared tradition, cultural experiences and Indian heritage. The new generation of Indian writers in English has handled the wide range of themes and the subject matters.
The novel is defined as a long narrative in prose detailing the action of unreal people. Meredith calls it “summing of actual life”. Fielding calls it an epic in prose. It is a form of art, and gives a fuller and more varied representation of real life. The novel combines narration, description, history, philosophy, poetry, fantasy, social critics and popular view of life. The novel has various elements. The plot in a novel is the organization of incidents. There are two types of plot- the organic and the episodic.
The novel is an extended prose fiction dealing with the interaction of characters in real or imagined settings. The word novel originates from the Latin word Novella which means new. The term Novella was introduced by the Italian writer Giovanni Boccaccio to the short anecdotal prose narrative Decameron. A novel may have simple or a compound plot. Unity in structure and plot is to be observed. Characterization it is art of presenting alive and real to our imagination.
The novelist allows the characters to reveal themselves through speech and actions. There are two types of characterization the direct and the indirect. Next one is dialogue reveals passion and emotions of the characters and advances the movement of the plot. It should be natural, appropriate and dramatic. It gives vividness and actuality to the plot and the characters. Time and place it refers to whole settings of the story and material. There are various novels based on sea life, military life etc. the novelist should master its details and then present a lively picture of it. The theme of a story is the moral. The theme can be extracted from actions, characters and settings. The main aim of theme is to reveal the truth behind the story.
Point of view it means that someone is narrating the story from his or her own point of view. There are three types of objectives points of view, third person point of view and first person point of view. Then the last element is climax it is the turning point in the story that comes when characters try to solve the problems at the end of the story. It shows the way how the story gets end happy or sad. The novel is concerned with life and it should reveal itself through interpretations, character and temper of the work as whole.
There are various types of novels like sociological, historical, regional, non- fictional, picaresque and trilogy. A sociological novel deals with socio and economic conditions which are depend on characters and events. The historical novels are based on the settings and events happened in the past. This type of novel are fairly elaborated from the history events and giving importance to the narration part. The regional novel is based on the setting, speech and customs of a particular locality.
The word Anglo-Indian has a racial connotation and they are happy to merge their names with Indians and Pakistan. The Indian literature comprises with various languages like Bengali, Hindi, Guajarati, Kanada, Tamil, Telgue, Urdu etc. Indo-Anglian literature is not only different from Indian literature but it gives artistic expression to the relationships between man and society.
The appearance of the novel in India as a literary form in 19th c. England synchronized with the raise of individualism and with all consequent political and social reorientations which followed. The rise of the novel in India between 1818 and 1850 began with the emergence of prose. Feminism as a literary movement took shape in the Indian literature niggardly or elsewhere feminism as a movement was mobilized by both male and female writers in India.
The novelist such as Arundhati Roy, Anita Desai, Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, Shashi Deshpande, Mulk Raj Anand, Bharathi Mukherjee they have dealt with the issues which concern about women with grist insight and clarity. Feminism is a serious subject to analyze, comprehend and why feminity or the feminine sensibility different from masculinity or the masculine experience. Indian poses the gift of storytelling from the time of Riga- Veda and Upanishad. Kailash Chander Dutt’s A Journey of 48 Hours of the Year appeared in the Calcutta which an imaginary but successful revolt against the Britishers was projected. It is assumed that Indian novel in English has its roots in nineteenth century, realistic tradition of English novel. Bankim Chandra Chatterjee (1838-94) was the founder of the modern school of Indian fiction. He was the first Indian to write a novel I in English. He began with Raj Mohan’s Wife. Bankim Chandra’s work in Bengaliar Vishbrikasha (1873), Krishna Kantar Uil (1878), Kapal Kundala (1866) were translated into English. Ravindranath Tagore’s Chokarballi, which was written in Bengali, later translated into English. R.C. Dutt and Tagore influenced the early Indian English novelist. The period between 1930 and 1965 was a flowering period of the novel, through three pillars of Indian novelist in English Mulkraj Anand, R. K. Narayanan and Raja Rao.
It was the period of Indian fiction in English discovered the most important themes such as struggle for freedom, east -west encounter, untouchables, plight of women and landless poor etc. Indian fiction has expressed the joyous and sorrow of Indian people realism was brought out by Anand’s writing. His major characters are real and close to reality. Mulk Raj Anand introduced Humanism in Indian English fiction by the method of storytelling. His novels Untouchable (1935), coolie (1936), Village (1939) have dealt with the problems of poverty, untouchability, caste and class discrimination. R.K. Narayanan is known as eminent novelist of Indian writer born in middle class family, who exposed the comic view of life. His first novel Swami and Friend (1935), Narayan has used casual settings and created small imaginary world of Malgudi. Raja Rao brought out fiction with philosophical bearings. His first novel Kanthapura appeared in 1983. He has written and published number of short stories. The well-known novelist in Indian English fiction after this trio are Arun joshi, Kushwant singh, Bharathi Mukerjee, Chetan Bhagat, Arundathi Roy and many others. They have preferred to express the real situation of Indian poverty, agriculture, religion and caste system. Before independence Indian writers were forced to write about their nationalistic zeal. The major ideas of their writings depend upon wrestle for freedom and inhumanity of Britishers. However when India got its independent, the writers were free from limitation and they started to highlight the issues. Female ideas are seen in the famous women writers Rama Mehta, Nayanthara Sahegal and Shoba De are the best examplres. Women writers in Indian English bounce with Indian culture and its traditional values. From the ancient times India is male dominant and cultural oriented country. Indian women are covered with ignorance, doll like object, patient and gentle. But in western culture and education women are reborn again with the power of fighting against the society.
Issues like political events, partition of India and its difficult consequences. The new trend is came out after independence when the subject of changes raised like lower classes, meaninglessness of existence, identity crisis etc. The novel before independence was purely based on social, political and historical concerns; whereas the novel in post independent seems to be interested in contemporary issues. The psychological novel describes the human personality and inner conflicts. The number of novelist are Anita Desai, Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni have explore the psychological and sociological problems in the individual life. The 19th century intellectuals started to question orthodox prejudices ethics and superstitions that present in India. The impact of western learning gave a new form to Indian society which underwent a metaphor uses. The rebirth of Indian classical learning, the introduction of European arts and science gave rise to an unpredictable awakening in India.
In India middle class intellectuals began to emerge with the feudal society, giving rise to intense nationalism during the Indian struggled to articulate their feelings and passionate thoughts through their writings. Salman Rushdie fascinated the Indian intellectual with remarkable understanding of Indian history through languages this further paved the way to the Indian with tradition, realities and myth and heritage in the most eloquent way. Amitav Gosh is known as post-colonial Indian writer who turn the realities to visualize a new Indian with an air of Victorian aristocracy. Sir Aurobindo the novelist was salute as a receipt and his novels were translated into many languages. Indian English novels were developed as subaltern awareness as a response to break away from the colonial literature.
The post-colonial writers started to apply the techniques of mixed languages. From the post-colonial era Indian English literature developed into the contemporary and the postmodern era.In the initial days the stories and concepts were stepped in myths. History of English literature is the recent origin. It has been growing slowly and steadily in the 20th century. In the last three decade of 20th century there was awakening of creative writers in India; rightly encouraged by national and international awards. Early Indian writers used simple words to convey their experiences. Unlike 1930’s and 1950’s they have marked the significant growth of Indian novel in English during third period, some promising Indian novelist has emerged on a literary scene. The novels of this period delineated private tension self-alienation and loneliness.
Anita Desai describes the disturbed life of middle class people. Sashi Desh Pandey described the persona domestic life of women. Arun Joshi focused on different faces of displacement in his novels like the Foreigner (1968), The Strange Case of Billi Biswas (1971). Hatter is considered as a first Indian English novel, a Stream of Consciousness technique is used. It contained the sheets of magical realism and portrait the hybridity between human the experiences. To most important and remarkable events which happened at the dawn of 21st century are Jhumpa Lahiri was awarded by Pulitzar Prize for her work Interpreter of Melodies in 2000 and V. S. Naipaul was honored with Noble Prize in 2001. Indian novelists has used the language which not their own but they have used the English language to spread message. The English language has provided them an opportunity to reach all over the world and to make sure that they do not remain in their own region, people and country.
The progress of nation is measured on the basis of women’s status. The condition of women of any nation is a mirror to its civilization. If a woman of nation enjoys all rights without any domination then it is symbol which shows the development of nation has reached the level of maturity and a sense of responsibility. India is bounded with patriarchal society where woman doesn’t have their own individuality but they are related to man. Women never get their freedom but they are able subordinate to man.
The condition of woman has been inferior as compare to male society. The truth is ignored that she has contributed for the betterment of family, society and country. Women are always compared to the slaves but in modern times women are achieved a lot in every sector compared to men infarct they are better than men.
Women are not away from writing section and they have contributed a lot to Indian English writings. Indian women novelist too shines luminous along with their male parallel. Women are very good in story narration. The stories told by mother and grandmother were transformed into prose, poetry, drama and novel. The last few decades shown tremendous development in Indian women writing in English. Indian women writer have their own group and they prefer to write about the child marriage, protest against polygamy system and widowhood in the earliest day.
A woman has been the focus of many literary works down the centuries. Indian writing in English has also started to acknowledge the status of women in male dominant society. The concept of Indian womanhood has changed and undergone drastic and dramatic view from era to era. Indian English fiction divided into two broad categories – the pre- and post- independence group of writers.
