the novel ‘Inside the Haveli ‘Rama
Mehta portrays position and emplacement of women in a family and how it fretted
their wings. She portrayed different women characters to show the problems faced
by women, how a woman conditioned in Indian society.
‘Haveli’ is a term which has deep
roots in the tradition and life of Rajasthan. The word derived from Persian which
means ‘a encompassing or encircled place’ which itself in a pessimistic mood. The
story delineates a few bad customs like purdah – tradition, narrow mindness,
women exploitation, girls illiteracy and child marriage prevail in Haveli of
Udaipur in Rajasthan. India is representative
of commonness 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 angle 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 set out.
Sita’s father Gangaram predicts by 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 early age 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:
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 husband’s 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
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”
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.
do you come from that you show your face”(Mehta17)
After reaching haveli also frequently
heard ” keep your face covered”. Varma’s
Art of Living examines 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
“Geetha had no opportunity
to buy books”
This shows in marriage,
women have to adjust in a totally new world. 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 that men 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
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 :
often willing to accept their position of subservience ,
they have been educated to do so. From a
age ,women are conditioned
to accept their status as ‘other’
men . She is thought to accept the myth of her inferiority to man and
herself as an object for the betterment of man and not her own self .