CHAPTER 3The novel ‘Inside the Haveli ‘Rama Mehta portrayedposition of women in a family and how it fretted their wings . She differentwomen character to show the problems faced by women ,how a woman lacks freedom in Indiansociety. ‘Haveli’ is a term which has deeproots in the tradition and life of Rajasthan. The Persian word means ‘a surrounded or enclosed place’ which itself in a pessimistic mood .The story delineatesa few bad customs like purdah – tradition , narrowmindness,women exploitation ,girls illiteracy and child marriage prevail inRajasthan haveli of Udaipur in Rajasthan. India that is symbolic of prevalence ofthese bad customs ,rituals and rules all over India . Here the protagonist Geetha ,who had been thewitness tries to fight for another women’s sake .
Here Geetha plays the role ofan anchor used by the novelist to exposethe suffering of women from different corner of family. In India girlchild onceconsidered as bad . In the haveli the complete story female are deprived oftheir rights and liberty and where the birth of girl child considered as bad.The birth of two girls proved really turbulent for the family and that’s whystorm become the symbol of revolution. When the two girls in the same night indifferent class ,slave and mistress respectively .
The discrimination is outset . Sita’s father Gangaram predicts tohear her cry “It is a girl!” Gangaram tooka long puff of his beedi and threw it away in disgust” In the ancient social set up of the societywas in full control of the individuals.Herlife to death and his every activities were scrutinised and sanctioned bysociety . She could go beyond that but the people drag them back adding theircustoms .Her birth, naming ceremony ,education ,marriage ,parenthood ,old ageeven his cremation ceremony were in the control of society.
In the institution of marriage is ofunraveled significance in the life of young peoplein India. In the life of women it isconsidered as a point of maturing. It signifies the flowering of life.According to Dharma Shastra ,marriage is a sacrament . The ideal marriagehowever has now got diffused with time and it is being dominated by undisclosedconsideration. According to Simon Beauvoir:” Marriage is thedestiny traditionally offered by soceity “. It has been pointed out that “historyproves that marriage is essential to the well being of human soceity” . But noone think beyond that .
The Rama Mehta also deals with the pathos of the girls sufferingas consequence of child marriage.The story focuses on the life of character Pari”Parientered into the haveli at the age ofeight”. So earlyage itself fate made her aswidow” .Another character named Lakshmi’s marriage was at the age of fourteento Gangaram . But a man’s misbehaving forced her to leave the haveli and livealone. It exposes the sad predicament of women in the not only Rajasthan butalso in our society of India .
Manji Bhua Sa’s words shows another instance : ” The days and life are longin het widowed life. She lost her husband at age of fourteen , since then she has beenliving in the haveli admitting that it is her fate” (Mehta134)Geetha who is thecentral character is an intelligent, educated who is the central character whohad employed as a lecture in a college and who is later lost the all the opportunitiesand become caged bird . She only acceptit as a criminality.
It exposes sadpredicament of women in Rajasthansoceity ,against the odds of the feudalsystem and unjust suppression of feminine wants and rights. At the same time itnever fails to hint the strength,courage and determination ofthese women though they are shown as the victim or witness of patriarchalsoceity.Almost the remaining whole story of the novel is about Geetha ,who isbrought up in Mumbai city in a free environment where she was free at home aswell as outside. At home , she saw her parents co-operating each other andoutside she had taken her education in co-educational institution . “In her homefree mining of men and women” (Mehta15).
When she grew young ,one day a boycomes to her house with her brother’s friend to see her and she even does not which boy came to see her and on beingasked she says ‘yes’ to her parents formarriage. The boy was a professor in physics named Ajay who came from anaristocratic family of Udaipur. She gets married with him. So we could see theunequality among women and men . Beforegoing to her husbands home her mother generally tells to obey her in laws and talkless for a successful married family life. Here can see the cut of freedom of speaking.
Mahadevi Varma proves it by saying:”Neither doe the women have a right to formulate any goal for her life nor hasshe the right to say anything against the rules and regulations set by thesociety”WhereGeetha puts her first step an theplatforms, shefindsher encircled by women. Unexpectedlyone maid comes for ward and pulls Geetha’s sari on her face andexclaimed in horror.”Where do you come fromthat you show your face”(Mehta17) After reaching haveli also frequentlyheard ” keep your face covered”.Varma’s Artof Livingexamines by keeping women away from the public sphere, a man assumedthe sole of provider of financial securityand physical strength also contributed to the image of security. Men have usedboth to frame the rules of feminine behauiounin society and keep women subordinateposition.”Geetha had no opportunityto buy books”This shows in marriage, women have to adjust in a totally new world.
As Ajay tries to console her.Through his words can understand Ajay is reflection of conventional husband. Rama Mehta carries the true spirit offeminism . Simon de Beauvoir’s conceptof ‘other’ has been beautifully utilized by Rama Mehta.
She believes thatmencompel woman to assume the status of the ‘other’ . In the progress of feminist ElaineShowalter describes the tradition in her ALiterature of Their Own. She divides the tradition into three phases offeminine , feminist, and female. Mehta explores and exposes the long smotheredwail of the incarcerated psyche . It is imprisonedhere in the strong walled compounds of haveli. ‘ Today haveli has many courtyards with many rooms”.Here we have the family in which Geetha lives lost to its centrifugal needs .
Herewomen has to be more than her domestic role ,as a submissive wife ,saying allthe time that she has nothing to worry here. ” who said I was not happy? I was onlythinking of you?” Her another role as ofobedient daughter-in -law . She by nature is meek and yielding creature. Centuriesof tradition made her so. J.