Before independence the Indian novel in English was in hand of male dominant society. The women novelist in first generation is showed as traditional and claim women. Toru Dutt (1856 to 1877) has dealt with different problems of women like Sita Savitri and Draupathy. Raj Lakshmi Debi has described the condition of women in her two novels the Hindu Wife and The Enchanted Fruit (1876). P.D. Ram Bhai Saraswati (1858 to 1922). She has written a book Caste Indian (Hindu women). She described her views about the marriage system and commented on how women remain satisfied in their relationship with husband and how they were happy to be in the bondage. Rabindranath Tagore’s the elder sister Swarna Kumara Goshal (1856 to 1932) was a poet, novelist, playwright, story writer and a journalist. The Fatal Garland (1910), The Unfinished Song (1913) and Indian Love Story (1910) are the major works of her. Most of the works of her proved to be torch bearer in the tradition of women writing in Bengal and highlight the quality of women’s writing. In early novels women are showed as typical traditional Indian women. These women hold their concern with the feminine qualities of faithfulness, sincerity and love. Mostly all the women writers wrote about the contemporary social situation.
They have written what they have suffered and their real aim was to explode the real status of women in Indian society. Krupabai Sathinanadan wrote during 1862 to1894, she was one of the few Indian women writers to write in English language. She began to write when she came to know that she had few days to live. A story of Hindu Wife was first published in the Madras Christian College magazine in 1894. The next prominent figure is Swarna Kumara Debi, the elder sister of Tagore who was married at the age of 13. She writes poetry and fiction. Her first novel was published on 1876. She has written 25 books in Bengali, which contains plays, short stories and novels.
China Mukul (1879) and Fular-Mala were translated into in English in1910. She was awarded the by Gold Medal by university of Calcutta. Sorabji was well known first women blister from India. Her famous works Love and Life Behind the Parda (1902). This work is about the quarrels of women in the domestic quarters. During the period 1915 to 1950 remarkable women writers appeared on Indian English literature. Some of the significant writers in the post-independence are Anita Desai, Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, Shashi Desh Pandey, Shoba De,Arundathi Roy and others. Kamala Markandya showed women in a traditional outlook. Santha Ramarao has believed in the superiority of Indian culture. Nayanthara Sahgal highlighted the problems of women in marriages. Raji Narasiman presented liberated women characters in her works. In her works women characters are educated and lead a life with full of freedom.
Sarojini Naidu is considered to be one of the first women writers in India. Anita Desai to Arundhati Roy extends the frontiers of feminine creativity. Anita Desai is a great novelist and different from others. she has presented psychological exploitation of women characters. Her protagonists are mainly suffers from loneliness and sensitive. Shashi Desh Pandey focused on the problems and issues of contemporary middle class women. Her protagonists are intelligent, carrier oriented. Bharathi Mukerjee and Indian American emigrant writer she wrote about her experiences in India as well as in America. Her protagonists are victims of racism, sexism and other forms of social evil. Geeta Hariharan novels like The Thousand Faces of Night (1992) won the prestigious common wealth award. She also published collections of short stories. Her works are mostly shows the battle between women in their relationship with man and society. Uma Vasudev and Nayanthara Sahegal they dealt with middle class married women’s identity crisis in the contemporary male dominated society.
Nayanthar Sahegal is one of the few Indian brighter who immediately caught the attention of the world. She belongs to prominent political families of India. Hence, most of her character belongs to the wealthy and upper class Indian society. The day in shadow 1971 is the outstanding novel by Sehgal. Sehgal has expressed deep nationalistic feeling in her works. Anita Desai is a notable literary figure in Indian women writing in English. According to Anita writing is a process of exploration of language. She has published her first novel Cry the Peacock in 1963. Followed by this she has published various novels like Fasting Feasting (1999), Journey to Ithaca (1995),the Zig-Zag Way(2004). Fire on a Mountain is about three women and their complex experiences in life. Desai examined the nature of pilgrimage to India. Fasting Feasting shows the opposite of American and Indian culture as well as behavior of male and female. She is a remarkable for sensitive portrayal of inner life of female character.
Her fictions moves the around the themes like women operation, quotes for identity, family relationships, the breakdown of traditions and social biases. Bharathi Mukerjee focused on migration, status of new immigrants, feeling of alienation. She herself experienced has an immigrant and struggled for identity in America which leads her to write about issues of immigrants. Mukerjee’s own experiences racism in Canada where she ill-treated by a professor. The tenant reflexes her views on Indian immigrant women studying in America and her experiences. The middle man and stories 1988 is a collection of short stories which expose the east and west immigrant experiences in America. Shashi Desh Pandey’s novels are women oriented she represented real India, women deprived of love, understanding are the center of works. She explained how the traditional Indian biased against women. A liberated woman is a novel which describes about caste system and its restrictions.
Her fifth novel, That Long Silence 1998 reveals the hollowness of modern Indian life. The God of Small Things (1992) is the best novel written by Arundathi Roy. This novel won the Booker prize. The novel mainly captures the themes of life such as caste system, color discrimination, gender domination. Jumpa Lahiri is an American author and her novels are based on Indian immigrants to America who are taunt between two worlds, two cultural values. She has preferred to write about the struggles, immigrants and portrayal of women. Majority of Indian women writers describe the trauma and troubles of life of Indian women. The women portraits by them are real flush and blood. The Indian women do not talk about cultural past, tradition and custom whereas male writers have written about the problems of individual, social and political.
Whereas women writers preferred to write about women oppression, issues of power and injustice done to them. Indian women novelist focused on the issues of women and attempts to project the realistic picture of life. They have projected the dilemma which modern Indian women faces in their everyday life. The concepts of immigration are particularly emerged in second half of 20th century. There are various reasons for migration.
The effects of immigration are harsh upon the immigrants then the society. Immigration is the important literature feminism is an approach economy, social, political and cultural rights for women in the society. It believes that women should be treated equally and they should enjoy their rights without any discrimination. Focused on men and women should be treated equal in terms like job, education, right to vote, freedom and identity. Feminism pointed out various obstacles faced by women in the society like domestic violence, inequality in gender and aimed to abolish the patriarchy system from its root. Through literature feminism core ideas are expressed and throw lights on the suffering of women.
“You educate a man; you educate a man. You educate a woman; you educate the generation.”(Brigham Young).
The term “feminism” originated from the French word “feminisme” coined by the utopian socialist Charles Fourier, and it was used in English in the 1890s for women’s freedom. It has many varieties, feminist geography, feminist history and feminist literary criticism. They changed the aspects of western society. Feminism involves in many issues like social freedom, economic independent, work place rights, education, gender stereo type, discrimination and sexism etc. feminists divided the feminism in to three waves they are first wave feminism, second way feminism and third wave feminism. They started in mid-19th century, which begun from male European colonist.
Who spoke against the social evils of Sathi, to allow widow remarriage, to forbid child marriage, to reduce illiteracy, property rights through the legal path. In the late 19th century, a nationalist movement started in India.
First wave feminism started in 19th too early 20th century which focused on equal rights for women based on property, opposition to unwanted marriage for women. At the end of 19th century the first wave feminism more active on gaining political power, women’s sexual reproductive and economic rights. In 1918 the representation of the people act was passed, to gain to right to vote all over the world. Finally women get the power of right to vote by the constitution at the end of 1999. Feminist like Voltaraine De Cleyere and Margaret Sanger were actively started camping for women’s rights and freedom.
The second wave feminism was started in early 1960s and lasting through the late 1980s. It was continuation of first wave feminism. This movement encouraged the women to understand the importance of their individuality and fight against gender-biased structure. It points out the issues of inequality and wanted to put full stop towards the gender discrimination in society. Education should be given to women equally.
The third wave feminism was started in the mid-1990s. It was response to the failure of the second wave feminism. It focused on upper class white women and lower class women sufferings in the society. It also focused on micro politics and it challenges the second wave feminism. It differentiates wave is good for women and what is not.
Feminist theory is the extension of feminism it aims to understand the gender inequality and its role in the society; it empowered a women importance through their rights and power. Themes explored in the feminism like discrimination, oppression and patriarch. It also point out the women’s role and their life experience. Feminist theory analyzed the condition of women and their sufferings through writings. Feminist expressed their anger and pain as they faced in the society. Feminism has many forms like liberal, radical, black, social, Marxist, ecofeminism, post-modern and post- structural and post-colonial feminism. Key terms in feminism are patriarchy, objectification, discrimination, lack of education, violence against women.
Freedom means a lot for Indian women for centuries of male-domination society. Indian woman have faced lots of problem like domination, lack of identity, and loneliness. Patriarchy based society has forced the Indian women to be suppressed in every corner of life. Chitra Banerjee’s novels are totally based on women’s issues and their obstacles. She has beautifully portrayed the modern women, educated and career- oriented middle class married women who are sensitive to the changing times and situation. Indian English novels are a major source for a systematic study of culture and their effects on women’s life.
Feminism in English literature explores the history of women’s sufferings and pain. Literary context provides lots of information about the domination of women. Many writers first men started to write and then slowly feminist emerged to write their own life story to express their feelings. Writings provide a great peace for feminist writers to express their anger towards the society. Many writers emerged as the development of feminism in all over the world. Feminism occupied a wide place in literature. Feminism started in India 1850-1915 as first phase feminism. It aims to abolish sati practice. The second phase started in (1915-1947) they wanted to involve women in the independent movement. Gandhi encouraged women to participate. The third phase stared in 1947, post-independence focused on fair treatment of women after marriage. Indian feminist emerged in India writing in English. They fight for individuality, political rights, social freedom, end to domestic violence’s, discrimination. Many feminist, Medha Patkar, Madhu Kishwar and Brindha Karat, struggle for women rights. Indian feminist writers totally against the patriarchal system practiced in the society.
