ohira [at] tsuru [dot] ac [dot] jp
Professor of English
(Oct 1, 2016 Nov 30, 2016)
Rabindranath Tagore’s Women with a Desiring Gaze
Domestic violence against women exists wherever power is abused to control women, but it is acute in male-dominated Indian society, where women themselves internalize a suppressive idea of womanhood, based on the Laws of Manu. The victims do not raise their voices because they have been fed the idea of an ideal womanhood codified in this Laws. We need diversified female role models with a dauntless spirit. We find not only in modern Indian fiction but also Rabindranath Tagore’s narratives many women with a desiring gaze. Rabindranath Tagore repeatedly delineates many widows, in love and fearless women who have a desire for knowledge, desiring freedom from oppressive domestic life. He was a pioneer in depicting female sexuality. Tagore deserves more attention for his efforts to show how a woman could be undauntedly faithful to her sense of rightfulness. I will examine how a new image of the female body with a desiring gaze is represented in Tagore’s narratives.
Eiko Ohira is Professor of English and Advisor to the President at Tsuru University in Japan. She has worked on British fiction of the 19th and 20th centuries, with particular reference to Wuthering Heights and A Passage to India. She is the author of A Study of Wuthering Heights (1993) and Subjected Subcontinent: Sectarian and Sexual Lines in Indian Writing in English (2016). Her research interest for the last 14 years is Indo-Pakistani partition novels and women’s writing. Recent publications include essays on Rabindranath Tagore’s writing in English and Japanese writing in English in the early 20th century.