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The Treatment of Love
|by Moloy Bhattacharya|
Womanhood and Gender Relationship in the Poetry of Rita Nath Keshari
As blood runs in all directions like a mountain river to explore new landscapes from the above poem, “Beginning Anew” included in the anthology of poems, ‘Anguish And After’, the poetry of Rita Nath Keshari invariably seeks to explore the ubiquitous syndrome of human existence such as treatment of love, life and gender relationships.
bring out the strength and positive attitude of the women especially the new women whose will power weakens the domination of patriarchy that has curbed the freedom of women by imposing restrictions from all directions. The poem in question emphasizes that the power of venom injected by the men will not destroy women for they have been blessed with the power from the Supreme. According to the poet, the poison injected by men for centuries is like an acid test for women who have digested the acid and proved the purity of their souls.
The poem also reflects the spirit of the women. Their feelings, emotions, agony, ecstasy and existence have been neatly unearthed. The last couple of lines of ‘Acid Test’ truly speak volumes of the condition of the Indian women surviving in male dictated society.
Womanhood has acquired a special place in the poetry of Rita Nath Keshari. We are living in a civilized society where the role played the women and their existence as a social being is in no ways inferior to the men, nevertheless we experience almost everywhere in the society that since the time of birth a girl is neglected as a mere liability even by her parents, she is denied equal rights enjoyed by her male siblings. Even her physical complexion and structure come under scanner when she is sold off as a product in the market of marriage along with dowry.
The theme of the majority of the poems by Rita Nath Keshari included in the ‘Anguish and After’ anthology is the celebration of womanhood and gender relationship in various roles under multiple social circumstances. ‘The Widow’ in particular recounts a pathetic story of Uma, a married and employed lady. Death of a relative, friend or dear ones is extremely painful to accept but Uma’s case is astonishingly different. She confesses that the death of her husband offers her an opportunity to live life in her own way and according to her it is the benefit of widowhood. This poem reflects on a very contemporary social discourse that an independent woman can lead her own life freely without any patriarchal domination imposed on her. It is often said that the eternal contribution of the women for the welfare of mankind is a glorious gift of God. The poem in question bears a testimony to this argument. The poem also shows inhuman, mercenary attitude of a mother-in-law who is more interested in grabbing the “booty” from her daughter-in-law soon after the sad demise of her son. The following lines depict the two women in contrasting roles in the contemporary social context.
“Wish- Fulfilment”portrays our fascination for television serials that popularize three pair of gender relationship of our generation. The first pair gets into an affair that turns into marriage with parental blessings like a fairy tale but in honeymoon exposes the frigidity of the bride and the conjugal life further deteriorates to the threat of divorce. The second pair struggles very hard to ‘brave the storm of parental fury' in trying to set up a music company without money. Amid family opposition and dissatisfaction from parents of both sides, the lovers settle for a ‘live-in’ relationship. The third pair narrates the story of childhood friends, but the girl ‘swings sensuously between two men’, ‘swayed by an old flame’. In the end the ‘wronged fiancé’ attempts to commit suicide, fortunately survives and moves singly to the USA. The poem in question explores the nuances of the transition of conjugal relationship of men and women under a thorough observation of the poet.
The poetry of Rita Nath Keshari establishes her as one of the most distinguished woman poets of India ,not because she speaks for the woman issues rather the readers of her poetry fall in love with the unique style of technique and realistic presentation. While going through her poems, one can feel every pulse of the poem and the characters appear physical in front of the readers making them immensely hypnotized to it. To sum up in the words of Dr. V.V. Nirmala, “The poetry of Rita Nath Keshari is alive, it is observant, sharp with an urgency that speaks to the readers directly. It is a unique expression of specific realities.the tone of the poems is sometimes affectionate, at times satirical and also very touching In its concern towards human beings in an age of fast corroding values”.
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