Inthe novel ‘Inside the Haveli ‘RamaMehta portrays position and emplacement of women in a family and how it frettedtheir wings. She portrayed different women characters to show the problems facedby women, how a woman conditioned in Indian society. ‘Haveli’ is a term which has deeproots in the tradition and life of Rajasthan. The word derived from Persian whichmeans ‘a encompassing or encircled place’ which itself in a pessimistic mood. Thestory delineates a few bad customs like purdah – tradition, narrow mindness,women exploitation, girls illiteracy and child marriage prevail in Haveli ofUdaipur in Rajasthan. India is representativeof commonness of these bad customs, rituals and rules all over India.
Here theprotagonist Geetha, who had been the witness, tries to fight for another women’ssake. Here Geetha plays the role of an anchor used by the novelist to exposethe suffering of women from different angle of family. In India girlchild onceconsidered as bad. In the haveli the complete story female are deprived oftheir rights and liberty and where the birth of girl child considered as bad.The birth of two girls proved really turbulent for the family and that’s whystorm become the symbol of revolution, when the two girls in the same night indifferent class, slave and mistress respectively. The discrimination is set out.Sita’s father Gangaram predicts by hear her cry “It is a girl!” Gangaram tooka long puff of his beedi and threw it away in disgust” In the ancient social set up of the societywas in full control of the individuals.Herlife to death and his every activities were scrutinised and sanctioned bysociety .
She could go beyond that but the people drag them back adding theircustoms .Her birth, naming ceremony ,education ,marriage ,parenthood ,old ageeven his cremation ceremony were in the control of society. In the institution of marriage isofunraveled significance in the life of young people in India. In the life ofwomen it is considered as a point of maturing. It signifies the flowering oflife.
According to Dharma Shastra, marriage is a sacrament. The ideal marriagehowever has now got diffused with time and it is being dominated by undisclosedconsideration. According to Simon Beauvoir:”Marriage is thedestiny traditionally offered by soceity “. It has been pointed out that “historyproves that marriage is essential to the well being of human soceity”.
But noone think beyond that. The Rama Mehta also deals with the pathos of the girls sufferingas consequence of child marriage.The story focuses onthe life of character Pari “Pari entered into the haveli at the age ofeight”.So early age itself fate made her as widow” .
Another character named Lakshmi’smarriage was at the age of fourteen to Gangaram. But a man’s misbehaving forcedher to leave the haveli and live alone. It exposes the sad predicament of womenin the not only Rajasthan but also in our society of India. Manji Bhua Sa’swords shows another instance:”Thedays and life are long in het widowed life. She lost her husband at age of fourteen,since then she has been living in the haveli admitting that it is her fate” (Mehta134)Geetha who is thecentral character is an intelligent, educated who is the central character whohad employed as a lecture in a college and who is later lost the all the opportunitiesand become caged bird .
She only acceptit as a criminality. It exposes sad predicament of women in Rajasthan soceity,against the odds of the feudal systemand unjust suppression of feminine wants and rights. At the same time it never fails to hint the strength,courage and determination ofthese women though they are shown as the victim or witness of patriarchalsoceity.Almost the remaining whole story of the novel is about Geetha ,who isbrought up in Mumbai city in a free environment where she was free at home aswell as outside. At home, she saw her parents co-operating each other andoutside she had taken her education in co-educational institution. “In her home free mining of men and women”(Mehta15). When she grew young ,one day a boy comes to her house with herbrother’s friend to see her and she even does not which boy came to see her and on beingasked she says ‘yes’ to her parents formarriage.
The boy was a professor in physics named Ajay who came from anaristocratic family of Udaipur. She gets married with him. So we could see theunequality among women and men. Before going to her husband’s home her mothergenerally tells to obey her in laws and talk less for a successful married familylife. Here can see the cut of freedom of speaking. Mahadevi Varma proves it bysaying:”Neitherdoe the women have a right to formulate any goal for her life nor has she theright to say anything against the rules and regulations set by the society”WhereGeetha puts her first step an theplatforms, shefindsher encircled by women. Unexpectedlyone maid comes for ward and pulls Geetha’s sari on her face andexclaimed in horror.”Wheredo you come from that you show your face”(Mehta17) After reaching haveli also frequentlyheard ” keep your face covered”.
Varma’sArt of Living examines by keeping womenaway from the public sphere, a man assumed the sole of provider of financial securityand physical strength also contributed to the image of security. Men have usedboth to frame the rules of feminine behauiounin society and keep women subordinateposition.”Geetha had no opportunityto buy books”This shows in marriage,women have to adjust in a totally new world. Ajay tries to console her through his words canunderstand Ajay is reflection of conventional husband. Rama Mehta carries the true spirit of feminism.Simon de Beauvoir’s concept of ‘other’ has been beautifully utilized by RamaMehta. She believes that men compel woman to assume the status of the ‘other’ .In the progress of feminist Elaine Showalter describes the tradition in her A Literature of Their Own.
She dividesthe tradition into three phases of feminine, feminist, and female. Mehtaexplores and exposes the long smothered wail of the incarcerated psyche. It is imprisonedhere in the strong walled compounds of haveli. ‘Today haveli has manycourtyards with many rooms”. Here we have the family in which Geetha lives lostto its centrifugal needs .Here women has to be more than her domestic role ,asa submissive wife ,saying all the time that she has nothing to worry here.
“who said I was not happy? I was only thinkingof you?” Her another role as ofobedient daughter-in -law. She by nature is meek and yielding creature. Centuriesof tradition made her so.
