Women’s Voices in Indian English Poetry
Though the feminist writer claims,’Women are one half of the sky’,but history witnesses anguish and agony of women. They have been kept away from basic needs and fundamental rights and their world have been merely treated as an object of sensual satisfaction. Indian women poets reveal the mind boggling variety of theme as well as that poetry is capable of offering. Toru Dutt,Sarojini Naidu,Kamala Das,Imtiaz Dharkar –these poets have often raised their voices against social and cultural conventions that blocks their freedom.
They believe that women need to explore their collective consciousness and shared experience in order to transcend the fragmentation and isolation of their lives. Toru Dutt was the first Indian women poet to write in English and her work depicts archetypes of Indian womanhood such as ‘Sita’ and ‘Savitri’,showing women in suffering. Sarajini Naidu is most lyrical woman poet of India. Her poetry reflects involvement with Indian life. Love is the prominent theme of her poetry where women are shown as a sacred beloved who are ready to surrender before their lovers, ‘If you call me,I will come
Swifter o my love Than a trembling forest deer Or a panting dove’ Kamala Das has opened new dimension in the field of recent Indian English Poetry. Her confessional poetry was the exploration of the man –woman relationship. Her ‘My Story’ contains an open statement about poet’s effort to defined expose the prison in which she finds herself trapped. The predominant theme is the difficulty of being a woman in Indian society and finding love. She also attempts to explore the quest for self identity and the stark reality within and around her.
In ‘An Introduction’-she writes, “…why not let me speak in /Any language,I like? The language I speak/Becomes mine,its distortion,its querness/All mine,mine Alone…”. In ‘I shall some day’Das talks about her will for freedom- ‘I shall some day leave,leave the cocoon You built around me with morning tea … I shall some day take wings,fly around as often petals , Do when free in air,…’ Mamta kalia’s poems on love,marriage,family life and society are noticeable for freshness,irony ,wit,and satire but most of all for her feminist concern.
She exposes ruthlessly the contemporary chaotic condition in Indian society. The poetry of Sujata Mudayil is poetry of experience and an insight to life. ’Women’s Loneliness ‘ mirrors the feminine longings for perfection and search for joys of tomorrow that end in loanliness. In Imtiaz Dharkar’s poem ‘Purdah’ she finds different meanings in purdah at different times. It is obviously ‘a kind of safety/The body finds a place to hide’but she also points out the another meaning of it’ the purdah of the mind’.
To fight for the dignity and true emancipation of women is the most difficult task especially because it involves values and attitudes that are deep rooted not only in the minds of men but also in the consciousness of women. So many women poets other than the above mentioned ,Sujata Bhatt ,Monika Verma they are all trying to establish their views on the position of women through their writings. Mamta kalia in ‘My hour of discontent’ tells that she finds some kind of emancipation from her inner turmoil through writing to fight against oppression.