Asian women writers engaged themselves
in the mission of to converse the issues of empowerment and disempowerment,
emphasize the tensions between a modern and tradition woman, to promote the facts
of development to ease conquest of women in socio-cultural circles.
Mitra Phukan is one such Asian woman writer
who strives for the achievement of women’s liberation. She probes into a
reflection of the disturbed psyche of women who are victims of alienation and
male dominance. Her work The Collector’s Wife is
a symptomatic reading of the text through a postcolonial feminist lens. The
gendered realities existing amidst insurgency issues, student unrest, border
crossing, trouble in the tea gardens is the main thrust of the novel that makes
possible a probing of feminine experience in terms of identity, ethnicity,
gender, language and dispossession.
central theme of her novel, The
Collector’s Wife is the existential predicament of women as an individual.
She projects this phenomenon through incompatible couple, in actuality,
sensitive wife but insensitive and un-understanding husband. Her fictional
milieu is the India in transition with its cultural and ethical values in the
melting pot. In this novel, one could sense the urge for a way of living, which
would respond to the inner most yearning of the India women for
self-emancipation and self-dignity.
influence of psychology on the analysis of human behaviour and as a consequence
in literature the portrayal of character in their psychoanalytic aspect owes
much to the findings of Freud. Psychoanalysis is the most widely recognised
theory in psychology having been integrated into our culture through novels,
poetry, drama and film criticism. According to the psychoanalytical view, the
human individual is regarded as the recipient of the turbulent intra psychic
impulses struggling to be set free. These are inner and unknown desires and
urges, to which the person is inherently subject but continually defends
attempts to discuss and explain the success or failure of the individual in society,
his ability or failure to establish satisfying relationships with others, his
character and character disturbances. It is concerned with the dynamics of
interpersonal relations and with the way the self is formed through
interactions with the familial and socio cultural environment.
In the novel, The Collector’s Wife psychoanalysis was used very well by Mitra
Phukan. The character of Rukmini is enveloped in loneliness. Rukmini’s
existence is affected by both internal and external riots. Rukmini’s husband
Siddharth, the collector, is totally engaged in his work, especially tackling
the problems of rebellion and protest
rallies. With a good bungalow in a beautiful location and servants for all her
daily chores, Rukmini is left with not much work. So she misses the company and
concern of her husband, they do not have a child. But Siddharth does not seem
to have any interest in anything of household matter. Rukmini works as a part
time lecturer in a college, she seems to be frustrated trying to teach English
to the students, who would not show any interest in learning literature. This
kind of loneliness, frustration moves her into depression and the feeling of
Mitra Phukan is an Indian author, translator and
columnist. She was born on the 16th of May, 1953 in Assam. She was a
classical vocalist who lives in Guwahati, Assam. She is one of the most prominent literary voices in English
She has brought the works of some of the best-known contemporary Assamese
fiction writers into her works have been translated into several Indian and
European languages. As a translator herself, English. Her widely read column,
‘All Things Considered’, appears fortnightly in The Assam Tribune.
She is an active member of Aradhana, an organization that takes music to the
underprivileged sections of society, and a founder member of the North East
Writers’ Forum. She
has written several books for children and won the UNICEF-CBT award for children’s
writing for her book Mamani’s Adventure (1986).
published works include a biography, two novels, The Collector’s Wife (2005)
and A Monsoon of Music (2011), four children’s books Mamani’s
Adventures (1986), Chumki Posts a Letter (1989), The Biratpur Adventure (1994), Terrorist Camp Adventure (2003) and
other works Blossoms in the Graveyard
(2016), A Full Night’s Thievery
(2016) and a collection comprising fifty of her newspaper
columns, titled Guwahati Gaze.
Mitra Phukan’s contemporaries
are Arundhati Roy, Nayanthara Sahgal, Anita Desai, Shashi Deshpande, Anita
Nair, Chetan Baghat, Vikram Seth.
Arundhati Roy works are
The God of Small
Public Power in the
Age of Empire. (2004), The
Ministry of Utmost Happiness (2017).
She has beautifully and effectively portrays the
truthful picture of the difficulty of Indian women, their great misery, cares
and anxieties, their humble submission and persecution. It shows the women’s
struggle for seeking the sense of ‘identity’ in a totally averse and envious
society. Arundhati has taken up the issue of feminism to struggle for their
identity and economic and social freedom. A female character in her
novels stands out as persons and not as role-players. Her novels clearly explain
the countless miseries and the unearned sufferings of women who have to bear
the burden of male domination mutely and humbly. She transcends the ordinary
concept of feminism.
works are Rich Like Us (1985), Mistaken
Identity (1988), A Situation in New Delhi (1989). As a writer
with feminist concerns, she is a progeny of the tradition wherein power itself
is deified as goddess ‘sakti’, a female symbol.
