The most important concern of feminist agenda is that women should be ‘visible’ and their voices must be ‘audible’ in the society, and this concern gets a proper place in Shashi Deshpande's fictional works as she raises the issues of women’s inner struggle to revolt against emotional slavery. Loneliness that dwells in a feminine heart has occupied a centre stage among current burning gender issues. The novelist shows that in spite of being surrounded by father, brothers, husband and children, a woman feels lonely and is unable to give expression to her feelings. Becoming a ‘new woman’ is an attitudinal transformation, which every woman has to experience so that a radical social change is effected throughout the world. To a ‘new woman’, the stifling and oppressive system of sex roles should give way to undistorted gender equality. A ‘new woman’ is a feminist who is in search for the means to overcome oppression, develop her own powers and abilities of personal growth as an individual and self-actualization.
Shashi Deshpande is essentially a novelist of gender issues as she has touched upon almost all the issues, which are normally of great concern to all the feminists, Indian feminists in particular. In her fictional works, she writes about the ‘marginalized’ community of women in India and expresses her concern for women's disadvantaged condition within patriarchy. Also, she is a great observer and she has keenly observed the gender bias in Indian society and she has put on horse blinders while depicting the plight of a girl/daughter who struggles hard throughout her life.
The book helps answer subtle questions that thinkers, social workers and well-wishers and others who care for women and womanhood most often ask about gender issues at various levels of debate and discussions. The book explores the substantial axiological, psychological, sociological and emotional underpinnings of gender issues. Also, it deals with inner dilemmas of feminine heart, women's subjugation, economic and emotional independence and above all, the ‘new woman’.
Dr. Sangeeta Sharma, Assistant Professor, Department of English, Dronacharya Government College, Gurgaon, is M.A., M.Phil., and Ph.D. in English. Her area of interest and specialization is gender issues in India. Currently she is either conducting herself or helping and guiding others to conduct research on gender issues from diverse perspectives in Indian context.
She is credited with academic writings on gender issues as depicted by numerous Indian feminist writers. She is also credited with participation, presentation and acceptance of papers in national, international conferences, seminars, symposia, etc. Her papers are published by journals of repute. She acts as a "Resource Person" too in different ASCs in India.
As an English educator Dr. Sharma is a consistent and prolific contributor to socio- psychological studies and research related with gender issues.
Shashi Deshpande has been the most versatile and widely read Indian English woman writer since 1980s. The gender bias has been prevalent in the Indian society since time immemorial, which provided her valid reason to depict gender issues prominently in her gynofictional works. Being a liberal feminist, she questions the gender arrangement in the Indian patriarchal society. In her novels she voices her opinion that gender is a social and cultural construct. Her works need to be deconstructed as gynofictional. She has depicted various gender issues such as girl infanticide, girl foeticide, dowry, rape, poor education, neglect of the girl child, the practice of sati, child marriage and widowhood, etc. in her novels like Roots and Shadows, The Dark Holds No Terrors, That Long Silence, The Binding Vine, and A Matter of Time. She is a keen social observer and is very focused in her depiction of gender issues in the patriarchal Indian society.
Shashi Deshpande is a writer of human emotions and relationships, and her fictional works show the plight of women in the male-dominated society. She has shown in her fictional works those intrinsic values in women which have been flouted by a patriarchal society in India. Unfortunately, Shashi Deshpande has not yet received the critical attention she deserves.
The book, Gender Issues: Fictional World of Shashi Deshpande aims at unfolding Deshpande’s potential as a candid writer who is genuinely concerned with gender issues. Trapped between tradition and modernity, her women protagonists undergo mental trauma in their quest for identity before they affirm themselves. An attempt has been made in the book to critically analyze the fictional world of Shashi Deshpande as a writer of gender issues in Indian society.
After the reader is introduced to the thematic purpose and perspective, the next chapter focuses on co-travellers of Shashi Deshpande in her fiction. Chapter 3 illustrates through her novel, The Binding Vine, the omnipotent power of love. This chapter is followed by a lucid account of women’s subjugation in patriarchal society based on The Dark Holds No Terrors. The next two chapters critically examine dominant desires of feminine heart and also inner dilemma with reference to Roots and Shadows and That Long Silence respectively. Chapter 7 shows, through the main character in Shashi Deshpande’s A Matter of Time, how the ‘new woman’ tries to emancipate herself as an independent woman.
The book will be useful for students and teachers of English literature, particularly Indian English literature, and researchers in those fields.
**Contents and Sample Pages**
Item Code: NAS225 Author: Sangeeta Sharma Cover: HARDCOVER Edition: 2018 Publisher: Atlantic Publishers and Distributors Pvt. Ltd. ISBN: 9788126920839 Language: English Size: 8.50 X 5.50 inch Pages: 254 Other Details: Weight of the Book: 0.44 Kg