Kamini Roy was the first woman feminist she is a Bengali writer known for her work Nirmala. Ishmat Chugaitan an Urdu writer in India is known for her work Lihaaf. Kamala das, the best famous Indian female writer. Her poems and fiction reveal the sorrows of women. Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni a feminist writer is known for her work palace of illusions. Lalitambika Anthrajanam a Malayalam writer wrote Angnisakshi.
We all fight over what the label ‘feminism’ means but for me about empowerment. It’s not about being more powerful than men- it’s about having equal rights with protection, support, justice. It’s about very basic things. It’s not a badge like a fashion item. (Annie Lennox). Many writers all over the world expressed their views on feminism theory. Mary Wollstonecraft has written her work vindication of the rights of women in 1742. She fights against the traditional roles of women and society fail to educate them. The feminie mystique published in 1963 by Betty Friedan points out women is meant for childbearing and homemade. Katha Pollitt the author of reasonable creatures shows women are separate sex and they should enjoy their individuality. Simon de Beauvoir, a great French writer who published the second sex in 1949, analyses the oppression of women and social construction. Virginia Woolf in her work A Room of One’s own 1929 examined.
It is a modern movement expressing protest against the dominance of men and the marginalization of women. It demands the promotion of women’s rights and their interest to ask question on sexual harassment, financial and political sectors of life. Male writers started the movement and later on women joined with it. Many great writers have reflected the immigrant experience through their literary. Writers have contributed to the feminist movement through their writings Margaret at wood contributed to the movement and have been internationally acclaimed novelist. The prominent Indian feminist are occupied a prestigious position in Indian English fiction. Female writers protested against the cruelty faced by women in male dominant society.
The revolt against mechanical life, mismatched marriages and problems of society. The protagonist of their novels is troubled and suppressed women of typical Indian society. Many postmodern Indian writers have dealt with the theme of immigrant feminine experience from its different perspectives. A group of female writers of Indian origin involves themselves in to issues like and they tried to explore the troubled lives of immigrant women in different parts of the world. In 1970s the writers were expressed the cruel injustice done to the women in male dominant society. In 21st century women’s writers came out and fight for inequality. The migrated people have given worth to hybrid culture.
This type of culture is known as biological home and that their newly accepted home. The writers who by birth are Indian but living out of the India are called as immigrant writers. They have taken the theme of immigration in their writings and have a standpoint. They themselves have the experience of being immigrant. The Indian writers know the both culture that is Indian and newly adopted one, along with that they have highlighted the pathetic condition of women in both the culture. Immigrant writers tried to express their feelings and sufferings what they have faced as immigrants.
Indian immigrants writers like Anita Desai, Bharathi Mukherjee, Arundhati Roy, Chitra Banerjee and many other who continuously dealt with the theme of immigration. Bharathi Mukherjee has expressed the status of immigrants in America. The works like jasmine and darkness which encounter with Canadian racism. The Indian writers like Jumpha Lahiri’s short stories presented the picture of harsh journey of becoming American. She told that America as a land of illusion. Her famous work interpreter of maladies 1999 the characters in the novel which points out the problem of dual identity, American in clothing, and body language but Indian by heart.
Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, a Bengali woman writer, as she belongs to post- independence group of Indian writers who have been writing in English. She proved herself as a distinct, talented and extraordinary south Asian woman writer. She is the one of the writer who spent much of time of life in outside the India. Some parts of her writing autobiographical dealt with her personal experiences in India and America. chitra’s writing mostly explores the themes of immigrant women from the feminine point of view.
Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni was born in Calcutta on 29th July 1956. She brought up in new Alipore in Calcutta, and spent the nineteen years of her life in India. Chitra’s father Rajenra kumar Banerjee was an accountant by profession and her mother Tahini Banerjee was a schoolteacher. Chitra was one of the girl children among four children. She was second girl child and other are brothers were partha, dhruva and surya. She studied at Loreto house, a convent school run by Irish nuns. She got her bachelor’s degree in English from Presidency College, university of Calcutta in 1976 and in the same year she moved to America. She earned her master degree in English from the wright state university in Dayton Ohio in the year1978, she moved at the age of nineteen to pursue her higher education. She lived in Chiacgo and Ohio before she settled in Sunnydale, California in 1979. She received Ph.D in English from the University of California. In 1984 Divakaruni tried different jobs to pay for her education.
Divakaruni is interested in the issues involving women’s problem faced by them through society. she works with Afghani women refugees and she became the founder member and president of the organization. This organization helps south Asian women facing domestic violence, emotional abuse and cultural alienation. When she left the India she started to write about female sufferings. Her writings blend together myth, mystry and to present the reality of life. She was a well-known port before became a novelist. She has written a lot of poem based on variety of themes. She has four volumes of poetry. Leaving Yuba City 1997, Dark Like River 1987, The Reason for Nasturtiums 1990 and Black Candle 1991. The main area of interest remains the immigrant women. Chitra has published more 50 magazines which include Atlantic monthly and New Yorker. Divakaruni was a great port before a novelist and she has won many awards for her writings national and international level.
Her writing has been containing several Asian American anthologies they are best American short stories and the push chart price anthology. Divakarni’s works have been translated in to 11 languages. Her collection of short stories, arranged marriage won American book award 1996, bay area book reviewer’s award and the PEN Josephine miles award for fiction. The mysterious of spices was on several best book lists, it also included in 100 best book of 20th century. The conch bearer was included in best book 2003 by publisher weekly. The life of strangers was included in O’HENRY prize stories. The wine of desire was included in best books of 2012 by Los angle times and San Francisco chronicle. Mrs. Dutta writes a letter was included in best American short stories in 1999. Black candle she received honorable mention, Patterson poetry prize 1992. She also received California arts council award in 1998, C.Y.Lee creative writing award (1995), Helen Ginsberg poetry prize 1994. Santa Claire arts council award California 1994, Enters Editor’s choice award by cream city review 1990.
Cultural jewel award by Indian culture center Houston 2009, Gerbode foundation award California 1992, international hose alumina of the year award by university of California 2008, south Asian literary association distinguished author award 2007. Divakarni has judged many prestigious awards such as national book award and the PEN Faulkner award. The mistress of spices and sister of my art these two books of her adopted in to movies. Divakarni has been described as an award winning author who has dealt with the troubled lives of immigrant women.
She has projected in her work about hollowness of immigrant dream, the pain, the suffering and the horror lives faced by the immigrant women. Divakaruni’s fiction or poetry, reader continuously moves between socio cultural environments and to know several aspects of the lives of immigrant women. Divakaruni’s pictures the restricted existence of women in the society. She always shows that there is always a ray of hope in life. Living Yuba City appeared in 1997 it includes new poem as well as old one from dark like river. The poems are about women’s from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. These poems theme are based on women problem, family life, exile, alienation, ethnicity, domesticity of love and romance. Living Yuba City covers the idea of author’s adventure of going to convent school in India by iris nuns and history of Indian immigrants in America.
Through her writings shows how boundaries could destroy and how different art forms are not dependent entities but they can influence and inspire each other. Divakaruni’s poems collections are dealt with the experiences of immigrant women and their struggle for identity. Divakaruni’s first collection of short stories arranged marriage 1995 focused on Indian immigrant women and how they caught between two worlds. The characters are liberated and trapped by the cultural changes as well as struggled to find their identities. These stories explore the crossed cultural identities of women. The parents in India generally arrange marriages for their children. It also elaborated migration has broadened the physique Indian immigrants women. The second generation of Indian immigrant easily accepts the free and easy American culture where as their parents who have migrated as adults they find difficult to accept the American culture.
Indian institution of arranged marriage various aspects analyzed by Divakaruni. The stories capture the experience of Indian immigrant women mostly from professional classes and working classes. Divakaruni says that it is outcome of her imagination and experience which deals with domestic violence, crime, racism, economic, disparity, abortion and divorce. Devkarni has created contradictory as well as connected fictional worlds. In Cloths narrator Susmitha husband dies and she has to take a decision whether to stay in America or to go back to India. The common theme runs through the stories in India immigrant women struggling to adjust and to fight to find their identity in society. Divakaruni’s first novel the mistress of species 1997 is written with mixture of mystery and reality. The protagonist Tilo (thilothama) is the important female character the mistress of species.
Tilo got the super natural power through which she helps people to overcome their difficulties. Tilo reaches the island of species which she calls her destiny. In that island she meets first-mother who teaches her about the power of species and rules for mistress. Then Tilo become heads for Oakland, then she went to California where she setup a short to sell the species she was well knowledge about the elements used for curries and kurumas. She helps her customer to overcome all their difficulties of life. The chapters of the novel are titled on the species name such as turmeric, fenugreek etc. these are the ingredients used by Indian cooking commonly. Ingredients have special powers and Tilo practices her magical power using them. The visitors of her shop are local ingredient community and that include abused wife, inexperienced taxi driver, old man, young women etc.
