Ideology in literature:
The case study of Prativa Ray’s women centric novels

Radhakanta Barik

Prativa Ray the Gyan Pitha award winner has crafted her novels in such a manner that she has imagined the basic premises of the Hinditva into her imaginative framework which gave her creating novels in a Hindutva framework. This has been imagined after 1980 she has crafted in such a manner which resulted in Gyanpitha award which has recognised her works in Hindutva framework. The basic premises are the following which fits into Hindutva framework that is the destiny which determines every body's life. Indian civilisation has some critical premises which are different from western civilization. In a binary model she has imagined her novels. She has lost spontaneity in her writing of a novel. Every novel is a manufactured into a plot in a Hindutva framework. It looks that Gyan pitha award is recognition of Hindutva politics. Prativa Ray is the representative writer of this institution. We will examine each novel of her after 1980. Indian artists and writers have not supported the destruction of Babri masjid or communal riots of 2002 Gujarat. Modi regime didn't get their support. Modi's anti-democratic measures specifically in the case of Kashmir where a society has turned into a jail have pushed professionals like academic community hostile and IAS officers who have resigned. But an odiya writer who got Gyan pitha award for her literary works has committed hara-kiri by writing an article in favor of Modi in the Samaj. While speaking on the occasion of receiving Gyan pitha award she quoted at the outset the greatest Odiya poet Bhima bhoi regarding his troubled soul for suffering people. She doesn't deserve to be inheritor of a great tradition established by a medieval poet. It is painful for being an Odiya writer and social scientist to stand with her or her writings that has a diabolical design in some of her novels.

In her novel Neeltrushna she describes the main character turned into a call girl. But she says it is her choice and society is not responsible. She desires to be rich and work as a call girl where she earns a lot of money. She confronts many persons in her life but she becomes an intimate with one. In her series of sexual relations she has not lost her as a Hindu woman who desires to marry only one. This is her desire gets fulfilled with one person to whom she desires to remember in her leisure. It is her destiny has resulted in making her a call girl not society.  She falls in love with Robert and gets married to him but desires not to leave this nation which is based on false nationalism. In her writing call of soil, motherhood is strongest force which makes her a strong person. Her destiny and her strong belief on God make her rich woman. As a woman she is being flooded with love towards others as she is apostle of love. “In her all struggles she keeps her motherhood alive which she can keep her love towards children strong.” She is selfless and woman works for others and society despite her sufferings.

 In Silapadma (1983) novel depicts the woman in a worst patriarchal sense which is the call of the RSS that in Hindu thinking woman has no autonomous existence. She exists only as an extension of her male partner.The main character of the novel is a woman researcher who is doing research into domain of sculptures of Konark. She has invented ancient history without archeological research as the RSS believes in archeology as a scientific study in understanding ancient India does not have a separate existence. It is human experience matters rather than historical documents telling a different story. It is their version of the Ram not through archeological evidences or other historical evidences it is simple an experience that proves a point that Ram and Sita are historical figures. Furthermore, she commits a serious mistake by giving Jagannatha tradition twisting to the point of the RSS theory that a woman marries Jagannath and then her own husband both have converged together. In Jagannatha tradition there is no such Devdasi system.  It does not exist as Subhadra a rebel and abandons her husband because they are not clean enough and she goes to chandal house which is much cleaner than her husband’s house. She has twisted such a radical tradition and gives a conservative interpretation according to the RSS. The woman researcher decides to marry Jagannath then her own person which is not existing in Odisha but it is a Southern tradition which she has imposed on Odisha tradition. In Oriental tradition a woman being modern does not ignore her conservative tradition according to Ray. “A woman in India stands for conservatism, controlled, shyness, softness these are ornaments of her as a woman which makes her more attractive persona.” Ancient civilization is the virtue of women of India as if nothing has changed in time and space. The main heroine has gone for arranged marriage as this is a part of ancient Indian tradition. Without being conscious of her womanhood she has got married to the person fixed by her parents. After her marriage she feels free and pursues her study in Delhi. She accepts her husband as god which is the supreme.

