The issue of women marginalization in the
society continues to be a major theme in Indian literature especially in Indian
society. While it is true that it has
been written against the oppression and marginalization of women, it is very much evident that women are still
at pronounced marginalized positions in the Indian society. Maheswata Devi’s Dhouli
explores this theme further to reveal the ordeals that women face in a society
dominated by men and caste system. This study focuses and explores how Dhouli
through her numerous unpleasant experiences, becomes the voice of the
marginalized women in a hegemonic male society.
Keywords:Gender prejudice, Caste
centered, marginalization and hegemonic male society.
Maheswata Devi’s Dhouli is an eye opener against the politics of high
caste and Intra caste. She clearly focuses on the male domination of both upper
class and lower class men. Dhouli is a storyof a marginalized
and innocent girl. It also highlights on the cruelty of the human mind.
It is evident that even in this 21st century, women still
lack identity of their own. Inspite of their education and economic
independence, their identity is described in terms of men. For a woman whose
husband is dead, bearing the financial burden of the family does not guarantee
her an individual identity. India is a
vast country with different people, language, culture and scripture, but the
only area that our country is united is in the way they treat women. For
instance, if a woman lose her husband at the early age, the society sees her as
an ill omen and all the negatives goes only to her. The men around that woman
want her to fall for them, but the society never allows her remarriage even if
she wishes to.
is a marginalized girl that means excluded from the society, whose life is
spoiled by the forbidden love by a high class Deota. She loses her husband and
all hopes of married life. After that Misrilal,
a high ciass deota falls for her, driven by her charm and beauty. He
treats her equally and secretly fulfills his lustful desire. She is made
pregnant. When Misrilal tells his mother about her pregnancy, she says that it
is she who has sinned.
“ it is always the
fault of the woman for not considering a brahman’s honour,
She is even more to
reveals that even if a man commits a mistake, the fault goes only to the woman.
The woman is easily awarded the name prostitute, but a woman cannot be a
prostitute without the support of a man.
Women’s identity change but men don’t get any new identity and are not accused.
Maheswata Devi gives another case, that is Misrilal’s brother Kundan’s life.
His three sons are carried by a woman he did not choose to marry. It portrays
that women is viewed as an object of pleasure.
is asked to abort her child in the womb by her mother.
“get rid of thorn in your womb”(p.3)
The above line portrays the cruelty of human
mind. Dhouli’s mother utters the word ‘thron’, a negative attitude towards the
soul in Dhouli’s womb. The soul inside the womb is the mistake of both high class
and low class, but the accused is the unborn child in the womb. Dhouli is an
early widow, but the society does not think of marriage. It is normal that the
frustrated mind like dhouli can easily falls for things without thinking. It is
the fault of the society and also the politics that force the question why
Dhouli can’t remarry to any man in her
own community?. She was only given a choice to be a concubine for her brother-
Maheswata Devi in dhouli does not write about
the upper caste politics over dusad, but also about honor killing. When
Misrilal refused to move out of the village, in order to retrieve their
community and status , he is commented as follows.
“if you don’t go, we’ll make sure your corpse leaves the village. Men
like you are a stigma to our name”(p.10)
After Misrilal gets settled in his married life,
Dhouli does not have any chance to live her life. Men around the place stare at
her. Even if she asks for job, people around Taharr are not interested in
giving opportunity because of the high caste. The politics behind this is that
if other people do not cooperate with Deota, they feel annoyed to buy them.
“Next morning Dhouli went to prasanth’s shop and said ‘atleast let me
earn something by sweeping this place’……. Prasanth told ‘ here’s some maroatake it and leave. If I give you a job the
deota will be annoyed with me’”p(.20)
Dhouli is cornered on all directions. She and
her family are starving to death. She does not have any other choice. Dhouli
turns fearlessly over the head coolie who makes an obscene gesture on her,
asking him to bring money. This shows that Dhouli turned against the society as
a rebel. She realizes that this was her fate.
“whoever is ready to pay can come in”(p.21)
Dhouli realizes that this world is only for
the fittest. The above line reveals how a young mind prefers to rebel against
the male hegemonic and caste based society. Marginalization and domination turns against her the society. Breaking the taboo is a kind of
struggle. Sexual economy makes her life better. Dhouli is an innocent girl in
the society that is marginalized. She is forced to do prostitution by covering
all the possible ways of life. This makes her as a rebel. Dhouli’s decision is
a revenge against upper class politics and hegemonic male society.
After attaining betterment in life, she is
again tortured by Misrilal and his family that she cannot be a whore in Taharr
and also adds that the village still has brahmans and they practice puja in
their home. Kundan and Misrilal support prostitution by having intercourse with
low caste dusad and ganju girls. This act proves that they are not against
prostitution but against Dhouli the rebel. The act is not only the merciless
exploitation of the weak and helpless but also the inhuman mind set of human
Through this study, we have been able to see
that the identity of a woman is still deeply rooted in the system that the
society creates. For a women to go against such structure is considered as a
taboo, and she must suffer the consequences. Indian women are still bond within
the limits of caste and male hegemony. This is exactly what the author reveals.
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