Tilo gives wisdom to each of them and the correct spices to clear the evil. Her life takes a turn one day when a man on motor cycle crushes the outside her store. When Tilo saw his injuries as well as tries to ignore the mutual attraction. That young man touches her one day her life changes and they began to fall in love. This man belongs to American architect. Tilo has to choose either to serve her own people by magical power or to choose the way of her own happiness. She hangs between social responsibilities and personnel happiness, which is the dominant theme of the novel.
Then Sister of My Heart (1999), It is written in realistic mode. This novel explains the lives of two girls Sudha and Anju, whose lives have been changed after her marriage. They apart from each other Anju goes to California with her husband while Sudha stays in India. Sudha and Anju is good friends and cousins father of both the girls died mysteriously on the same day when the girls are born. These two girls belong to Chatterjee family and grow in to womanhood. Anju and sudha are bonded closely together. Both the sisters are trained to be good daughter and wives. Marriages of both the girls are arranged due to some reasons. Sudha marriage is arranged in hurry as she so beautiful and her mother does not want to take any risk. In Anju’s case illness of her mother forced her to marry. The novel focuses on dominance of male in Indian society where women are always treated inferior.
The novel is set in Calcutta and projects the marginalized status In Indian society. The unknown errors of our lives 2001 are a one of the short stories which are set up in India and America. It contains nine stories and nine female characters, they all caught between the tradition and beliefs of biological and adopted home. It is about lack of communication, unarticulated love and remedative memories. This is an extraordinary collection of short stories that draw the pain, loss and alienation of the immigrant experience.
The novel the vine of desire published in the year 2002. It is the second part of the novel sister of my heart. In the vine of desire novel two closed cousin, Anju and Sudha they came together in America in a free culture which is totally opposite to the Indian culture where women are always restricted, deprived and marginalized. Both the girls have a deep-rooted love between them which provides them a strong support. That confidence makes them survive specially Sudha to make her life for herself and for her daughter. These two women have different relationships with men and women within and outside the immigrant Indian community. The bond between these women is really disturbed when they came to know the deep passionate feelings Anju’s husband has for Sudha. Sudha always tries to find her identity and loneliness. At last she admits herself to Sunil’s ill desires, but flees from their apartment to avoid more disaster. Anju also faces the problem of loneliness but she tries to engage herself in creative work.
Neela victory song 2002 is first children book written by Divakaruni . This book surrounded by the main character Neela twelve year old girl and she has the interest in Indian freedom movement. The main aim of the novel is to shoe the struggle for Indian independence and hoe a small girl see that in her open point of view. Neela is afraid of arranged marriage set up by their parents. It also raises the question of being a girl they have to face lots of problem like lack of education and marriages. The Corch Bearer is second children book published in 2003 it is full of action, adventure and magic. Anand is a twelve year old boy given a conch shells that possess magical power. Anand faces the good and evil parts within himself during the journey.
Queen of dreams 2004 the sixth novel of Divakaruni that also contain magic elements. Mrs. Gupta’s daughter Rakhi is a young artist and divorced mother who living in Berkley. In California .Her mother has the ability of foresee the dream and guide the people thought their fates. Sometimes Rakhi feels isolated from her mother’s past in India and the dream world she inhabits .Rakhi wanted to know about the other side of her existence. Rakhi and other immigrant faced lots of problem. Racism, hate –crime and ugly violence are forced on then again and again they are dominated by their colour of skin. Effected by horrible events Rakhi got the gifted of new love and understanding for her family. The writer has tried to take the reader into immigrant culture and their miserable state. She forces the reader to see racism through the point of a immigrants.
The novel the Palace of Illusion 2006 it narrates the great Indian epic Mahabharata which is historical, mythical and magical. Through the female character Panchali author has given the rare feminine interpretation of the epic. Author tries to uncover the hidden female emotions which is equally interesting one. Shadowland 2009, one amazing thing 2010 and oleander girl 2013 it is the latest novel written by Divakaruni. It explores the problem of identity and culture. Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni became one of the best leading writers of Indian heritage writing in English. Though she born in India but she settled in America and has been telling the stories of Indian immigrant women trying to be accommodated and assimilated in the free socio cultural environment of India. Women are portrayed by her as exploited, subjected and dominant in male society.
These women have experienced the sufferings if they cross the magical circle drawn around them by their home culture. Women are struggled to create their own identity out of their immigrant existence, they fight against society, class, conflicts, gender discrimination and the problem of female feticide, financial issues like dowry system have been explode. Her writing is mingled with her knowledge about India and her experience as an immigrant. She knows both the culture well which find its expression in her literary works. She often compares culture by putting her female characters into two different cultures. Her protagonist is deeply from Indian culture though they struggle for freedom and independence. In her literary works she explores the nature and scope of trauma of immigrant women’s life. She proved to be one of the important Indian women novelist writing on women issues from the perspectives of immigrants. In her most of the works she attempts to explore how either the individuals or society exploiting women in modern times, she has changed the concept of stereotypes thinking. She wants her women’s to project themselves as human beings and not as object but they are equal to men.
CROSS CULTURE EXPERIENCE OF IMMIGRANT WOMEN IN SELECT
IN SELECT NOVEL OF CHITRA BANERJEE DIVAKARUNI
India is a very big country which is known for its unity along with its formation of culture. From the ancient time Indian culture are European, materialism and indifference shown in their culture. Culture plays an important role in every part of the world and it is difficult to maintain the natural harmony of spirit, mind and body which is based on Indian culture. Culture should guide the right path to the people and it should bring out the harmony in which civilization constructed. A civilization is always in search of materialistic like western culture as compared to the culture of India. Indian culture and society system is built by three important terms like dharma, conscious morality and reality. Three is a lot of culture exchange between west and east and it has vast difference in them. Culture varies from according to their tradition, custom and values. American and Indian culture has their own formation and there is lot of difference in them. American culture have no ancient culture as compare to the Indian culture, they have followed from long time. American culture is bounded by different values and tradition.
Dr. S. Radhakrishnan had tried to construct a bridge between eastern and western through terms in them. He only introduced western idealism in Indian philosophy and the first scholar who spoke about it in Indian literature. He became the representatives of Hinduism and has been the influential in shaping the west’s understanding of Hinduism, India and the east. Next important figure is Swami Vivekananda who brought out the cultural renaissance in the nineteenth century in India. In his trip and travels he spoke about religious proved a landmark in Indian cultural society but the way he explained about the spiritual and philosophical ideas won the western world. Later in 1992 the foundation of Indian culture, was examined by Sri Aurobindo about the Indian civilization and culture. There are many differences in eastern and western culture from the stem root eastern culture is based on their tradition and religion.
In India spirituality has been the essence of one’s life in India. Eastern people believes Hinduism that is the theory of karma and rebirth. The Hindus people practices are closely connected with the scientific principles on health and hygiene. Hindu practices yoga, meditation, and pranayama for betterment of mind, soul and body. The difference between east and west culture are depend on marriage, religion and social interaction. The west is rational, logical idealistic where India is mystical and religious. The word culture is taken from the French word culture which means cultivate, to till, to grow. Culture is a process of growth through education, discipline, and training. Western and Indian culture are totally contrast in them. Indian culture has been traces the idea of displacement identity and loneliness. Indian novels are always tried to bring out sufferings and reality in their open point of view. Kamala the novel written in 1894 this novel explored the cultural clashes suffered by Indian women with the domination of western culture. The comparison between the two cultures is prominent themes in the Indian writings. Gita Hariharan’s novel the Thousand Faces of Night is a work which shows the cultural roots and its difference. In 1977 inside the Haveli pictures the issues of Indian culture and particularly domination of women in the educated society.
The writing in Indian diaspora has point out the massive migration of people of their own violation from India to other country like Canada, America, Europe and Australia. The Indian diaspora writers are highly educated and they have stayed away from the homeland and express their feelings through writings. The border crossing has given new dimensions for migrated people and recreated new representation of their past many south Asian diasporic writers like Meena Alexander, Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni are part of the American literary traditions. Chitra Banerjee is Indian American writer with her roots in Bengali, India. She has analyses the two different corners of the world from girl perspectives. She attempts to bring out the elements of myth, magic and culture differences. The east- west confrontation between the tradition and modernity is the impulse behind the works of migrated writers.
Her characters are focused the balance the two worlds particularly on Indian immigrants struggle truth life in America, the stories are often told by female narrators from the first person point of view. Divakaruni becomes more aware to shoe the differences in culture. Divakaruni excellently point out the life between the two cultures and how women become the victim of the society. She has written sixteen novels and they are totally based on cultural differences and migration issues. The mistress of spices is the novel focused on immigrant women’s journey from past to future in America. Her novel highlights immigrants who face the cultural domination and they are stich to their culture beliefs. The novel depicts the issues of Divakaruni’s own experience. The chapters in the novel are surrounded by the protogonist Tilo. It analyses the cross culture studies and tradition done on the basis of multiuculturism, culture, and post-conialism. Major themes of the novels are the struggled faced by immigrants, politically, socially and culturally. But they try to come out with the new existence. This novel is full of magical realism. The chapters are titled as ingredients name like fenugreek, fennel, etc. The novel presents the dilemma neglecting the cultural and biological identity with the drama of migration and self-changes in the adopted homeland, America. The concept of the novel the mistress of spices shows how women suffered in the society in the name culture, colour and domination. She has tried to dissolve the division between the realistic world of twentieth century of America and the myth, magic predominant India. The protagonist named Tilo novel The Mistress of spices by Divakaruni, one who control by the store of spices. The spices in the novel are shown as holding the power of the magic even the protagonist had the spices from America but the power of spices are from the birth land that is India. It is tale of oppression that is associated with the theme of Indian women suffered in America.
