Saturday, August 11, 2007

A few months ago, M, father, mother and i were discussing about this. M had seen water. Father and me had attended a screening of nayi neralu.

Water, is an original by Deepa Mehta, and the latter is an adaptation of one of S.L. Bhyrappa's works(1968). Both portray the life of widows. These practises are rare these days. But, a thoughtful insight into the old practises is showcased.

In both the movies, we have young widows, bound by traditions. The background differs, with water featuring the northern(the bengali way according to me). Nayi neralu is set in Shivamogga(set in the western ghats).

I'll be concentrating on water. I've read more of bengali literature than that of kannada(*sigh*), and thus i can say that i relate better to the former.

I'd read 'those days' by Sunil Gangopadhyay 7-8years ago. That was the time when i was pulled into Satyajit Ray, Subhadra Sengupta(her 'The mystery of the house of pigeons' is pretty good). I was impressed by Gangopadhyay.

'those days' is set in ninteenth century bengal. I think the story revolves around two families(?). If i remember correctly, a boy and a girl are close pals from childhood. As they grow up, they become detached. The boy focusses on the needs of his family . At the age of 11(?), the girl is married. She becomes widowed within a few years. And comes back to her mother's place. Where she is expected to follow the rites of a widow, which she does. Submittig herself to Lord Krisha.

As time passes by, she travels to Benares, as was the custom those days. She joins a place meant for widows. Living off the meagre earnings that she recieves by begging. As per the fate of all widows who visit Benares, she gets herself involved in prostitution. Her childhood friend sights her onthe banks of the Ganga, where she is bought by a rich landlord.

My mind was young when i read this.. I was quite disturbed with the turn of events. This was the way in which widows were treated. And worse, religious reasons were cited.

nayi neraLu is relatively new compared to those days.

Father and M were of the opinion that these strories are quite irrelevant in today's society. Thus, should not be concentrated at. I agree that there are quite a few changes in the way we lead a life. For the better, of course.

On the other hand, such novels remind us of the past that we lead. Right or wrong, these rituals were followed by us. I'd like to opine that despite the remoteness of the subject, it's required that we be reminded of such conventions. Perhaps, we can learn a thing or two from it. Broadening our views and thoughts in the process.


Bit Hawk said...

Its a sad thing that all these social evils existed not too long ago. But, the good thing is that its all changing now. I think the only remedy for this would be to have the girls educated and financially independent.

Bit Hawk said...

The heading in pink is almost not visible on the bluish background. May be a white font there would be better. Just a suggestion!

Priya said...

there is also a hindi movie with padmini kolhapuri, rishi kapoor etc (i am not able to remember the name)with a story similar to this... such social evils existed and are changing.. and i agree with bit independence is one of the solutions...

Shiv said...


These storsies may be irrelevant..but the state of widows is not better though

Srik said...

i am reminded of phaniyamma.

i have seen one widow in close quarters who underwent all that is mentioned in phaniyamma.
But she was supported well by her brother's family, so, thankfully not all the things written in these stories have affected her

However, her whole life was sacrificed for one evil practice.

And off late, such practices have ceased to be existant. Thank God!

mouna said...

bit hawk,
that's the best part, it's changing for the good. something above education and financial independance will do good.

thanks for the suggestion. u are always welcome to give any :)

i dunno that particular one. financial independance, perhaps...

at last!! :D

u say that these stories may not be relevant, even though the state of a widow is pitiable. how can it be so? improvisation can be thus be brought, alve?

phaniyamma, that was quite a landmark. and yes, thank god! they are on their decline.

neela said...

I too was reminded of Phaniyamma and some other book I read In Kannada long back. The widows faced many miseries.They were made to look deliberately ugly but they wers none the less abused physically and mentally.
They were at the mercy of people who 'sheltered' them and had no say in any matter as they were penniless.
God's grace that this devilish system is on the decline.

mouna said...

yes they made to look ugly deliberately as u say, perhaps, to save them from harsh gazes of oglers.