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Gopal Prasad Rimal’s Masan | Analysis

Analysis of Gopal Prasad Rimal’s Masan | Power, Discourse and Their Internalization as Truth

Dot Nepal presents analysis of A Foucauldian Reading of Gopal Prasad Rimal’s Masan.

A Foucauldian Reading of Gopal Prasad Rimal’s Masan | Discursivity of Family Relations

In Rimal’s Masan, the sense of patriarchy is deep rooted, where females have been dominated and marginalized by the power of patriarchy. They are forced to accept the secondary position because of the internalization of patriarchal ethos. In Masan as well patriarchy creates beliefs and those beliefs are internalized by the characters and then they perpetuate the role of patriarchy. In Nepalese societies around the time in which the play takes place, people believe that without a son no one enters into the heaven and is compelled to stay in hell. For this, a female wants to become a mother or she has unimaginable craze of for maternity, which is internalized as compulsory and essential to be a female. In that time women life is harsh, so are the tradition that mold marriage and family. Women are little more than chattel necessary for procreation and to serve.

Presentation of male and female in the society through their performance is clearly shown in the play Masan, though it is mere construction of patriarchy but internalized by female as very natural and essential. Thus these values are created by power. The patriarchal value and social system depicts the status and treatment of women in Nepalese society. In the play Helen or Young Woman is the protagonist, who is the wife of Krishna. She performs her role as a ‘Hindu wife’ and takes all imposed duties upon her as very natural and essential. Helen internalizes values, rules, beliefs and customs. Helen also internalizes domesticity and motherhood as two very essential parts of woman life and runs in search of maternity in the whole play. Women are kept under control in patriarchal society because of the norms and values. In this context Uma Chakravarti makes the following observation:

The mechanism of control operates through three different levels. The first device was when patriarchy was established as an ideology and women had internalized through Stridharma or Pativartadharma to live up to the ideal notion of womanhood constructed by the ideologue of the society. The second device was laws, customs and rituals prescribed by the Brahamanical social code which reinforced the ideological control over women through the idealization of chastity and wife fidelity as highest duty of women and third was the state itself which supported the patriarchal control over women. (285)

In patriarchal society women perform the role which is assigned by the society. They perform their role as wives because of the customs, laws, rules and regulation of the society. These customs and laws force women to accept secondary position in the society.

Helen is the wife of Krishna. She internalizes the stridharma (duty of a woman) or pativartadharma (duty towards the husband) to live in the husband house. In this context of Nepal as a Hindu woman, she desires to give birth of a son. Helen cannot find herself complete as long as she is sterile, and wants to get a child which is the part of her own husband. For that, she sacrifices her right of a wife and forces her husband to remarry another woman. She seems so much crazy for a child. This idea is put by patriarchy and she internalizes it as very true. For a child Helen says:

I want unimaginable love. [. . .] I need such love that can dry me up, burn me up and empty me. Always able to love and forget myself. Be able to give up my life for that love. Let my life end trying to get that love. I need a son. (3)

In Masan, Helen presents herself in the image of a wife, daughter- in- law, and mother. All her images are given by the society. And she accepts or internalizes it as very natural and essential. Helen internalizes patriarchal norms and values and forces her husband to remarry to get a child. In this sense, her duty and performance is the outcome of patriarchal rules and regulations.

For her love for a son, she accepts a co-sister in her life. She forces to do so, due to internalization of the patriarchal concept. A son is needed in the patriarchal society and to be a complete woman one should have a child. A similar idea is expressed by Elisa Davila, in her essay “On Being a Good Girl”:

Being a good girl meant denying big chunks of myself such as the freedom to choose career over a husband, to work and to live away from home or the basic right to know my feelings and to experience my own body. In a patriarchal society like Combodian woman is expected to a conform sets of rules that dictate the manner by which she act, dresses, talk have sex and even think. A woman is supposed to accept domesticity and motherhood as the two guiding forces of her life.  (16)

Here Elisa Davila shows that women devote and sacrifice their personal feelings and desires for the sake of their husband and manages all the household activities. They internalize or accept their submissive identity or motherhood and domesticity.