“hold magic, even the everyday American spices you toss unthinking into your cooking pot. You doubt? Ah. You have forgotten the old secrets your mother’s knew.”(M.S. 3)
The above lines are explained the reality of Indians and the unique quality of the protagonist that she belong to the Indian. The history of India is powerful and wise. Tilo the character is born in India into silence but they can speak. As she born in India her birth consider as one of the bitter experience. It shows that the originals power of spices is from the Indian spices. Tilo and her spices are at center of interaction between races and culture. She belongs to small village of India.
“queen ,leading pirates to fame and glory , so that bards sang their fearless exploits.”(M.S. 19)
At the small age she started to predict the dangers and then she was considered as goddess and people started to praise her. Her fames were spread everywhere. When she was young, pirates came and murdered her family but they took her along with them. At last she killed the pirates and became a powerful. “Always I have loved them ”.(21). This line explains that she was loved by snake and she was called as snake maiden. But Tilo was warned by the snake to be careful in the island. “She will lose everything, foolish insight voice and name. Perhaps even self.”(25)
Tilo was more fascinated towards the island of spice and she was eagerly wanted to go there but snake warned her not to go. According to Hindu myth snakes are worshipped as Nagas. But Tilo was lost herself as argued by dangle. In Indian culture snake are worshipped as god and prayed sincerely. Thus the writer has tiered to bring the concept of Hinduism in the novel. Chitra has given the importance to the Indian values and tradition as she belongs to India.” Wise woman shaman herb-healer, come to make things right.”(28). Through this line the novelist has introduced the second character that is first mother whom Tilo meets in the islands which signifier the cultural values. That old lady has trained her to known the spices will after Tilo leans the she was sent to the island that is Oakland, California. All the spices have some healing power in them. . That first mother has trained her and now she is independent to run the shop. Here novelist has highlighted the point that women in India or in America devoid of any female influence which is typically an Indian culture. “Daksha to whom no one listens so she forgotten how to say.”(80)
The above lines say that the novelist has tried it cut of the trans-cultures that Indian stereotypes hold and wanted to show the present reader about the changes in the society. In the family in Indian mother in law and husband are not supposed to work. Daksha here means a black pepper to be boiled and drunk who is used to loosen the throat so that women can learn to say the word no but it is very difficult for them to say no. women in India are meant to be for slaves in family as well as in society.
“The mother calls out and the children come running from homework, chairs are pulled, the streaming dishes brought in. Rice, Rajme, Karela sabji. Kheer.”(63).
Through these lines it was heighted that Indian foods are famous and lots of spices are present. Indian spices and foods are well- known all over the world. In India food habits cannot easily changed. The foods like rice, rajma, kheer they are very famous dishes in India. The writer has tied to give a very strong touch to the inhuman spices in America. In India all the foods ingredients are used as medicine in Ayurveda to cure the disease. She gas brought out the usage of spices in food as well as luck spices. In America we cannot find this entire ingredient as we find in India. She has appreciates the spices used in India and brought out its essence.
“Mistress who was, when you accepted our punishment in your heart without battling it, that was enough. Having readied your mind to suffer, you did not need to undergo that suffering in body also.”(305)
When Tilo was fall in love with at American guy she was broken the rule which was bounded her not to go away from the spices but she did it. Tilo leaves for to meet the raven but at the distance she stopped and think about it and she decided to go back to help the poor people through her magical power. The question she thinks about that is why spices had not punished her from the mistake. Tilo was very broken from her heart and not wanted to disobey the spices.
” hears the steps , fall leaves breaking under boots, a sound like crushed glass”.(169)
The protagonist Tilo has faced the colour domination in her working area. Her friend Mohan was brutally attacked by two young white men in one evening. Here the novelist heighted the domination of colour in other country. Indian is always dominated by white people in other country. Chitra turned to show there are lots of differences in the two cultures. In India people are less dominated as compare to other country. America Indian settlers have to face the problem of racism.
“son of bitch Indian, should stayed in your country”.(170).
These lines explore the colour discrimination in America. Mohan belong to India where he was working as a taxi driver in the America. He was lived in America for long back as immigrant. He has faced a lot of problems to live in America. Here author describes about the worst experience faced by Indian in America.
“white washed walls empty except two pictures hanging where his eyes would first fall on waking. A passage from the Koran in a lush curved Urdu script, and a silver Lamborghini.” (229).
Through above lines Tilo is present to take Haroun to his apartment. Hameeda nurses haroun to back to health, it becomes support to fast recovery for him. In America the male and female are freely put in the traditional values under the stress of culture. The author pointed out the encounter between east and west culture as east chosen for birth and America as to live.
“We are all here, what for you want to grow old so far from your own flesh and blood… I crossed the kalapani and came to this America.” (85).
The culture of America made the person to adapt that situation as it gives full of freedom to people. Geeta the other female character never understand how to adapt the Indian style in American country like dress, work, how to cut hair etc. Her grandfather always shouted at her to stop follow American life style as they belong to India. When he went to meet Tilo she tried to convince him that even in India women are facing the same problem. But Geeta’s grandfather like those people who stop follow this culture. Indian people went to abroad settle but they preserve their culture.
“Geeta whose name means sweet song, keep your patience your humors your zest for life… Geeta who is India and America all mixed together into a new melody, be forgiving.”(87).
This line explains about the sufferings of children in aboard country. It is natural to have a conflict between the parents and children. Chlildren like Geeta ready to accept the culture but her gads father not allowed to follow the western culture as Indian culture is good as compared to the American culture. It spoils the life of Indian settlers by giving those lots of freedom. Her grandfather wanted Geeta to away from the American lifestyle. It shows the sufferings of women and their domination in society in the name of culture.
” jagjit with his thin, frightened wrists who has trobled in school because he knows only Punjabi still…jagjit who has learned his first English word. Idiot. Idiot. Idiot.”(38).
In this novel there is a lot of terms and subject which depends on women and they are not able to come out from that. Tilo watches him and thinking how a meaning of name creates a conflict and it becomes a hope for the future. It shows the lot of differences in the society we can say that a generation gap. Tilo was shocked by this name of a female can create a problem.
“Who will take you by the hand, which will run with you and laugh with you and say see this America, it’s not so bad.”(40).
This lines point out the generation gap between the three people who are living in America as middle class they have been settled as they lost their country. Indian and American people have language barriers for Indian immigrants they have to face lots of multiple tasks. Sometime Indian people never speak as they know the language as they feel inferior complex.
“I am too old for this, I am thinking. My head feels so heavy for my neck. I am wishing that misfortunate letter was lost in our Indian post system.”(90).
The author is highlighting the points that there is generation gap between the thinking as Geeta’s father and grandfather both of has a different view on the culture. As Geeta’s father settled in America he ready to follow the western culture but her grandfather was not ready to accept the culture. In male dominant society woman has to suffer for their freedom. As it is some in the novel Geeta is hanging between the thoughts of her father and grandfather. Female are inferior to take decision in male dominant society
“fresh coriander seed, organic of course, or pure ghee for a karma-free diet, or yesterday’s burfi’s at half price”.(67)
As this lines explained the importance of spices not for Indians but also for the non-Indians also. Whoever comes for spices they are welcomed. The entire visitor in Tilo’s spice bazaar not Indian there are some American and other community people. The spices are not only taste helpers but she has the power to solve the problems of people in their life. The spices help to dissolves boundaries and promote love among Tilo and their customer along with the understanding. As human beings we all have same needs and desire as new space created between two cultures.
“greasy-haired women with ugly folds of flesh and fat” (212).
The another female character in the novel the mother of raven as he was unwanted of his native place and once he met grandfather who reveals the truth of his mother. Raven started to maintain a distance from his mother. Sometime there is misinterpretation among the people which soils the relationships.
” thick – necked men wearing dirt chunks of fried dough dipped in gravy from paper plates….as we passesd , one of the women lifted the edge of her dress to wipe a child nose.”(207)
These lines explain about the relationship between the son and mother. Raven was away from his mother and he does not want to meet his other at any cost the truth makes him to suffer a lot, both Raven and Juan being to marginalized community. Another side Geeta accepted Juan without giving much important to Indian values. Sometime culture helps to reunite the people. American and Indian have their own way of freedom to live. But some time it becomes a problem.
“your grandfather loves you a lot….nothing really…just let you know that angry words like buzzing bees hide the honey underneath. Just see you I can go back and tell them ‘Don’t worry so much, she’s well.”(143-4)
Geeta suffered a lot to get a freedom from the society. Women suffered as well as male character Jagjit also faced same struggler in the American culture to find his one identity. He also became a victim of teasing in school when his education period. Female and male suffered a lot in the culture in America. As an Indian immigrant they have faced a lot of problem.
“all those voices, Hindi, Oriya ,Assamessse ,Urdu ,Tamil English, layered one on the other like notes from a tanpura, all those voices asking for more than their words, asking for happiness except no one seems to know where.”(78).
Being an immigrant of Indian they are opened to different races, languages, tradition, culture and values. As they all are settled in America and facing a same kinds of problem. They are sufferings for their homeland to return back but it is impossible for them. They are not able to fight for their own freedom. They become subalterns in other culture adding diffrent to adopt that.
