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CHAPTER 3

The novel ‘Inside the Haveli ‘Rama Mehta portrayed
position of women in a family and how it fretted their wings . She different
women character to show the problems faced  by women ,how a woman lacks freedom in Indian
society.

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              ‘Haveli’ is a term which has deep
roots 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 , narrow
mindness,women exploitation ,girls illiteracy and child marriage prevail in
Rajasthan haveli of Udaipur in Rajasthan. India that is symbolic of prevalence of
these bad customs ,rituals and rules all over India . Here  the protagonist Geetha ,who had been the
witness tries to fight for another women’s sake . Here Geetha plays the role of
an anchor used by the novelist to  expose
the suffering of women from different corner of family.

In India girlchild once
considered as bad . In the haveli the complete story female are deprived of
their 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 why
storm become the symbol of revolution. When the two girls in the same night in
different class ,slave and mistress respectively . The discrimination is out
set  . Sita’s father Gangaram predicts to
hear her cry

                  “It is a girl!” Gangaram took
a long puff of his beedi and threw it away in disgust”

 In the ancient social set up of the society
was in full control  of the individuals.Her
life to death and his every activities were scrutinised and sanctioned by
society . She could go beyond that but the people drag them back adding their
customs .Her birth, naming ceremony ,education ,marriage ,parenthood ,old age
even his cremation ceremony were in the control of society.

   In the institution  of marriage is  ofunraveled significance in the life of young people
in India. In the life of  women it is
considered as a point of maturing. It signifies the flowering of life.
According to Dharma Shastra ,marriage is a sacrament . The ideal marriage
however has now got diffused with time and it is being dominated by undisclosed
consideration. According to Simon Beauvoir:

” Marriage is the
destiny traditionally offered by soceity “. It has been pointed out that “history
proves that marriage is essential to the well being of human soceity” . But no
one think beyond that . The Rama Mehta also deals with the pathos of the girls suffering
as consequence of child marriage.

The story  focuses on the life of character Pari”Pari
entered into the haveli at the age ofeight”. So earlyage itself fate made her as
widow” .Another character named Lakshmi’s marriage was at the age of fourteen
to Gangaram . But a man’s misbehaving forced her to leave the haveli and live
alone. It exposes the sad predicament of women in the not only Rajasthan but
also in our society of India . Manji Bhua Sa’s words shows another instance :

                 ” The days and life are long
in het widowed life. She lost her husband at age of fourteen ,                  since then she has been
living in the haveli admitting that it is her fate” (Mehta134)

Geetha who is the
central character is an intelligent, educated who is the central character who
had employed as a lecture in a college and who is later lost the all the opportunities
and become caged bird  . She only accept
it as  a criminality. It exposes sad
predicament of  women in Rajasthan
soceity ,against the odds of the  feudal
system and unjust suppression of feminine wants and rights. At the same time it
never  fails to hint  the strength,courage and determination of
these women though they are shown as the victim or witness of patriarchal
soceity.Almost the remaining whole story of the novel is about Geetha ,who is
brought up in Mumbai city in a free environment where she was free at home as
well as outside. At home , she saw her parents co-operating each other and
outside she had taken her education in co-educational institution . “In her home
free mining of men and women” (Mehta15). When she grew young ,one day a boy
comes to her house with her brother’s friend to see her and she even does  not which boy came to see her and on being
asked she says ‘yes’  to her parents for
marriage. The boy was a professor in physics named Ajay who came from an
aristocratic family of Udaipur. She gets married with him. So we could see the
unequality among  women and men . Before
going to her husbands home her mother generally tells to obey her in laws and talk
less 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 has
she the right to say anything against the rules and regulations set by the
society”

Where
Geetha puts her first step an theplatforms, shefindsher encircled by women. Unexpectedly
one maid comes for ward and pulls Geetha’s sari on her face andexclaimed in horror.

“Where do you come from
that you show your face”(Mehta17)

                After reaching haveli also frequently
heard ” keep your face covered”.Varma’s Art
of Livingexamines by keeping women away from the public sphere, a man assumed
the sole  of provider of financial security
and physical strength also contributed to the image of security. Men have used
both to  frame the rules of feminine  behauiounin society and keep women subordinate
position.

“Geetha had no opportunity
to 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 of
feminism . Simon de  Beauvoir’s concept
of ‘other’ has been beautifully utilized by Rama Mehta. She believes thatmen
compel woman to assume the status of the ‘other’ . In the progress of feminist Elaine
Showalter describes the tradition in her A
Literature of Their Own. She divides the tradition into three phases of
feminine , feminist, and female. Mehta explores and exposes the long smothered
wail of the incarcerated  psyche . It is imprisoned
here 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 .Here
women has to be more than her domestic role ,as a submissive wife ,saying all
the time that she has nothing to worry here.

         ” who said I was not happy? I was only
thinking of you?” 