A political theme is often combined to the theme of man-woman
relationship, their marital problems, their temperamental incompatibility, the
problems arising out of their submissiveness and finally the place of a woman
in society. Sahgal seems to be deeply concerned with the need of freedom for
women and makes gender issues central to her writings. Her novels deal with men
and women, especially women struggling against oppression and injustice heaped
upon them in the name of tradition and culture. The emphasis is laid on how in
the male dominated society woman struggles to find her individual existence.
Girish Karnad works are Tughlaq (1964), Hayavadana (1972), Nagamandala
(1988). He discusses
various idealistic and notional aspects of women who struggle bravely against
patriarchy, male dominance and gender discourse. The lives of women have
been manipulated by the patriarchy in all ages and cultures, certainly in
different ways by prescribing values, norms, gender roles and ethics to keep
the male dominance at the top. He significantly evaluated the mind and
behaviour of his female protagonists in a communal view, impact of the
patriarchy, women’s effort to fulfil their desires final crises and their
extinction from their world.
Mitra Phukan is interested in the exploration
of female psyche dealing with thoughts, emotions and sensations at various
level of the inner consciousness of
her women protagonist and explores the reality of her life. However, she find a
way out by self-discovery and introspection. Her novel instances
are exemplary of postcolonial feminism.
She primarily exemplifies the internal dramatic play of livelihood in her
fiction, and centres on its primary truths, her imaginative module in
researching the wider psychical and mental states of the character. Her work The Collector’s Wife depicted the
internal inhabits of susceptible women who are in everlasting seeking for
significance of life.In her
novel, The Collector’s Wife, Mitra Phukan introduced the world to
the student’s agitation in the 70s and 80s, the illegal exodus from Bangladesh
and a full blown revolution. Rukmini, the wife of the collector of parbatpuri
in Assam, is an MA in English literature and works as a part time lecturer in a
college there. Siddharth Bezboruah, the collector, is totally immersed in his
work, especially tackling the problems of insurgency, protest rallies and riots
in which Rukmini’s students also take an active part. With a good Bungalow in a
beautiful location and servants for all her daily chores and maintenance of the
bungalow, Rukmini is left with not much work. Though she tries to keep herself occupied,
she misses the company and concern of her husband. They are almost unconcerned
to each other. Married for ten years, they do not have a child and that worries
mother-in-law. She advises them to decide on their family even if it is
adoption. But Siddharth does not seem to have any interest in anything that is
a household matter. This neglect of Siddharth forces Rukmini to yield to a
relation with a chance acquaintance, Manoj Mahanta and later, to her horror,
she finds that her husband has a relation with her colleague Priyam Deka. The
story continues to bring to light the riots and its effects in general and
particularly on the protagonist’s life.
helps to analyze the total personality of a person on a rational basis with
definite results. Elementary emotions, feelings and passions are very
important. However, the causes of frustration, conflict, anxiety and agony in
social dwellings have increased due to so many economic, political and cultural
factors. Rukmini’s life explained the realities of married life, but in vain.
Her dream world had shattered and she felt depressed. She wanted to be mother
of child, but it was fated otherwise. Rukmini has an obsession for love and
concern from her husband and to become a mother of a child that drives and
forces her to succumb to a relation with Manoj. So this relation is unnatural,
unethical and unacceptable to society.
psychological problems faced by Rukmini are frustration, loneliness, conflict,
anxiety, agony, tension etc. In this novel, The
collector’s Wife Rukmini epitomizes the women’s psyche. She is a challenge
to the stereotypical character of Assamese society. Rukmini seems patience and
tolerance incarnate and sometimes uncomplaining but at the same time, she
emerges out as strong individual challenging all traditional taboos. She
doesn’t want to identify herself only as the collector’s wife. She attempts to
subvert the traditional mind set of a woman character, which is not centred
with the world of domesticity, giving birth, nurturing. But Rukmini’s boldness
against the patriarchal norms has been diminished. In spite of her married
life, somewhere she feels loneliness, ache of losing her motherhood and her own
The Collector’s Wife is the existential predicament of women as an individual.
Rukmini is a person who has shut herself up with
all her troubles, a childless woman, Siddharth’s silence and a stranger Manoj for
whom Rukmini is falling comes to live in Parbatpuri on a company’s sales
assignment. A critical analysis is made on the exploration of female psyche dealing with thoughts,
emotions and sensations at various level of the
inner consciousness of Rukmini and explores the reality of her life.