This idea is clearly represented in the play by character Helen, who desires to be a mother and sacrifices her for the welfare of the family:

For a long time this fire has been burning within me. This naughty little Bhotu came along and made it a little bearable. [ . . .] Today after deciding about this marriage I feel this burning within me has subsided a little. I have not been fortunate enough to be a mother, but I will be not stop without being one.  (Going close to her husband.) This time don’t say you will not marry. We will not get anywhere by adopting son. We need our own son. (5-6)

Helen has been living as a devoted and self-sacrificing wife. She respects her husband and tries to manage all the household activities; she has great affection for her husband and she has been passing a respectful life. She finds meaning of life in being a good wife, a mother and daughter- in- law but never realizes that self identity is mixed up with the identity of her husband. This idea is created by patriarchy and she internalizes the social norms and regulation, where she accepts her tasks as very essential duties that she has to perform.

Patriarchal culture has been practiced from centuries since male has captured the dominant position over every aspects of the society.  As a result the males started showing their supremacy and imposed their authority over female. But those rules are constructed by patriarchy. Unless they realize the falsely constructed gender roles which are naturalized due to the repeated use over a long time, they cannot think of their liberation.

Helen, the central character in the play follows the traditional concept about females’ sexuality which is more a discursive construct than a biological reality. Her desire of maternity is so strong that she can feel her existence only being a mother; otherwise, her life has no meaning. This kind of notion of Young Woman can be observed in these lines:

This flesh of mine, only good for the vultures, lives on only for my own satisfaction. [ . . .] My sleep is the sleep like KumbhaKarna. To wake up me, they have to beat the drums. The sleep of mother is such that if the infants sleeping close to their breasts even make the slightest movement, they wakeup. Their strength lies in the life of their child whose life stems from the embrace of their mother. (6)

Helen’s above dialogue shows strong impact of patriarchal roles on her. It explores the internalization of gender roles as well as the traditional concept of sexuality for reproduction, where women’s basic roles are to perform domesticity and child bearing. In other words, if a married woman fails to bear a child particularly a son, she is immediately taken as a curse of the geological line of the family. In such case, the husband can marry another girl as his second wife for reproduction. For that condition, Helen forces her husband to remarry for a son.

To be a true woman one should get her motherly identity. This is actually not a natural concept, but socially constructed. This concept is naturalized by repeating over time and again. This system is built by patriarchy and from this system, Helen also cannot go beyond. This internalization of patriarchal ethos in her life seems compulsory and essential.

Women internalize patriarchal roles directly or indirectly because they are under the domination of power which is truth for them and this power rules over the women. And such a society reflects the deep-rooted values of the traditional male centered idea. Traditional roles cast men as superior and women as inferior, in which a woman internalizes the norms and values of patriarchy. These patriarchal norms and values are oppressive to women in the arena of sexuality. Katral, Ketu K. notices the following sites of oppression:

Tradition most oppressive to women are located within the area on a female sexuality, not only the glaringly violent ones such as sati, but other more normative forms of objectification  in custom like dowry, multiple childbearing as well as fulfilling transitionally expected roles as daughter, wife, mother. (ii)

This shows that women should bear a child and perform the role which is given by patriarchy. Women’s sexuality and reproduction are for their oppression but they want to be mothers at whatever cost; otherwise, they force their husbands to remarry in which they fulfill the traditional role.

In Masan the young woman is dying for a son upon whom she can bestow true motherly love. But she feels that she is barren and cannot beget a son. So, she presses her husband to get remarried to get a son from co-wife. She assures that she will not take the son from her co-sister as a step son because he will have a portion of Krishna, her husband. She expresses her desire for a son in this way:

KRISHNA:  Ugh! Who put this idea into your head?

YOUNG WOMAN:  No one has to do that. No one did it. It was born inside me. At first it was as big as a Pipal seed. Now it is a huge tree. Nowadays I like to simply sit under the shade of the tree and dream. I need a son. (2)

She thinks that having a son is necessary for a fulfilled life of a woman because, without him it remains incomplete. This sense of view exposes the above dialogue, which shows the strong desire of Helen to have a baby son. Her only dream is to become the mother of a son. It doesn’t matter whether it is from her womb or her co –sisters. This strong desire is not of her own but of the patriarchal society where, the women are taught to take it as their own.