J. S . Mill’s belief that : “Womenoften willing to accept their position of subservience ,becausethey have been educated to do so. From ayoung age ,women are conditionedto accept their status as ‘other’Ofmen . She is thought to accept the myth of her inferiority to man and Perceiveherself as an object for the betterment of man and not her own self .Thisis seen in the continued veneration of image of self-sacrificing women in epicsand stories”.
Geetha feels that sheis with out a sense of wholeness of her personality. Integration of herpersonality is not attained. An outsider, she remains untouched by the milieu inthe beginning phase of her married life . “The flames lit her facebut her eyes were remote as if she was somewhere Else and there was aweriness of her expression”(Mehta 88)She has no idea of howto behave. This is the situation of a women .They feel they enter into a new world,it is her second birth . Even after many years and surprised.”Theynever expressed an opinion and never revealed their feelings .
They seemed likelittle canararies in a cage who sang and twittered but seemed to know nopassion”Geethatries to think of her traditions in the haveli and her modern thoughts . Mehta understandsand reveals the truth: “They followed the tradition of theirfamilies at the bidding of their elders, But they lacked the same faithor commitment to it”.(Mehta 87)As a women Geetha ishardly any choice. She fails to arrive at concrete determination. Sherecognizes her marginalization as women especially as a daughter in law in thehaveli.
The process of ego, desolation has already begun. She finds herself merginginto others. She experiences losing boundaries. The authoritative anddominating male voices in the haveli are of BhagavatSingh Ji’s. It hassuppressed the female voice of articulation. Still Geetha feels strange in thehaveli though the in laws are considerate.
It may be helplessness of thecustoms binding people “Even often seven years I am a stranger tothose who are mine and I will always remain stranger” ( p. 103) She always expressed to her feelingsof love and appreciation to her father in law, but her despair damped her emotions.From the early age itself girls are condition according to law created byearlier society making them as a machine. Their social conditioning generatesslavish attitude which in turn creates compunction in their psyche, when theydecided to remold or change or change it, since her childhood the psyche of achild is moulded in a particular fashion to incalculate in her all types offeminine qualities.
“Learn to clean andsweep or ever the mistress will have no use for you”Then the situation ofSita and Vijay are different. Becausethey both belong different class, while Vijay going to school a question arisesin her mind: “.If I can go to school, then why can’t Sita?”Here shows thedifference that Vijay founds that Sita a willing slave, while hurting the scoldtowards Sita. They even slapped her. The novel explores the inner self ofGeetha who symbolizes the ‘new women’. She is educated and lives in closeassociation with soceity brushing aside all narrow social conventions. Shetries to discover her real self through her inner and introspective potentialitythat is her classes.
She is free to talk about her cage self. “Itwas not just that the classes filled the empty hours but they also offereda. challenge”Geetha know thecuriosity of her pupils. She started tolove the large empty rooms of the haveli. They were not unfriendly or like a cage.The barriers like traditions are to hinder her urge for expression. This shows Geetha’swords:”Vijay goes to schooland you do not object.
Why shouldn’t Sita?”She is sympatheticabout the problems of the soceity. Her self -assertion has increased as thebecomes aware of the contradiction between her desire to confirm to a culturalidea of feminine passivity of a daughter-in-law and her task of helping thosewho are needy with her classes. Miller observes that:”When one is an object,not a subject, all of one’s ownphysical sexual impulses and interests arepresumed not to exist independently.”As Rama Mehta she observesthat the educated women are less keen to uphold older values that they findrepressive harsh and mostly meaningless. Despite all the disorientation and criticismGeetha succeeds sending Sita to school. Geetha found her own solution. “I found stop .
girlfrom coming”(170)There was a new favorin her when she independently solved her own problem, she did not feel thevictim of the prejudice or anything wrong in the social custom. It is a truthuniversally acknowledges that women have been denied existence as completehuman beings though they are mentally physically equippedto perform at par with men. As Sushila Singh puts it:”Human experience forcenturies has been synonym with the musculine experience with the result that collective image of humanity has been onesided and incomplete.
” The outcome has been that women aredefined not as a subject but as an entity in connection with man in his reallife or in his fantasy life. So the protogonist in the novel herself confused whenshe has to confirm to rigid lay down by manners and etique5ts. The soceityitself ,in those years when Rama Mehta has written the book was passing throughthe birth pamgs of tradition from tradition to modernity . In such a period to givea voice to the suffering of women and present injustice heaped on them is adifficult task. Geetha the protogonist who plays rolls like daughter, wife, anddaughter in law, mother.
It shows that she has no her own identity.Mahadevi Varmapoints it out it.Women in Indian soceity face identity crisis. Rama Mehta showsit through her characters.
She explained characters name with there husbands,forinstance, BhagwatSing’s wife , Sangram Sing’s wife, etc. Rama Mehta feelsthat women have a tremendous inner strength she wants to translate this innerstrength into something positive a real strength. Here, Indian quite representation ofthe basic Indian culture. It is a note of hope with the protogonist. Sheasserts herself as an individual and putting an end to her doubt about herself.
She is able to hold her own in a hose hold full of tradition -bound, royal, dignified,noble and well mannered numbers of her family in the haveli. It is a proof ifher individuality, she breaks traditional ground wherever she necessary. She takes complete care to delineate herpresence as one shows it with courage and conviction of rationate andaccountability to be a mistress of the haveli. She emerges as an intelligent attractiveand wholly practical woman.
She understands the relationship with all itsconsequence and confident as well that she is not stretching her moralobligations. It is suggested that a modern educated woman like Geetha shouldpursue some meaning full activity with in the Presently of her household inorder to find happiness and contement as well as her rights , desires strugglesand victories all together . It is Geetha’s voice about her thoughts andfeelings that we near in India the Haveli. . .