Sunday, June 07, 2015

An excerpt from the Introduction to Unbound

Editors and writers, male and female, have equated domestic themes with dullness, or the lack of imaginative daring. In fact, there was a time when I (and I’m squirming as I write this) used to say that I didn’t care much for ‘kitchenized’ fiction. It took me over a year of exclusively reading women writers to realize how deep and strong the roots of my own bias were and how foolish our undermining of ‘domestic’ fiction.
Of course it’s domestic! Patriarchy is nothing if not domestic. Besides, there is more sex, violence, politics and overall drama in the average household than, say, the average office. Why are we surprised if domestic settings are chosen for fiction? From such settings emerge stories of great rebellion, and poetry that directly challenges the myths fed to us over thousands of years.
Hindi writer Krishna Sobti had once said in an interview that she wants to have fun, to live and not just write. She also said that families and marriages were anti-art, anti-writing. Yet, it is marriage and family that form the basis of her own writing. Her delicately crafted, aurally delicious novel Dil-o-Danish (translated as ‘The Heart has its Reasons’) is firmly domestic. It tells of endless manoeuvring by women as they struggle for economic security and personal dignity. And while the bold reclamation of a woman’s sexuality was one aspect of her novel Mitro Marjani (To Hell With You, Mitro), it was also the story of a joint family.
A longer excerpt from my introduction to Unbound: 2,000 Years of Indian Women's Writing can be found here: Editors and writers, male and female, have equated domestic themes with dullness, or the lack of imaginative daring. In fact, there was a time when I (and I’m squirming as I write this) used to say that I didn’t care much for ‘kitchenized’ fiction. It took me over a year of exclusively reading women writers to realize how deep and strong the roots of my own bias were and how foolish our undermining of ‘domestic’ fiction.
Of course it’s domestic! Patriarchy is nothing if not domestic. Besides, there is more sex, violence, politics and overall drama in the average household than, say, the average office. Why are we surprised if domestic settings are chosen for fiction? From such settings emerge stories of great rebellion, and poetry that directly challenges the myths fed to us over thousands of years.
Hindi writer Krishna Sobti had once said in an interview that she wants to have fun, to live and not just write. She also said that families and marriages were anti-art, anti-writing. Yet, it is marriage and family that form the basis of her own writing. Her delicately crafted, aurally delicious novel Dil-o-Danish (translated as ‘The Heart has its Reasons’) is firmly domestic. It tells of endless manoeuvring by women as they struggle for economic security and personal dignity. And while the bold reclamation of a woman’s sexuality was one aspect of her novel Mitro Marjani (To Hell With You, Mitro), it was also the story of a joint family.

More of the Introduction excerpted here: http://www.livemint.com/Leisure/RFTsUHoRDcxJroUmmFXJsJ/Excerpt--Unbound-Edited-by-Annie-Zaidi.html

2 comments:

Deepak Garg said...

Double copied :-)

Annie Zaidi said...

Doubly glad

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