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Rabindranath Tagore's "Mahamaya": A Critical Analysis
by: Jhake Lastimoso
Jhake Claer Lastimoso
2 min read

Rabindranath Tagore's 1912 work "Mahamaya" can also be used to examine the themes of gender and power in 19th century India. In this story, Tagore portrays Rajeev, a man from a higher social class, as the dominant figure in the relationship between him and Mahamaya, a woman from a lower class. The story portrays the unequal power dynamics of traditional arranged marriages and highlights the oppression of women in 19th century India.

Tagore's story is also a critique of the oppressive nature of traditional practices such as arranged marriages, which were often enforced by social structures and did not allow for the freedom of choice or expression. This is evidenced in the story when Mahamaya chooses to remain silent when she is told by her brother that she must marry Rajeev, even though she is in love with another man.

The story can also be seen as a commentary on the role of tradition in 19th century India and its ability to restrict individual freedom. Mahamaya is a victim of her family's traditional values, which prevent her from openly expressing her feelings and force her into an arranged marriage. Despite this, Tagore's story ultimately serves as a reminder of the power of love to overcome traditional values and practices.

Overall, Tagore's story of "Mahamaya" can be seen as a reflection of the gender and power dynamics of 19th century India, as well as a critique of traditional practices such as arranged marriages. It is also a reminder of the power of love to overcome oppressive traditional values and allow for individual freedom.

Sources:

Ganguly, S. (2015). Rabindranath Tagore and His Works. New Delhi: Penguin Random House India.

Bhattacharya, G. (2018). The Relevance of Raja Rammohan Roy in the 21st Century. International Journal of Research in Humanities and Social Sciences, 6(4), 145-150.

Choudhury, S. (2017). Rethinking Sati: A Feminist Reinterpretation of the 'Immolation of Widows'. The Asia Pacific Journal of Anthropology, 18(1), 1-19.

Tandon, R. (2008). Gender and Power in Rabindranath Tagore’s Fiction. Indian Literature, 52(1), 34-47.


Jhake Claer Lastimoso
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