A Culture of Violence? Women in Twentieth Century Bengal
10 Pages Posted: 16 May 2019
Date Written: April 25, 2019
Violence is one of the primeval instincts of human kind. It is not restricted by spatio-temporal frontiers and majority of human beings, irrespective of their gender, age, nationality, orientation, etc. are subjected to some form of violence during their lives. However, as the societal conditions have always enabled the subjugation of the “weak” by the “powerful”, violence against women has been identified globally as one of the most systematic and widespread human rights violations. Using three short stories authored by Jagadish Gupta, Tarashankar Bandyopadhyay, and Mahasweta Devi in twentieth century Bengal as case studies, this paper seeks to examine the diverse trajectories of violence perpetrated against women in the aforesaid period. Analysing particular modes of violence like dowry-based homicide, witch-hunting, and rape as political instrument of oppression, this study intends to qualify Michael Taussig’s thesis on “culture of terror” by situating it against the wider backdrop of the “culture of violence” and the discourses of resistance that simultaneously emerged in twentieth century Bengal.
Keywords: women, patriarchy, superstition, caste, class, culture, violence, resistance, twentieth century, literature, Bengal
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