International Journal of
English and Literature

  • Abbreviation: Int. J. English Lit.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2141-2626
  • DOI: 10.5897/IJEL
  • Start Year: 2010
  • Published Articles: 278


The real feminists in Indian English writing: Kamala Das and Imtiyaz Dharkar

Kanak Lata Tiwari  
K J Somaiya College of Engineering Mumbai, India.
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 08 August 2013
  •  Published: 31 December 2013


Kamala Das belongs to the first generation of modern English poets who evolved a new poetics for themselves and made a new start both in theme and technique around the 1960s. The first phase of Indo-Anglican poetry ended in the 1950s. To the poets of this period the spirit of modernism was almost alien. Their main preoccupation was the spirit of nationalism and the war of independence, partition of country. It was only in the sixties that things began to take a new dimension where a new generation of young poets took control of the Indo-Anglican poetic realm. Kamala Das is one of the most powerful voices of this post-colonial era. In Kamala Das’s poetry we find the best expression of feminine sensibility, its suppression in a male dominated society. So her poetry is confessional and auto-biographical to a great extent, but at times she universalizes what is personal. The main themes of Dharker's poetry include home, freedom, journeys, communal conflict and gender politics. Purdah and other poems deal with the various aspects of a Muslim woman's life where she experiences injustice, oppression and violence engineered through the culture of purdah. This mixed heritage and itinerant lifestyle is at the heart of her writing: questioning, imagistic and richly textured poems that span geographical and cultural displacement, while also interrogating received ideas about home, freedom and faith. This research paper would unfold how both above mentioned poetesses rebel against the conventional restraints of society which are meant to exploit women in this man made world. “An Introduction” and “Stone Age” are two of Kamala Das’s poems where she is intensely conscious of herself as woman, and by writing about the self she challenges the accepted notions of the female and redraft general opinion of the feminine mystique.”Purdah” and “Living Space” are Imtiyaz Dharkar’s poems which show the passion of an undaunted rebel, not to retreat and not to fail. The intensity and eloquence of her life and poetic accomplishment have dumbfounded the male-chauvinists and have left her female counterparts in soaring spirits not only inside the Islamic social, cultural and religious setup but also outside it. That is why her life and poetry make a fascinating study in the crushing indictment of the suppressive prescriptions against the freedom, dignity and respectful living of women, especially in the Muslim society. Imtiaz confirms our convictions that socio-cultural and socio-religious restrictions on women have robbed them of all their potentialities, leaving them not only physically and mentally handicapped but also psychological wrecks age after age. The lived experiences of Imtiaz have been honestly expressed in her poetry with the courage of conviction.

Key words: Feminist, sexuality, rebel, patriarchy, post-colonial study.