“The mother-in-laws, old food from the fridge is good only for servants or dogs.”(80)
In this novel it is a great example to show the condition of women in the society. Dhaksha’s mother-in-law wanted her daughter-in-law to behave properly and be in mannerism like typical Indian style. She never allows her to eat fresh foods but she has to eat which is not fresh. She was dominated by her own mother in law. It’s proved that women are sometime dominated by women. She is in America but the culture for her is same. She never permitted to gout and has to leave over in home to take care of home.
“Ahuja’s wife has of couse a name. Lalita. La-li-ta, three liquid syllables perfect-suited to her soft beauty. I would like to call her by it, but how can I while she thinks of herself only as a wife.”(14)
Lalita is another female character, she has faced the double marginalized. Her husband works as watchman in America. Her husband cheated and married her in India by showing the photos and brought her to America. Her husband tortured physically and mentally. Lalit has conveyed her pain to Tilo and relived by sharing it. Women are brutally faced the problem in India as well as in America.
“he refuses that this woman should work…Aren’t I mam enough, man enough . Man enough”.(15)
These lines explore the sufferings of women through by male dominant society. Lalita’s husband beats regularly without any reason. She has faced loneliness, weakness and hostile nature in American. Her husband showed the job frustration on his weak wife. When Lalita asked to work she is not allowed by husband. A woman has faced the domination across the world. Immigrant women have to bear pain of sacrificing their cultural, ethnic identities, habits etc. they are forced to leave their native land and confrontation with new country and its culture, in case of America, multicultural.
“crushed clove and cardamom, jagjit , to make your breath fragrant. Cardamom which I will scatter tonight on the wind for you. North wind carrying them to open your teacher’s unseeing. And also sweet pungent clove, lavang, spice of compassion.”(39). Divakaruni has given the importance to use of clove and cardamom it has magical capacity. She has given the Indian spices a major space in American country. The spices are also very powerful as they belong to India. It also established the importance to Indian culture in American country.
” they named me NayanTara, star of the eye, but my parents faces were heavy with fallen hope at another girlchild, and this one coloured like mud.”(7)
Through this lines it highlights the importance of protagonist past as her history is unique. She was born in India with the name Nayantara a girl with the supernatural abilities to predict and solve the problems of small village people. In Indian culture birth of women are not welcomed happily same happened to the protagonist of the novel. In India women’s position are not equal to the male. Women are not getting equal rights in the society which makes them to feel inferiority complex. To be born in patriarchal society birth of a girl child becomes the burden for their parents. Nayanthara grows up to unloved parents she only appreciated when her parents know about the super power of her daughters.
“All day at home, she is so lonely. The silence like quick sand sucking at her wrists and ankles, tears she cannot stop disobedience tears spilled pomegranate seeds and Ahuja shouting when he returned home to her swollen eyes.”(15)
Divakaruni has given a great example of Mrs. Ahuja whose life is blend with the bitterness and she has faced lots of problem in the society. When Ahuja shared her bad experience to Tilo then she has given the spices turmeric which helps her to get rid of all the obstacles as she facing. Her husband tortured and she wanted to get rid of it. Being an Indian immigrant she suffered a lot and not able to live happy life in America. Its shows that women are always dominated by society whether it is India or in America.
“First mother, are you at this very moment singing the song of welcome, the song to help my soul through the layers, bone and steel and forbidding word which separates the two world.”(32).
These lines highlight the absence of divide between the island and America that relate with the past and it’s present. Her past and present does not exist for herself. Tilo has encountered the bitter experience of immigrant as she suffers from a lot in her past to present. “A hyper-sexualized and representative of all that is seen as Indian in American culture.”(272-3). Divakaruni has beautifully describes love affair of Tilo and Raven. As Indian girl and American boy has fall in love without understanding the real identity and culture as she faced in America. Being an immigrant and a mistress of spices she is not allowed to break the rules of magical power.it shows the connection between the west to east. Both of them has a feelings but Tilo has not able to decide how and what to do. They had lots of difference in them.
“it might be that the women’s familiar acquaintance , is the very thing necessary to remove the threat of strangeness”.(182). The Mistress of Spices this novel author has expressed the condition of unfamiliar, the female, Indian immigrant experience, with the familiar American life. The narrating of the author mixed the two things one is magical power and woman’s plight as an outsider in Southern California. The character Tilo exists as the representation of oppression with the layers of her given self, aims at cultural liberation.
The vine of Desire (2000) this novel is a story about the two cousins. It is a second part of the first novel sister of my heart, the writer Divakaruni has explores the affectionate bond between the Anju and Sudha. The two cousin’s life has faced and trapped in their close bond, their selfish desires, the great loses their gains, unfaithfulness with new option. The novel is about the love triangle among Anju, Sudha and Anju’s husband. Anju’s husband has the desire for Sudha where he confused that who should he love .When Sudha reached California with her daughter after her divorce, the three people lost their balance at the end. The novel focuses on protagonists struggle to face the cultural and loneliness in other country. Women characters are not able to survive in situation where they have to being Indian women they were dominated in India as well as in California. They have to face the domination in every field and cultural conflicts.
“The refrigerator is stuffed with dishes: spaghetti and meatballs, potato salad, tuna casserole, banana bread, vanilla pudding, apple pie. All the recipes she looked up painstakingly in her Good Housekeeping cookbook. It is the most Indian of ways, what the women of her family had done to show love.”(20).
Through this lines the author has present the Indian way of cooking which is colorful along with the varieties. The food habits of place are reveals the culture presentation and identity of the place. In India women are trained to do the household chores and they are not allowed to come out from the kitchen. Being Indian women they forced to be presented in house and they should take care of family member. They do not have freedom for themselves and enjoy the happiness. The tradition and the culture of India made the rules like this for women in the society.
“sudha will have a snack waiting, a khichuri made with rice and mung dal, a childhood favorite of them both, with the wedge of fresh lemon on the side.”( V.D. 54) the above lines are expressed the good qualities of human being in Indian culture according to the myth. In Indian the elder people are guiding the family with full of custom and wisdom. Women are made for kitchen and they are shared their feelings in the family house. Anju’s mother asked her through letter about her holidays to celebrate the festivals. In India the culture has many varieties of festivals, it shows the customs, values and tradition of this country. Everywhere women are bound with the culture and customs.
“Calcutta, april 1994
… pishi hopes you two are telling stories from our epics to Dayita. These stories, she says have much old wisdom embedded in them. … how else will you pass on our heritage to Dayita,… she says you must make special note of the bad-luck hours which she had the astrologers write in for each day.… every month we have a puja done in kalighat for our Prem, so that his spirit will be at peace. “(71-72)
Above these lines are explained about the importance of culture and they have to follow their own tradition. Every culture has their rules and regulation to follow and with the domination of female in the society. When Anju was in studying in college in America where share has given the assignment to wrote upon the Indian culture. In her college Anju has given an opportunity to write upon the Indian culture.
“write an essay examining the effects of culture and heredity upon an individual. Would you say that are more important than character traits in influencing the individual behavior?”(98).
These lines explaining the Importance of culture where individuality of human beings depends upon the culture where they grow up. The culture of male and female are quite common in the America. In India and America every country has their own tradition and culture which highlights the inequality of person through its culture. Both countries have different customs but they are unique. Every individual has top follow and high the culture.
Please let me know if you would like me to send you a copy of
Tankumar Jhuli, or the children’s Ramayana picture book to
Read Dayita. I remembered how they used to be your favorites.
This line explains the children’s growth in the family. Being Indian family it has orthodox how they brought up the children with the moral background, ethics and through the stories of epic in which the mythological characters are involved in it. Pishi asked Sudha to send a book to her little daughter Dayita. To grow up a child with full of Indian knowledge with full of traditional values and customs it shows the importance of Indian culture in orthodox family. Indian culture gives a growth to children as born in India they should have knowledge about the Indian myth stories and its background. Indian people have the strong faith in the astrology and horoscope.
“Dear daughter Sudha,
I hope you are observing the Rahukal hours listed on that calendar we sent you. Last week when I made regular trip to my astrologer (with much agony, as my health is at an all- time low) he said that the planet shani was ascending and it was time for the Chatterjee women to be careful.”(144).
These lines explain the Indian culture where Indians follows the horoscope strongly and trust in astrology. Sudha has got calendar from mother before leaving an Indian-style. It stood to express the culture of the Indians. In a Hindu calendar there are auspicious days are marked to celebrate the functions. In Bengal there was function where women have too fast for husband’s ling life this proves that women has to live for husbands but not for themselves.
“Handwritten notes on the bottom of each page warn us of the dangerous hours: Rahukal which shifts each day with the movement of the planets, when it is good toile low.”(149)
In Indian culture there is good time and bad time which are followed by Indians strictly. As per the word Rahukal means it is a bad time where Indian never does and good works to start. They wait for good time start. The author has presented the rules, regulations and customs followed but the Indians. Indian culture is totally different from the other country culture. For every function they meet the astrologer and find the good time as well as bad time to be star even matched for, marriage it is followed from ancient time.
“People who begin a journey in the month of Bhadra never come back. A wedding ends in calamity. Books should not be read but only worshipped on Sraswati puja, the day dedicated to the goddess of learning.”(150)
According to the Indian people books are worshipped as god. Mainly to worship a book they have good festival named as Sarswati puja where they all kept the books, epics like Ramayana etc. The purpose of books is not only to read they seem for them as goddess. It shows how Indian people give respect to the books and even placed in the place of god. In Indian culture it is found that from the history it is followed by the people and still it continues.
