Critique Of Mashaweta Devi’s Witch Using Feminist Criticism – Essay Example
Feminist Analysis of the Story “Witch” by Mahasveta Devi Gender inequality or gender suppression is a very pertinent social malice and contemporary issue in almost every society of the third world nations. As evident eternally that literature is the reflection of society, and very close to the fact it has also become obvious time and again that gender study have been one of the phenomenal topic in the literature of the post-modern and post-colonial era.
Feminist interpretation of the text forms one of the essential devices to interpret the text from the post-modern paradigm. Maheshweta Devi’s post-modern or more popularly a feminist play, “Witch” or “Bayen” is not an exception either. The play has been a receiver of a huge critical reception and feminist reception is the most poignant in this regard. Mahesweta Devi, who is one of the prominent social activist and reformist, has worked a lot in the realm of tribal development, culture and women development in remote areas of India, presents a volley of issues with thesis and antithetical post mortem of the age-old practice of witchcraft and witch hunting in India. The play “Witch” also brings with it, plethora of issues with myriad layer of interpretation operating behind and beneath the prime subject matter of the play. The play also presents the vital issue of mob psychology in respect to the relation of power and surveillance as regards to the mob behaviour or agitation. The episode where the so called witch, undergoes physical and mental torture and torment by the mob attack of the villagers seeking popular justice echoes Arendt’s or Foucault’s theory of mob psychology.
However, as regards to the main plot of the story, Chandidasi, the protagonist and the convicted witch in the story responsible for all the miss-happenings and misfortunes taking place around her, survives the physical and mental devastation inflicted by the tormenting mob against her and thereby evolves out as a voice against the gender oppression and inequalities prevalent in the Indian culture and society. Maheshweta Devi’s play “Witch” or colloquially more popular with the name “Bayen”, does not only presents one of the ancient social taboos where a bizarre women is sometimes acclaimed as a witch locally known by the name of “Dayan” or “Chodial” and is held responsible for mass misfortune or some misdeeds taking place in the area, but it also puts forward a vital question as of why and how women can be held responsible for some wacky happenings taking place around her. The play puts forward the narrow social intentions and parochial desires of few people who for their own interest try to opt for a means of mass justice in the form of gruesome barbaric torture inflicted on the innocent woman. The play speaks entirely in support of the women rights and at a greater plain about human rights and claim equality for all irrespective of the gender and completely negates the status of woman as a second sex. The survival of Chandidasi claims the rendering of power and control. It also claims the concept of discipline and punishment to be doubtful. The play presents the way how Chandidasi’s motherhood results being the fundamental element in the construction of her subaltern status. The subaltern status is inflicted on the woman by the panoptic discipline of the villagers and the method is denoted by the constant concern regarding the visual contact.
Menon, R. K. “Unheard Screams and Silent Acceptance: Modern Indian Cinematic Representations of Subaltern Women” August 16, 2010. Wide Screen. 2009.