'Bimala' aar 'Satyabati' Dujonei ki Antarmahal er Baashi: Sociological interpretation of patriarchal and feminist constructions in renowned literary texts of colonial Bengal.
Keywords:Colonial Bengal, Renowned Bengali Literary Works, Patriarchy, Feminism.
The present paper is a sociological interpretation of how patriarchal realities of colonial Bengal is reflected through renowned Bengali literary works of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and how feminist perspectives were emerging as a counter to these. One part of the research attempts to show how patriarchy was intrinsically embedded in the Bengali middle class zamindari families during that period, where the gentlewomen (bhadramahila) were under the domination of the gentlemen (bhadralok). This aspect is investigated using the thematic content analysis method of one novella by Rabindranath Tagore, 'Ghare Baire' (The Home and the World-1916). The themes under which patriarchy has been studied in this work include, 'discourse on sacrifice,' 'discourse on the interlinkage between nationalism and motherhood' and the 'discourse on lajja (shame).' These works depict Bengal's patriarchal actualities as prevalent in the colonial period. Challenging such works, there were strong and bold writers like Ashapurna Debi, whose works like 'Pratham Pratishruti' (The First Promise- 1964), have brave and courageous female protagonists, who dare to go against the patriarchal standards of society, thereby taking an approach towards 'feminism.' In this context, the research also attempts to understand whether there has been a paradigm shift in the depiction of female characters from the works of Rabindranath Tagore to those of writers like Ashapurna Debi, that is, the shift from the depiction of 'weak and submissive women' to that of 'valiant and courageous women.
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