retelling of an episode from The Ramayana – seems to suffer from a similar myopia. The male characters are without exception sexist, morally reprehensible and brutal in their treatment of women. Malini (a name associated with the “invincible” Mother Goddess Durga and her incarnation as the fierce Kali, the embodiment of shakti, or feminine empowerment) is stereotyped as emotionally volatile, cunning and vengeful: “Her eyes wild and her hair an untamed black cloud all around her. She looked like Kali” (103). What saves the story from this banal polemic is the more circumspect consciousness of the narrator, Tanya, through which the bloody gender wars that ensue are filtered. At the story’s climax she reflects, “So much death and destruction, mistrust and mutilation.
No one won such wars” (103). This formulation neatly ironises the otherwise too simplistic dialectic – while taking nothing away from the story’s powerful indictment of male chauvinism and violence in India."
~Roderick B. Overaa
East Tennessee State University, USA (His review of my story in 'Eastern Heathens: An Anthology of Subverted Asian Folklore', published in
IIUM Journal of English Language and Literature)
Here is the link: http://asiatic.iium.edu.my/article/Asiatic%207-2%20pdf%20files/Roderick_review.pdf