Asian the individual in society, his ability or failure

Asian women writers engaged themselves
in the task of to discuss the issues of empowerment and disempowerment,
highlight the tensions between a modern and tradition woman, to promote the
ideas of development to alleviate subjugation of women in socio-cultural

Mitra Phukan is one such Asian woman writer
who strives for the achievement of women’s liberation. She probes into a
reflection of the disturbed psyche of women who are victims of alienation and
male dominance. Her work The Collector’s Wife is
a symptomatic reading of the text through a postcolonial feminist lens. The
gendered realities existing amidst insurgency issues, student unrest, border
crossing, trouble in the tea gardens is the main thrust of the novel that makes
possible a probing of feminine experience in terms of identity, ethnicity,
gender, language and dispossession.

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central theme of her novel, The
Collector’s Wife is the existential predicament of women as an individual.
She projects this phenomenon through incompatible couple, in actuality,
sensitive wife but insensitive and un-understanding husband. Her fictional
milieu is the India in transition with its cultural and ethical values in the
melting pot. In this novel, one could sense the urge for a way of living, which
would respond to the inner most yearning of the India women for
self-emancipation and self-dignity.


influence of psychology on the analysis of human behaviour and as a consequence
in literature the portrayal of character in their psychoanalytic aspect owes
much to the findings of Freud. Psychoanalysis is the most widely recognised
theory in psychology having been integrated into our culture through novels,
poetry, drama and film criticism. According to the psychoanalytical view, the
human individual is regarded as the recipient of the turbulent intra psychic
impulses struggling to be set free. These are inner and unknown desires and
urges, to which the person is inherently subject but continually defends
against it.

attempts to discuss and explain the success or failure of the individual in
society, his ability or failure to establish satisfying relationships with
others, his character and character disturbances. It is concerned with the
dynamics of interpersonal relations and with the way the self is formed through
interactions with the familial and socio cultural environment.

In the novel, The Collector’s Wife psychoanalysis was used very well by Mitra
Phukan. The character of Rukmini is enveloped in loneliness. Rukmini’s
existence is affected by both internal and external riots. Rukmini’s husband
Siddharth, the collector, is totally engrossed in his work, especially tackling
the problems of insurgency and protest rallies. With a good bungalow in a
beautiful location and servants for all her daily chores, Rukmini is left with
not much work. So she misses the company and concern of her husband, they do
not have a child. But Siddharth does not seem to have any interest in anything
of household matter. Rukmini works as a part time lecturer in a college, she
seems to be frustrated trying to teach English to the students, who would not
show any interest in learning literature. This kind of loneliness, frustration
moves her into depression and the feeling of insecurity.She
has beautifully and effectively portrays the truthful picture of the plight of
Indian women, their great suffering, cares and anxieties, their humble
submission and persecution. It shows the women’s struggle for seeking the sense
of ‘identity’ in a totally averse and envious society. Arundhati has taken up
the issue of feminism to fight for their identity and economic and social
freedom. A female character in her novels stands out as persons and not as
role-players. Her novels clearly show the untold miseries and the undeserved
sufferings of women who have to bear the brunt of male domination silently and
meekly. She transcends the ordinary concept of feminism.

 Nayantara Sahgal
works are Rich Like Us (1985),
Mistaken Identity (1988), A Situation in New Delhi (1989). As
a writer with feminist concerns, she is a progeny of the tradition wherein
power itself is deified as goddess ‘sakti’, a female symbol.  A political theme is often combined to the
theme of man-woman relationship, their marital problems, their temperamental
incompatibility, the problems arising out of their submissiveness and finally
the place of a woman in society. Sahgal seems to be deeply concerned with the
need of freedom for women and makes gender issues central to her writings. Her
novels deal with men and women, especially women struggling against oppression
and injustice heaped upon them in the name of tradition and culture. The
emphasis is laid on how in the male dominated society woman struggles to find
her individual existence.

