Essay on The Indian Woman in Manju Kapur’s Difficult Daughters

Essay on The Indian Woman in Manju Kapur’s Difficult Daughters

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The status of women in India has not enhanced much even after six decades of Indian Independence. Repression and enslavement still compel her to lead a regulated life. However, education has come to the aid of women to move forward and they have endeavored to liberate themselves from the domination of men. In this context it is interesting to note that the last decade of the twentieth century witnessed a world of change in the literature produced in India in the English language. The novels of R.K.Narayan in 1930s presented Indian society in its traditional form. In his early works Narayan assigned man a predominant position to women. But in the recent past one finds feminine consciousness has led to a social change where search for an identity and independence for women took place.
Women writers have presented the world in a different perspective, through which one can understand the aptitude of human accomplishment. They have discussed the role and status of women in Indian society and their issues and difficulties at different phases of time. In the process, they have examined social, cultural ethos against which they have been brought up and the image that has been carved for women in the society. Their works portray the conflict of women to assert their individuality. Moreover, education has assisted them to raise their voice against maltreatment and suppression.
The first novel Difficult Daughters 1 by Manju Kapur was published in 1998 and it has been bagging many laurels since then. Difficult Daughters won the Commonwealth Writer’s Prize for the Best First Book Category in the Eurasia region and was also shortlisted for the Crossword Book Award in India...

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...that her rights are confiscated by Virmati. Virmati feels free only in the presence of Harish. She finds herself an untouchable in the house. Once Virmati ventures into the kitchen but that is followed by a hue and cry: “…..but there had been such weeping and wailing that day, such ritual rinsing of every pot and pan to wash away her polluted touch, that she felt intimated. It was clear that not an inch of that territory was going to be yielded. ” (230). Thus Harish says, “Poor thing, you have me, let her have the kitchen.”(230)

1. Manju Kapur, Difficult Daughters, 1998. London: Faber and Faber, 1999. (All textual citations in the article kept in parentheses are from this edition of the novel.)
2. Mehta, Sangeeta. “Women’s Odyssey of Liberation In Manju Kapur’s Difficult Daughters.” Contemporary Vibes 5. 17 (Oct – Dec 2009): 12 – 13.

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