” in India we could have tried each ingredient into a piece of old cloth and steamed it with the rice, letting the flavors soak in. here, I boil them in a pan, then mash them into balls flavoured with salt and olive oil, a little pepper.”(246).
India is known for the spices and it’s flavored. Each ingredient in Indian culture they tied in old cloth which is steamed it and then it is used it. It has some flavor and taste to the Indian people. Indian culture is also bounded with the spices and its taste. Indian spices are useful for the medicine as well as cooking for the food.
“On her first birthday, her mother invited a hundred Brahmins to come and perform a fire ceremony for blessings. Her marriage was written up in the social register of the amrita bazaar patrika. Now alone in a dim apartment full of broken glass.”(264-65)
When Anju’s mother has decided to celebrates her daughter’s birthday. The ceremony reflects the culture of Calcutta. Anju was born in Chatterjee’s family, on her birthday her mother invited Brahmin’s to come and bless her. Being an Indian born in Hindu family as a girl child her marriage was fixed before her birth. Even her permission was not asked for marriage. After marriage she went to the America where she was alone even her husband with her. But there is no relation between them. Being an Indian women are under the control before marriage, after that they are under the husband control. For women they have to face the suppression and oppression in life. Indian society is meant like this from past to future, it never change for any one. Not even India but in America Anju has faced loneliness and sufferings.
” there’s the campanile at calm, there’s the bay bridge, backed up as usual, there’s angel island, where at one time deer and immigrants were quarantined, that’s the ferry to Sausalito, where all…that’s Alcatraz from which no prisoners ever escaped alive.”(279).
Through these lines Lalit is explaining to Sudha about the neatness of their states Calcutta and he feel pride for his culture. Lalit wanted Sudha to taker at the peak to see the beauty of Calcutta. He wanted her to enjoy the nature and the scenes of the Bengal. Women have to listen to a male talk even though there is domination. Even they don’t have freedom to enjoy their life as they wish.
” One time, just before Anju and i got married, I was so sad to think that we’d be separated, that I wished we could love the same man, like women did in the Mahabharata, that we could all live together….”(281).
Anju and Sudha are childhood friends and cousins. From the time of small they are grew up and know each other very well. It shows that both of them are very fond of each other. They cannot survive without each other. When Anju’s marriage is fixed that Sudha felt very bad as she went away from her. And Sudha wished that both of them could marry the same person. Sudha giving example of the Mahabharata so they all live together. Sudha feels separation is very hurtful for her and to live without her.
“The river ganga is gray with age and weight…Flowers and food offered to the spirits of ancestors who hover, it is believed, on its banks until sent on with prayers. “(324).
These lines explain about the Indian rituals which are practiced in river. By throwing flowers in rivers and they show their respect for the death people. In Indian culture it shows the importance to ancestor who are worshipped after the death. In India there is a lot of tradition and culture are followed. Especially for ancestor many types of rituals are done to make their soul calm and pray for their peace in rest. Indian values and customs are totally different from other countries. In this novel Chitra has highlights how the rituals have been performed for ancestors.
“I got a job in America. I got married to a woman who was smart and funny, if not as beautiful as I’d wanted. I even liked her temper. It made life interesting.” (165).
There were still some unhappy things in my life. These lines are expressed by Sunil. Sunil was studied and got job in America, but his life was not happy has he wanted. He got married to Anju from India. He likes her and loved Anju so much. But he felt that Anju was not so much beautiful as he wanted which makes his life sad. He never ever feels that much attraction towards the wife Anju.
“The day Sudha stepped off the plane from India into Anju’s are, leaning a ruined marriage behind, their lives changed forever. And not just sudha’s and anju’s. sunil’s life changed too and baby Dayita’s.”(8).
When Sudha was reached to America along with her daughter after parted from husband. She was invited by Anju to live a happy in America as they were close friends. Anju believed that it would a good environment for Sudha to get rid of her loneliness. Anju does not know the feelings of her husband towards Sudha. Everyone’s life has been changed in America. Anju’s husband has desire for Sudha’s beauty which made him to fall in love. But she was divorced and friend of wife it doesn’t matter for him. Chitra has clearly pictured the male desire towards the female. They are become an object in male oriented society.
“There’s a lot about America that’s unexpected. Don’t be in too much of a hurry to make up your mind about things. Or people.”(178).
American culture is totally different from Indian way of living. Sunil who settled in America and knows the culture and it values are different. American people and its culture are totally different from others it should not compare with the Indian people. American people are free-minded and they have life to enjoy with full of freedom. Sunil said to Sudha that don’t misunderstand the American culture and don’t make your mind to flow with it.
“with the last of her strength, she holds on to something she heard a long time ago, in another country, when she was not much more than a child herself: the dead are not irrevocably dead as long as one refuses to let them go”.(7).
Being women from India she has to face lots problem like marriage, domination and miscarriage. From the childhood days she was dominated and till now she cannot free herself from the suppression.it shows that women are treated from the childhood that they should obey the family and then husband. It proves that women are not free from the past to the future. The female character cannot free herself from the painful experience. They have to struggle for their rights and the survival.
“He knew the song, too. He thought of three rivers he would not see again. Green water Kalmi rushes. Cranes stepping stiffy on slit. In sleep his profile is gaunt, stony. All excess fallen away. The evening has aged into ten-fifteen. Ten- thirty. Eleven. She touches the pillow cover, but it’s dry. Some things are beyond tears.”(261).
Through these lines it’s highlighted the clash between intense desire to stay in the natural surrounding and the grown part of the character which tends to go outside this defensive. This duality sometimes becomes cracks the minds. The life in other country becomes too old and reason for depression, nostalgia for own country where she wants to spend his rest of life.
“I ll never get back home, I know it. I ‘m going to die here”. (319). There is lots of difference between the generation from past to present. Old people have different opinion as compare to the parent youth of the nation. Culture is important for the old people and they are forced next generation to follow and give importance to the values and customs of Indian culture.
“American isn’t the same country for everyone, you know. Things here didn’t work out the way I’d hoped. Going back with you would be a way for me to star over in a culture I understand the way I’ll never understand America.”(320-21).It gives a clear understanding about Sudha that India would be a final solution for her rest of life. But now the culture and the tradition have attracted Sudha, to show her new path. She is not able to absorb the lifestyle of America. It shoes that for Indian it is difficult to adopt the new culture as they are in other country. In America sudha is free and not bound by rules as in India. She is comes India to enjoy freedom and independence.
“live for yourself”, Sudha continues, as though she hadn’t heard him.”I’m not sure what it means… I feel like a flyway helium ballon-all the people I know are on the ground somewhere, but so far away and small. They hardly matter. Yet I know I can’t go back to the old way, living g for others.”(177).
These lines explain about the Sudha as she declares that she will never live for others as she did it earlier. She was very much attracted towards the American culture and its lifestyle. She started to make a new friend that is Lalit. When Sudha discover it, she finds it very much mean and submissive to her mother, mother-in-law, husband and Sunil. But now the American culture influenced lot her. Now she wanted a life which is fully for her to enjoy in America. She is ready to accept the new life and don’t want to look back of her bitter past. This shows that east and west has lots of difference.
“We aren’t any good for each other anymore-you see that , don’t you?.”(238).Divakaruni has tired to shoe the strongest women in Anju as her husband says that he does not lover her and want to divorce her. After heard this words from husband she was ready to go out which shows the patience in women. Sunil tried to make her convince about his feelings and she understand it without any kinds of argument with him. Its shows that woman ate more patent than male. Indian woman are trained to be calm and soft they can handle any problem.
“I leave a lot of things behind. It’s becoming a pattern in my life, shedding belongings as I flee-first Ramesh’s house, then the mother’s flat in Calcutta, now from Anju’s. It should make me feel lighter. But the emotions lodged in my chest like rusted anchors weigh me down.”(202).
The worst experience of protagonist in America describes the feature of displacement, oppression and domination. Divakaruni has shown the actual nature of an Indian woman who cannot take the things in easy way. It shows that woman do face cultural problem in their married life. In America we can find that woman are more liberated, free and independent as compare to India. Sudha has faced lots of problem and it becomes a part of her life. She conveyed that Dayita when she leaves Anju’s, Sunil’s house and she does not care about her child.
” The husband of my sister, said my brain. But the trembling in my leg said, I don’t care.”(80). Anju’s husband has the attraction towards the Sudha as she was more beautiful as compared to her wife. She became the victim of him and cannot prevent him from her. That moment becomes a weak for Sudha. She breaks all rules and regulation on Indian culture and communicating sexual mistake. Being an Indian woman is not allowed to see the other men in the society. This scene provides the modern men and women decline the laws which binding them in search of identity. It shows the cultural clashes between the traditional and feeling of desire. Sudha, Anju and Sunil become the victim of the cultural dominance and not free from the society and its impact. Everywhere women have to suffered as well as face all problems homeland and other country.
QUEEN OF DREAMS
Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni has published her sixth novel queen of dreams in (2004). The novel portrays the American reality, fear, anxieties, cultural crises and immigrant experience. The novelist has suffered in alien country to adapt the American culture. This novel explores the culture connection between East to West. It also throws light on problem and experience faced by Indian American community through the lives Bengali immigrant family. This novel is divided into two parts in India and America but the story fully taken place in America. It is story about mother daughter relationship, love and cultural identity. The protagonist of the novel is Rakhi a young painter and single mother is struggling to maintain her relationships with ex-husband sunny. Rakhi ‘s mother is a dream teller mother, who has never spoken about her past or india. Rakhi needs her mother’s strength and wisdom more than ever. Her mother is a dream teller and she has the power of to interpret the meaning of dreams. Rakhi struggled a lot in America but she has sacrifice to discover her mother’s long kept secrets. She takes different track in order to explore ability to interpret the dreams and daughter’s attempt to understand her.