Patriarchy is based on a system of power relations which are hierarchical and unequal, where men control women’s sexuality, productions and reproduction. In the play Masan Krishna controls Helen’s sexuality, production and reproduction. It shows that power is within the male, and the female is under his power. It shows the iniquitous power relation between men and women. Traditional gender roles cast men as rational, strong, protective and decisive. They cast women as emotional weak, nurturing and submissive, where women internalize these stereotypes as their part and have their duties.

Helen and the mother-in-law internalize the traditional stereotypical images. They perform the role assigned by patriarchy in which they force the new bride to give birth to a child. The bride is just considered to be a means of propagating offspring as her mother-in-law says to her: “All right dear, be lucky and fortunate and give a son. That is why we had you married here” (14). Here the newly married bride, who is in fact a girl about sixteen, gives birth to a child a son but is deprived of her natural rights to love her child and get love for husband. She just represents the gender stereotypes.

In the same way Helen who is very much a loving character and cares for others too much also explores that purpose of marrying Bride which doesn’t sound good. She says to Bride: “We didn’t bring you because we need servants, dear. We have servants, and I am here so why do you worry? Just produce a son as soon as you can. You don’t have to do anything else” (20).

Thus Bride finds that everything is controlled by Helen. She cannot do anything herself because she is just a doll in the hands of patriarchy. Helen and mother-in-law perform the role assigned by patriarchy because they internalize the values of patriarchy where they dominate and exploit Bride. They force Bride to get a child. This is the natural system but here they have forced due to the internalization of patriarchal ethos. Helen and mother-in-law make Bride a childbearing machine. Helen gives her mental hurts and Bride realizes that her need for her husband’s house is just a means of propagating offspring. She doesn’t go against patriarchy but internalizes the patriarchal beliefs and customs. It shows the exploitation of women by women. They use the Bride as a childbearing machine.

In patriarchal society, females live in the illusion of the world because they find their meaning of life in being good wife, a mother in law and daughter in law but never think about their self identity. They seem fully satisfied with the social norms and regulation which they accept as very essential duties that they have to perform and their identity is mixed up husband. Women think that their enemies are female not male, female exploit female themselves. Women themselves can be the exploiter of other females. They have been hegemonied by patriarchal values. They internalize patriarchal beliefs, rules and values and perform the role according to the desire of patriarchy. Women are controlled by women themselves. For example, wife of masters exploits servants, mother-in-law exploits the daughter-in-law and co-wife so on.

Patriarchy has been so deeply rooted that women themselves don’t know how they are exploited. They have learnt patriarchal values. But they call it their culture and tradition. In the name of culture and tradition, women internalize its beliefs and values and force women to follow them. Drawing upon Kamla Bhasin’s notion that, “the ideology of motherhood subjugates women and perpetuates patriarchy, which not only forces women to be mothers but also determines the conditions of their motherhood” (8). Here Bhasin shows that women are dominated or controlled by other women because of their womanhood and system of patriarchy.

Bride is controlled by Helen and the mother-in- law. So, she looks upon Helen as her enemy. They use the Bride as a childbearing machine because Helen and Mother-in-law force Bride to give a child. Bride thinks that her life is destroyed by mother-in-law and Helen. So she calls to the young woman a witch:

BRIDE: (closing her eyes.) You lied to me and brought me into this house. You forced to me to bear son. And when I did it, you took him away from me. As though, he was your dowry. Because of you all may food turned into dust. The water where my soul rests has evaporated. I had to go through such suffering all for nothing. I hadn’t harmed anyone. You are a witch! You turned by husband into a lamb. I am forced to leave my son in the care of a person like you. Forget it; you don’t have to look after my son anymore. Go, go now and get him  (55-56).

