Lamentation as a Tool of Subversion and Empowerment: A Study of Mahaswetha Devi’s “Rudali”
One half of humanity is often referred to as the weaker sex owing to the categorization of certain traits of theirs as “weaknesses”, but these traits eventually turn out to be the tools for women’s empowerment. This paper attempts to analyse the empowering and subverting role of lamentation in Mahaswetha Devi’s “Rudali” where the act of mourning could be seen in different levels of meaning; lamentation as an agency for subverting the oppressor, the material prosperity gained by the mourners and the emergence of the Rudalis in deciding the prestige of the rich. The patriarchal notion regarding the sensitive nature of women categorize them as ‘mourners’ who wins through their ‘tears’ and “Rudali” reinstates this fact but in a new light. The protagonist Sanichari evolves into a strong and empowered woman who learns the commodification of grief and her lamentation destroys the hegemonic and oppressive rule of the exploiter. The ability to cry is transformed into a tool of subversion. Thereby mourning and the mourners become a threatening factor for the oppressors as it becomes a display of mockery. The grief that crept into the life of the oppressed through the oppressors is eventually transformed in to a mourning of jubilation, subversion and empowerment by the end of the narrative.
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