Demystifying the feminine mystique: woman in the post independence Indian English drama, LD Menon

Tags: crossing the divide, Lady Macbeth, Urban Indian women, Dina Mehta
Content: Appendix I Postal Interview with Dina Mehta 9 May 2004 1. What kind of transformation do you see in the character of the 21st Century urban Indian Woman? How is this reflected in your plays? She is economically morE Independent than her grandmother. But the transformation has been very gradual: no perceptible leap from one century to the other. Urban Indian women have a better chance at education than their impoverished village counterparts, hence better work opportunities. No longer only domestics, they aim to be entrepreneurs (Nallika), doctors ( Raziya) lawyers ( Malini), artists (Gopa) etc. Emotionally speaking, however, they nurse hangovers carried over from generations of conditioning: the mother is proud to bear a son, a girl foetus is under threat of abortion (Sonali), a barren woman feels guilty (Raziya). Gender mequality, Double standards persist, despite the contrary trends set by imported feminism. 2. Do female dramatists portray women characters differently from male dramatists? Do women writers use the language differently? Yes. The woman dramatist can see more clearly into the female psyche than the inale, and this is reflected in her plays, in attitude and language which differ from his. Even if the man is not a sexist, he
281 can't help suspecting that he is made by God, to rule and govern, she to accept and submit. A genius like Shakespeare can write about the taming of a shrew and he can also create a Lady Macbeth. The rest of us try to blur the distinction, but do not always succeed in crossing the divide. Because the angle of vision is not the same. 3. What is your definition of an independent woman? Do Malini in Brides Are Not )br Burning and Mallika in " Getting Away with Murder" typify your concept? An independent woman is one who does her own thing despite "what people will say". She is clear about what she wants, strong in will and purpose. Her norms are her own. She takes on giants. Yes, Malini and Mallika are on their way, getting there.

LD Menon

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