Roy’s Lovelorn Suffering Women-Zia Ahmad

The God of Small Things, a debut novel by Roy, is suggestive of the life of all the small things with their miseries, desires, wretchedness and their mostly unsuccessful attempts to escape all this. Besides, portraying the caste system and its evil influence in damaging and smashing the lives of the poor and helpless section of the society in India, the novel indulges in discovering the lives of women also as helpless, weak and poor; in fact, the small things which need a god all the time to escape the undermining social influences on their lives and performances.

However, a few of these attempt to become gods themselves to challenge the borders and boundaries established by the patriarchal set up all over the world, especially in the caste-ridden social set up of India working very efficiently in the State of Kerala India. The women portrayed by Roy are the lovelorn women who are denied love after a certain period of time, though all of them wish to get it and try to preserve and promote it as well. For example, Ammu found love in the husband she chose for herself and gave birth to her twins but then over drinking nature of her husband failed their relationship. For a second time she attempted to find love in Valutha, a parawan and this time, again, she was refused love because of social love laws. Baby Kochama planned very well to find love in Father Mulligan and made every effort to secure it but was refused even after she attempted to change her religion and her social status. She was left alone in the end to feel sad. Same is the case with Rahel who had to get divorced from her husband. In the case of love, Mammachi who was married but faced the worst domestic abuse in the name of love. Even the matter of love with the boy, Chakko, at this house did not fair well. These women, though with the common theme of loss of love and the consequent trouble attached with it, include all types of women. For example, there are young as well as old women, highly qualified as well uneducated, housewives as well as working women. For example, Mammachi is a working woman but when she faces troubles at the hands of her husband, she becomes a working woman though she restricts herself at home and establishes a factory in it. But on the other hand, Ammu and Rahel were young when they left their colleges for love and attempted to work and get paid but still it was not possible for them to enjoy the love of their life. Baby Kochamma, a very different woman, not fulfilling the normal beauty conditions, also attempts to love but fails.

These women seem to share their suffering in common. If we just have a look at the young Rahel, she has to feel sad because of the unfulfillment and deficiency of love in her relationship. She attempted to establish herself as a wife and as a useful member of the society and kept on convincing her mom but the share of her sufferings was there to stress itself. Baby Kochamma who was twice the age of Rahel, too had to receive her share of sufferings because of the emotional crises she had to undergo. She did not receive any suiters at all. She, however, found her happiness in father Mulligan but then she was unable to carry on because of lack of interest of father Mulligan in her. Similarly, Ammu’s sufferings are manyfold because of the behaviour of her husband and her society who both denied her love and made many attempts for making her sad. The women portrayed by Roy are most marginalized and this weaker side also shared by them. Women in the poor class are doubly marginalized in Roy’s novel because on the hand women are marginalized because they are mostly poor and on the other hand, they are colonized and hence deprived of many rights because of their being women. Almost the same is the case with the rich and powerful women with an exception that they are not exploited because of their being poverty-free. However, they are also marginalized because of their being women. For example, Ammu even after being a well to do woman, is taken as a powerless and marginalized person because she is a woman and especially because she is not living with a man as her husband. Similarly, Mamachi being a rich and hardworking woman earns and spends for her family but she is also beaten up by her husband. Same is the case with Rahel, Baby Kochamma and Margaret Kochama. Among the poor, Kochu Maria is the best example of doubly marginalized poor women.

Dr Zia Ahmad is a leading scholar and intellectual, who currently works as a professor and principal of Government Emerson College.

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