Relocating colonial women in resistance: An interpretation of Rabindranath Tagore’s Nastanirh and chaturanga

T. K. Krishnapriya, Padma Rani, Bashabi Fraser

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The Colonial Bengal of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries was a place of contradictions. For instance, despite certain evident advancements in the resolution of the women's question, some of the emancipatory attempts of the period marked a rather dubious account of women's liberation as patriarchal underpinnings hegemonized the efforts. Amid this complex backdrop, the colonial women’s position is further jeopardized by the western feminist scholarship that contrives colonial third world women as perennial victims and beneficiaries of emancipatory actions from the West. The paper attempts to relocate the colonial women and their resistance by negotiating the fissures in their construction. This study, informed by bell hooks' (1990) postulations on margin and resistance, simultaneously seeks to form a bridge between the experiences of marginalized women beyond borders. Rabindranath Tagore's Nastanirh (1901) and Chaturanga (1916) are chosen for close textual reading to examine the experiences of colonial women. The author's women protagonists often embody the social dilemma of the period. Tagore's Damini and Charu exist in the margin of resistance whilst Nanibala occupies the margin of deprivation. Significantly, Charu and Damini traverse the precarious “profound edges” of the margin to imagine a “new world” free of subjugation. Thus, the resistance offered by these women subverts the predominant conceptions of victimhood of colonial women, and it enables them to be posited as active agents.

Original languageEnglish
JournalRupkatha Journal on Interdisciplinary Studies in Humanities
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 07-2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Arts and Humanities(all)


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