She provides a strange aesthetic theory of sculpture of Konark that that those artists work on the temple have to undergo two years of abstinence of sex that is the requirement of the tradition. She has invented her tradition to explain the RSS theory of aesthetics. On the contrary art history tells us that all these erotic paintings or sculptures require that artists have to experience erotic pleasure for creating these sculptures. To educate young people about sexual education they bring them to the temple to have to expose these sculptures. This is a novel epitomizes the worst form of patriarchy propagated by the RSS. She brings out a character from the west who comes to do research on Konarka where he finds only eroticism in the sculpture. Furthermore he becomes a friendly with the Indian researcher. Both conduct the research into the same area where one finds a different meaning not because of her research but because of upbringing in the Eastern India whereas the researcher from the West sees differently as he has different upbringing.

Prativa Ray wants to be a little different in her novel (1985) Jagnaseni but victim of her old paradigm. For her Draupadi of Sarala Mahabharat a working woman moving with common women and working on dusty lane of the village does not appeal her as she is a part of cultivating people and working and productive people. She gets attracted towards Kshatriya Draupadi from North who is a prince and enjoys all privileges of royal family. She falls in love with Krishna and as his love she wants to marry Arjun a friend of Krishna. After her marriage she has to be shared with five brothers as their mother Kunti says. It is polygamy gets celebrated here. She gets attracted to Karna for his bravery but his low caste hits her. She gets fascinates with the caste hierarchy of Northern India where Khatriya holds the highest position with Brahmins and Karna being low caste cannot deserve the same love. As Khatriya does not exist in Odisha nor such rigidity of caste hierarchy exist in Odisha.

 Draupadi does not like to stay with her parents as it is not a tradition for a daughter to share the same space with her parents after her marriage but she moves with her five husbands. “She turns out to be house wife without any hesitation and questioning her husbands. She offers her as flower at the foot of her husbands.”  She uses the image of lotus flower which is not a symbolic flower in Odiya culture. She does not have any autonomy. She takes care of their desires and works for them. She shows her controlled behavior to them. She does not take her meal before her husbands. Before their waking up she gets up and gets ready. Her basic work to keep her attractive to make her husbands sexually attracted towards them. She is an obedient wife to them and she does not dare to do anything against their desires. She works like a dasi for her husbands. Bhima a gigantic figure gets satisfied with her. In Hindutva model she desires to be with Arjun but she stays with five. She accepts her circumstances. But her soul remains with Arjun and her body with other five. She respects Arjun to have hundred wives and she respects them. To guide male persons in a truthful road is her duty as a woman. The king is supposed to provide protection to women.

She does politics for controlling the sabar tribe as her husbands start controlling them. To have sovereignty over them she does her politics such as eating and sharing meals with them. Her description of Draupadi character according to Hindutva model as she is servant of her husbands and she has no decision of her own. She marries to Krishna and her husbands though her soul remains with one. She reinvents caste hierarchy in her novel.

Hindutva as a philosophy justifies rape as its founder Savarakar does. Here the novelist Prativa Ray speaks in her novel Mahamoha (1997). It is a mythological story about Ahalya being a Rishi’s daughter gets married to Rishi Gautam in an arranged marriage but because of her beauty Indra gets attracted towards her. Indra a powerful person who came to Ahalya and rapes her then Gautam the rishi after knowing this curses her into a stone. Once Ram moves on the path after the touch of his foot Ahalya gets her life. According to Ahalya Indra has not forcibly having sex with her. It is her soul recognizes him as a powerful and handsome person with whom she has sex on her own. “It is an intense desire to have sex with Indra and it is an emotion gets recognized and get fulfillment to her womanhood. “ It is limited view of her husband who blames Indra. This is a new version of justification of rape by the author. It is being practiced by many Hindu monks having forcible sex and is not guilty for raping young girls including children. This is a Hindutva version of rape is being told in the novel by Ray.

Ray has planned these women centric novels in a political design recognized by the Hindutva forces. She manufactured plots according to the political design prepared by Hindutva forces. Her depiction of women in these novels are the typical characters framed by Hindutva. In her statement in an article recently in Samaj She justifies Modi’s position on Kashmir or Muslim women bill proves her a point that she has organically grown into a novelist perhaps the first one whose women characters in these novels are of the stereotypes of Hindutva framework. Gyanpitha as an institution has turned into politics of Hindutva by recognizing these writers as the best writers of our soil.

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Oct 25, 2019

Prof. Radhakanta Barik [email protected]

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