Her another role as of
obedient daughter-in -law . She by nature is meek and yielding creature. Centuries
of tradition made her so. J. S . Mill’s belief that :

 

“women
often willing to accept their position of subservience ,

because
they have been educated to do so. From  a
young

                    age ,women are conditioned
to accept  their status as ‘other’

Of
men . She is thought to accept the myth of her inferiority to man and

Perceive
herself as an object for the betterment of man and not her own self .

This
is seen in the continued veneration of image of self-sacrificing women in epics
and stories”.

Geetha feels that she
is with out a sense of wholeness of her personality. Integration of her
personality is not attained. An outsider ,she remains untouched by the milieu in
the beginning phase of her married life .

“The flames lit her face
but her eyes  were remote  as if she was somewhere

                           Else and there was a
weriness of her expression”(Mehta 88)

She has no idea of how
to 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 seemed
like little canararies in a cage who sang and twittered but seemed to know no
passion”

Geetha
tries to think of her traditions in the haveli and her modern thoughts . Mehta understands
and reveals the truth :

               ” They followed the tradition of
their families at the bidding of their elders,

               But they lacked the same faith
or commitment to it”.(Mehta 87)

As a women Geetha is
hardly any choice . She fails to arrive at concrete determination . She
recognizes her marginalization as women especially as a daughter in law in the
haveli. The process of ego ,desolation has already begun . She finds herself merging
into others. She experiencing losing boundaries . The authoritative and
dominating 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. It
may 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 feelings
of love and appreciation to her father in law 
, but her despair damped her emotions . From the early age itself girl
should become this  ordered by soceity .
Making her as a machine . Their social conditioning generates slavish attitude
which in turn creates compunction in their psyche ,when they decided to remold
or change or change it ,since her childhood the psyche of a child is moulded in
a particular fashion to incalculate in her all types of feminine qualities.

“Learn to clean and
sweep 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 the
difference that Vijay founds that Sita a willing slave, while hurting the scold
towards 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 soceity
brushing aside all narrow  social conventions.
She tries to discover her real self through her inner and introspective potentiality
that 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 offered
a.  challenge”

Geetha know the
curiosity of her pupils.  She started to
love the large empty rooms of the haveli. They were not unfriendly or like a
cage . The barriers like traditions are to hinder her urge for expression .
This shows Geetha ‘s words:

“Vijay goes to school
and you do not object. Why shouldn’t Sita?”

She is sympathetic
about the problems of the soceity . Her self -assertion has increased as the
becomes aware of the contradiction between her desire to confirm  to a cultural idea of feminine passivity of
a  daughter-in-law and her task of
helping  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 are
presumed not to the exist independently.”

As Rama Mehta herself
observes that the educated  women are  less keen to uphold  older values that they find  repressive harsh and mostly meaningless. Despite
all the disorientation and criticism Geetha succeeds sending Sita to school. Geetha
found her own solution.

“I found stop .girl
from coming”(170)

There was a new favor
in her when she independently solved her own problem , she did not feel the
victim of the prejudice or anything wrong in the social custom. It is  a truth universally acknowledge that women
have been denied existence as complete human beings though they are mentally
physically   equipped to perform at par with men. As
Sushila Singh puts it:

” Human experience for  centuries has been synonym with the musculine
experience with  the result that  collective image of humanity has been one
sided and incomplete.”

           The outcome has been that women are
defined not as a subject but as an entity in connection with man in his real
life or in his fantasy life . So the protogonist in the novel herself confused when
she has to confirm to rigid laid down by manners and etique5ts. The soceity
itself ,in those years when Rama Mehta has written the book was passing through
the birth pamgs of tradition from tradition to modernity . In such a period to give
a voice to the suffering of women and present injustice heaped on them is a
difficult task.

 

 

 

Geetha the protogonist who
plays rolls like  daughter ,wife,
daughter in law, mother . It shows  that
she has no her own identity.Mahadevi Varma points it out it.

               Women in Indian soceity faces
identity crisis . Rama Mehta shows it through her characters. She explained
characters name with there husbands, forinstance, BhagwatSing’s wife , Sangram
Sing’s wife, etc. Rama Mehta feels that women have a tremendous inner strength she
wants to translate this inner strength into something positive a real strength.

            Here, Indian quite representation of
the basic Indian culture . It is a note of hope with the protogonist . She
asserts 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 is
a proof  if her individuality , she
breaks traditional ground wherever she necessary.

 She takes complete  care to delineate her presence as one shows
it with courage and conviction of rationate and accountability to be a mistress
of the haveli  . She emerges as an intelligent
attractive and wholly practical woman. She understands the relationship with
all its consequence and confident as well that she is not stretching her moral
obligations. It is suggested that a modern educated woman like Geetha should
pursue some meaning full activity with in the Presently of her household in
order to find happiness and contement as well as her rights , desires struggles
and victories all together . It is Geetha ‘s voice about her thoughts and
feelings that we near in India the Haveli.

 

 

 

 

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