                          Girish Karnad works are Tughlaq (1964),
Hayavadana (1972), Nagamandala (1988). He discusses various
philosophical and theoretical aspects of women who struggle audaciously against
patriarchy, male dominance and gender discourse. The lives of women have
been manipulated by the patriarchy in all ages and cultures, undoubtedly in
different ways by prescribing values, norms, gender roles and ethics to keep
the male dominance at the top. He critically evaluated the mind and behaviour
of his female protagonists in a collective perspective, impact of the
patriarchy, women’s endeavour to fulfil their desires final crises and their
extinction from their world.

              Mitra Phukan is interested in the exploration
of female psyche dealing with thoughts, emotions and sensations at various
level of the inner consciousness of
her women protagonist and explores the reality of her life. However, she find a
way out by self-discovery and introspection. Her novel instances
are exemplary of postcolonial feminism.
She primarily exemplifies the internal dramatic play of livelihood in her
fiction, and centres on its primary truths, her imaginative module in
researching the wider psychical and mental states of the character. Her work The Collector’s Wife depicted the
internal inhabits of susceptible women who are in everlasting seeking for
significance of life.In her
novel, The Collector’s Wife, Mitra Phukan introduced the world to
the students agitation in the 70s and 80s, the illegal migration from
Bangladesh and a full blown insurgency. Rukmini, the wife of the collector of
parbatpuri in Assam, is an MA in English literature and works as a part time
lecturer in a college there. Siddharth Bezboruah, the collector, is totally
engrossed in his work, especially tackling the problems of insurgency, protest
rallies and riots in which Rukmini’s students also take an active part. With a
good Bungalow in a beautiful location and servants for all her daily chores and
maintenance of the bungalow, Rukmini is left with not much work. Though she
tries to keep herself engaged, she misses the company and concern of her
husband. They are almost indifferent to each other. Married for ten years, they
do not have a child and that worries mother-in-law. She advises them to decide
on their family even if it is adoption. But Siddharth does not seem to have any
interest in anything that is a household matter. This neglect of Siddharth
forces Rukmini to succumb to a relation with a chance acquaintance, Manoj
Mahanta and later, to her horror, she finds that her husband has a relation
with her colleague Priyam Deka. The story continues to bring to light the riots
and its effects in general and particularly on the protagonist’s life.

helps to analyze the total personality of a person on a rational basis with
definite results. Elementary emotions, feelings and passions are very
important. However, the causes of frustration, conflict, anxiety and agony in
social dwellings have increased due to so many economic, political and cultural
factors. Rukmini’s life explained the realities of married life, but in vain.
Her dream world had shattered and she felt depressed. She wanted to be mother
of child, but it was fated otherwise. Rukmini has an obsession for love and
concern from her husband and to become a mother of a child that drives and
forces her to succumb to a relation with Manoj. So this relation is unnatural,
unethical and unacceptable to society. 

psychological problems faced by Rukmini are frustration, loneliness, conflict,
anxiety, agony, tension etc. In this novel, The
collector’s Wife Rukmini epitomizes the women’s psyche. She is a challenge
to the stereotypical character of Assamese society. Rukmini seems patience and
tolerance incarnate and sometimes uncomplaining but at the same time, she
emerges out as strong individual challenging all traditional taboos. She
doesn’t want to identify herself only as the collector’s wife. She attempts to
subvert the traditional mind set of a woman character, which is not centred
with the world of domesticity, giving birth, nurturing. But Rukmini’s boldness
against the patriarchal norms has been diminished. In spite of her married
life, somewhere she feels loneliness, ache of losing her motherhood and her own

The Collector’s Wife is the existential predicament of women as an individual.
Rukmini is a person who has shut herself up with
all her troubles, a childless woman, Siddharth’s silence and a stranger Manoj for
whom Rukmini is falling comes to live in Parbatpuri on a company’s sales
assignment. A critical analysis is made on the exploration of female psyche dealing with thoughts,
emotions and sensations at various level of the
inner consciousness of Rukmini and explores the reality of her life.




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