‘I hungered for all things Indian because my mother never spoke of the country she’d grown up in- just as she never spoke of her past.”(QD 35).
Rakhi’s parents are from India where her mother never reveals about her mother’s past. Rakhi was comfortable in American life; Belle was opposite to Rakhi who always give pressure that put upon her to be Indian. Rakhi has separated from the husband and living lonely life. Rakhi’s mother is born and brought in India bet settled in America. She never opened her mouth her daughter to share the culture in Indian values and customs.
“Something with spirit and energy to bring people back in. and you must do it quickly, before you grow weaker”.(88).These lines express the Rakhi was in need of her mother advice and she had the shop that is chai house which was in great loss. She is young artist who faced lots of problem to run the shop but she not able to find how to maintain and turn it into profit. She was thrown by rival across the tea shop. Low price of food items in coffee shop made other competitor’s to tempt and to close the shop. If she loses the shop then lose the custody of her daughter to the ex-husbabd sunny.
“She knows exactly who she is, and you don’t. This isn’t a real chai-shop’- she pronounces the word in the Bengali way-‘but mishmash, a westerner notion of what’s Indian. Maybe that’s the problem. Maybe if you can make it into something authentic, you’ ll survive.”(89).
Rakhi is born and brought up in America and seeking out more authentic Indian identity of her love and loyalty between the homeland and the country of her birth. Rakhi is obsession with India is only its myth and mystery with her mother unspoken past. Rakhi always interested to know about the love towards her birth country. Show always imagined about the country India and always had the dream about it.
“you’re right. It is my fault. I see now that I bought you up wrong….. but by not telling you about Indian as it really was, I made it into something far bigger. It crowed other things out of your mind. It pressed upon your brain like a tumour.”(89).
Rakhi’s mother death is a big accident Rakhi discover a collection of dreams written in Bengali language. Her mother has the power of dream telling but she never talked about the past that happened in India. Her mother felt wrong when she thought that it’s her fault that never shared about the past. Rakhi has overloaded with the pressure of to know about the birth country which made her to think about the Indian culture and that thought becomes a tumour in her mind.
“If I’d died, I, too, would want my remains to become part of this land, this water, because there’s a way in which the geography of one’s childhood makes its way into one’s bones.”(133-34).
Rakhi has run the chai shop in that many Indian were came and meets her. Mostly they talk about the Indian culture and its beauty of that country. This made Rakhi to imagine the beautiful nation. She was born in India but steeled in America. She always wanted to know about the Indian tradition and custom. She wanted to experience it and had thought if she died before that she want to enjoy the motherland’s water and get back to the childhood thoughts.
“What cruel karma had placed me in the care of the only two Indians who never mentioned their homeland if they could help it?.”(82).
These lines explore the relationship between belle and Rakhi they are good friends as well as business partners in chai house. This chai house is a mixture of Indian style foods and western style snacks. The chai house store was so much shunt, new and good-much like American style. The coffee house in the America runs by the white lady as compare to chai house. Divakaruni has shown the domination of Indian stall in America. Both have different culture. Rakhi dominated for her colur, looks and behavior. In India there is domination on the basis of colors as well as in America she has faced the same problem.
“The reason you don’t have enough power to fight that woman there is that she knows exactly who she is. And you don’t. This isn’t a real chai shop- she pronounces the word in the Bengali way- but mishmash, a westerner’s notion of what’s Indian. Maybe that’s the problem. May be if you can make it something authentic, you’ll survive.”(89).
Through these lines it is clear that chai house has no clear identity as it was threaten by American people as they destroy it. The chai house becomes the symbol for cultural changes and displacement by western influences. Chai house becomes the Indian snacks to serve, it taste as home snacks cooked by her father. There is a place where Indian meets and common place to meet as Indian they all sing Hindi songs. Indian people in America they all found their communist and united in one place that place asked them to share their feelings , culture, and Indian values which make them that they are missing the homeland. It shows that being Indian setter in American they all are missing there India which their home land.
“…it might be good for the country to keep running as normally as possible, and not allowing everything to come to a standstill, which I think is exactly what the terrorists want.”(257).
These explain about the American culture and its value, they mostly attacked by the terrorist. America is one of the developed countries and under developed country is jealous of their advancement. The American should not care about the terrorist and them should do their normal works as the country action should move on. It shows the culture and the development has been major cause for the terrorist attacks.
” I don’t have to put up a flag to prove that I’ m American! I’m American already. I love this country- hell, it’s the only country I know. But I’ m not going to be pressured into pitting up a sign to announce that love to every passerby.”(264).
It gives the description about the Rakhi and belle as they think themselves as Americans but questioned were raised against them by angry American. Americans wanted used Indian as their anger on world trade center. Rakhi and belle belongs to second generation people they are equally disturbed by the culture domination. They are paid a double price to run the chai house in America for their skin colour. Indian are mostly are dominated by American people, they have to face every problem if they settled in other country.
“We haven’t done anything wrong. Those men in here- they wre mourning. We re Americans, just the want you are. We all feel terrible about what happened.”(267).
This line proves that being Indian if they settled in America then also they never called as American’s. They are always dominated by the culture and tradition. American people always misbehaved with the Indians as they are not human beings. If anything wrong done with the American country it was blamed on the Indian. Rakhi is dominated by white American’s for her clour and nation. American’s never accepted Indian settler as American’s. Being Indian setter in America they also felt bad for them.
“looked in a mirror lately? One of them spit. You aren’t a American! Its fuckers like you who planned this attack on the innocent people of this country. Time someone taught you faggots a lesson.”(267).
These lines describes about domination of Indian in American country. American was gives a stronger assertion of his culture roots than the identity. Indian are targeted and attacked by mob americans if anything looks different from white American it was a stereotypes beliefs. Jespal was an Indian had he was beat by American’s as his loos are different from American looks. It proves that both the culture has vast difference through colour, tradition and values. American believed that if the person looks not, matched with American then they started to dominate and torture them.
“But if I wasn’t American, then what was I?”(271). When Rakhi was dominated by Indians and she stared to ask questioning that if I’m not American who I am. The second generation people have to face less problem of cultural domination. But second generation people are easily accepted the American culture. But first generation people have faced the colour and other discrimination in the society. The second generation people are belong to modern world for them it was shock to accept the domination like racism etc. The characters like Rakhi, Jespal and Belle are faced lots of obstacles in other country.
“At home we rarely ate anything but Indian, that was the mother kept her culture.”(7). As Rakhi belongs to India her birth roots come from the Indian culture. She has imagined the different picture of India. She has searches from the photographers as she has never gone to her home land. Rakhi has the desire towards the India and wanted to experience her country essence.
“She’d painted temples and cityscapes and women in a marketplace and bus drivers at lunch, but never trees, not as her main focus. But last night it had struck her that she needed to do something new, something challenging.”(10)
Rakh’s mother has never talk about her past and Indian culture, but she had the desire for Indian tradition and its customs. When her father discussed about the India she started to collects the picture of India. She was very much interested towards the paintings which made her to paint pictures of India as she imagined. But she wanted to express her love towards India in different ways. Rakhi has born in America but her love towards India is unique.
“a tape with songs about the Bengal monsoons: how the skies grow into the colorof polished steel, how the clouds advance like blacks armies, or spill across the horizon like the unwound hair of beautiful maidens.”(81).
These lines expressed the relationship between mother and Rakhi, her mother never disclose about the past of India. She thought that if she knows about the India then Rakhi would able to see hidden aspects of her mother’s personality. Rakhi and her mother stayed in same house but Rakhi got the chance to see the materials of her mother’s dream world. Otherwise it is difficult to find about her mother’s past. She also finds that her mother rarely meet her clients, but she always busy in talking with the strangers.
“That the worst part of the night wasn’t the assault but the fact that he hadn’t been there to rescue her from it. She’d called to him for help, and he’d failed her.”(202).
These lines are expressed about the life of Rakhi as she was divorced and cannot get rid of the thoughts of her ex-husband sonny. Rakhi feels very badly and separated from him but still she thinks that he was belonging to her family. She has faced an incident which she never forgets that he her rape happened in that same club where ex-husband worked as DJ. This incident made her to suffer physically and mentally
“Some wear western clothes, and some are in kurta-pajamas, but what I notice most are their faces. Lined, unabashedly showing their age, they hint at eventful pasts lived in places very different from this one, difficulties and triumphs I can’t quite imagine. The word foreign comes to me again, though I know it’s ironic. They’re my countrymen.”(193-94).
Rakhi was brought up in America and her al see changes in the Indian who came as immigrants. Rakhi when heard the word foreigner she thought of father. At the first time Rakhi’s father tried to attract his wife through songs. Both of them are immigrants and they liked each other. When an immigrants comes to other country that culture and society changes the people life. They also long for changes in them variation in culture it changes the human beings totally.
Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni is a great novelist and her writings are based on women’s sufferings and domination in east-west culture as well as in society. Cultural sufferings always point out the survival of Indian immigrants. Her novels proved that Indians have taken a major effort to enjoy their culture in other country like America. Indian and American culture is different from each other which made Indian immigrants to face many obstacles.