S . Mill’s belief that : “womenoften willing to accept their position of subservience ,becausethey have been educated to do so. From ayoung age ,women are conditionedto accept their status as ‘other’Ofmen . She is thought to accept the myth of her inferiority to man and Perceiveherself as an object for the betterment of man and not her own self .Thisis seen in the continued veneration of image of self-sacrificing women in epicsand stories”.Geetha feels that sheis with out a sense of wholeness of her personality. Integration of herpersonality is not attained.
An outsider ,she remains untouched by the milieu inthe beginning phase of her married life . “The flames lit her facebut her eyes were remote as if she was somewhere Else and there was aweriness of her expression”(Mehta 88)She has no idea of howto behave . This is the situation of a women .
They feel they enter into a new world, it is her second birth . Even after many years and surprised.”They never expressed an opinion and never revealed their feelings . They seemedlike little canararies in a cage who sang and twittered but seemed to know nopassion”Geethatries to think of her traditions in the haveli and her modern thoughts . Mehta understandsand reveals the truth : ” They followed the tradition oftheir families at the bidding of their elders, But they lacked the same faithor commitment to it”.(Mehta 87)As a women Geetha ishardly any choice .
She fails to arrive at concrete determination . Sherecognizes her marginalization as women especially as a daughter in law in thehaveli. The process of ego ,desolation has already begun . She finds herself merginginto others. She experiencing losing boundaries . The authoritative anddominating male voices in the haveli is of BhagavatSingh Ji’s .
It has suppressed the female voice of articulation .Still Geetha feels strange in the haveli though the in laws are considerate. Itmay be helplessness of the customs binding people “Even often seven years I am a stranger to those who are mine and I will always remain stranger” ( p.
103) She always expressed to her feelingsof love and appreciation to her father in law , but her despair damped her emotions . From the early age itself girlshould become this ordered by soceity .Making her as a machine . Their social conditioning generates slavish attitudewhich in turn creates compunction in their psyche ,when they decided to remoldor change or change it ,since her childhood the psyche of a child is moulded ina particular fashion to incalculate in her all types of feminine qualities.
“Learn to clean andsweep or ever the mistress will have no use for you”Then the situation of Sita and Vijay are different. Because they both belong different class ,while Vijay going to school a question arises in her mind: “.If I can go to school,then why cant Sita?”Here shows thedifference that Vijay founds that Sita a willing slave, while hurting the scoldtowards Sita. They even slapped her. The novel explores the inner self of Geetha who symbolizes the’new women’ .
She is educated and lives in close association with soceitybrushing aside all narrow social conventions.She tries to discover her real self through her inner and introspective potentialitythat is her classes. She is free to talk about her cage self. “It was not just that the classes filled the empty hours but they also offereda. challenge”Geetha know thecuriosity of her pupils.
She started tolove the large empty rooms of the haveli. They were not unfriendly or like acage . The barriers like traditions are to hinder her urge for expression .
This shows Geetha ‘s words:”Vijay goes to schooland you do not object. Why shouldn’t Sita?”She is sympatheticabout the problems of the soceity . Her self -assertion has increased as thebecomes aware of the contradiction between her desire to confirm to a cultural idea of feminine passivity ofa daughter-in-law and her task ofhelping those who are needy with her classes . Miller observes that:” when one is an object,not a subject, all of one’s ownphysical sexual impulses and interests arepresumed not to the exist independently.
“As Rama Mehta herselfobserves that the educated women are less keen to uphold older values that they find repressive harsh and mostly meaningless. Despiteall the disorientation and criticism Geetha succeeds sending Sita to school. Geethafound her own solution. “I found stop .girlfrom coming”(170)There was a new favorin her when she independently solved her own problem , she did not feel thevictim of the prejudice or anything wrong in the social custom. It is a truth universally acknowledge that womenhave been denied existence as complete human beings though they are mentallyphysically equipped to perform at par with men.
AsSushila Singh puts it:” Human experience for centuries has been synonym with the musculineexperience with the result that collective image of humanity has been onesided and incomplete.” The outcome has been that women aredefined not as a subject but as an entity in connection with man in his reallife or in his fantasy life . So the protogonist in the novel herself confused whenshe has to confirm to rigid laid down by manners and etique5ts. The soceityitself ,in those years when Rama Mehta has written the book was passing throughthe birth pamgs of tradition from tradition to modernity . In such a period to givea voice to the suffering of women and present injustice heaped on them is adifficult task. Geetha the protogonist whoplays rolls like daughter ,wife,daughter in law, mother .
It shows thatshe has no her own identity.Mahadevi Varma points it out it. Women in Indian soceity facesidentity crisis . Rama Mehta shows it through her characters.
She explainedcharacters name with there husbands, forinstance, BhagwatSing’s wife , SangramSing’s wife, etc. Rama Mehta feels that women have a tremendous inner strength shewants to translate this inner strength into something positive a real strength. Here, Indian quite representation ofthe basic Indian culture . It is a note of hope with the protogonist . Sheasserts herself as an individual and putting an end to her doubt about herself. She is able to hold her own in a hose hold full of tradition -bound, royal,dignified ,noble and well mannered numbers of her family in the haveli . It isa proof if her individuality , shebreaks traditional ground wherever she necessary.
She takes complete care to delineate her presence as one showsit with courage and conviction of rationate and accountability to be a mistressof the haveli . She emerges as an intelligentattractive and wholly practical woman. She understands the relationship withall its consequence and confident as well that she is not stretching her moralobligations.
It is suggested that a modern educated woman like Geetha shouldpursue some meaning full activity with in the Presently of her household inorder to find happiness and contement as well as her rights , desires strugglesand victories all together . It is Geetha ‘s voice about her thoughts andfeelings that we near in India the Haveli. .