At this moment, Bride realizes how she is deprived of her natural rights to get love for her husband. She shows her anger against her co-sister, Helen, who has performed the role of the agent of patriarchy. In fact, her anger is not only against her sister but also against her husband. Bride representing this belief expresses her inner feeling to posses her husband. She thinks that her husband is all in all where her soul remains. Hence, she shows her anger against Helen for snatching away her husband. In this sense, this above dialogue is spoken by Bride, shows the process of internalization of patriarchal ethos by females. On the one side, females internalizing patriarchal ethos, plays the role of patriarchal agents and commodify the other women. On the next, it also how women internalize certain beliefs about their husband such as thinking them as God or Lord.

Here, Helen dominates bride this means that even a female dominates other females. They do so because they have accepted the patriarchal beliefs and values. Patriarchy is imprinted in their mind and soul. So they easily internalize patriarchal norms and values as an essential for them. And they look at other women as enemies. Thus Bride doubts upon Helen as her enemy. So, she thinks that everything is controlled by young women and does revolt against her rather than going against patriarchy.

A patriarchal society oppresses and suppresses women bitterly and obliges them to internalize their inferiority. The traditional gender role divides two categories male and female. When the society got its gendered structure, it began to produce the gendered system of dominance and power. Michel Foucault says in his late works, The History of sexuality: “Sexuality is constructed socially and operates differently in each historical period” (120).

Through the male and female, patriarchy gives positive adjectives and stereotypes to the males and negative stereotypes to females. The women are presented as inferior physically, biologically and psychologically. In this way, a patriarchal society constructs certain rules and regulation, certain norms for male and female and it creates the concept of masculinity and femininity which is obviously males supportive. Due to the repeated practices of such norms from longtime, females are forced to take it as very natural. They internalize the norms as very essential as their duty in which a woman is dominated, depressed, and slaved in patriarchy. Female’s position is subordinated and dependent where as male’s position is independent.

Rimal explores the status of women in traditional Nepali culture through female characters by focusing on the hardships and limitations faced by women. They are bound in area of domesticity. Their desires, wills, ambition and opportunities are killed because they are under the patriarchal system. In the play, Helen wants to be a mother, but her desire, is killed by her husband Krishna. He does so because he thinks that she only belongs to him and she is his own property. He has the freedom to do that because he is a male. Krishna has internalized the patriarchal ethos and shows his power through control of Helen’s sexuality and productivity by giving medicine. It can be observed in this dialogue spoken by him:

KRISHNA: [. . .] you don’t know it, but you couldn’t conceive because of me without letting you know I fed you medicines that prevented you from conceive. Now you understand that I wanted to keep you all to myself? (Removing his hands from her shoulders and stepping back.). By living you so much who will say I have done you injustice\ No matter how much I love you it’s never repentant enough. (15)

It may seem that Krishna loves her so much that he goes so far as to render infertile her so that he would not lose her intimacy. In patriarchal society males possess power. And whatever they desire they can do because males’ position is independent and supreme. For that, they exclude the position of a female; a male can controls female sexuality, productivity and reproductively. So male is regime over female. The gender roles which are presented unequally in the society, in those males are superior and females are inferior. So their mind is set up like that and both internalize the patriarchal norms and values on themselves. In a high sound Krishna says that, ‘no one says that I have done you in Justice’ because he loves Helen more than his life. For that he killed the desire or will of young woman because he is guided by patriarchal power and he internalizes the patriarchy system in his life. And they internalize their position because of gender roles.

From the traditional gender role women accept their dignity and function the role of patriarchy because they have internalized the patriarchal ethos. In the play Masan, Young woman performs the role of patriarchy and accepts her exploitation. She depends on her husband Krishna for her self existence. Thus, she isn’t jealous of co-wife.

KRISHNA: Wait! Tell me; don’t you feel Jealous of this other women at all?

YOUNG WOMAN: (Laughing) Jealous? She has become rich because of my wealth, why would I be Jealous of her? I am not that selfish and mean.  Aren’t you my wealth? (18)

Though Helen seems to be an educated and modern type of woman through her behavior, she has internalized patriarchal ethos in herself. It means the impact of traditional gender roles and conservative beliefs can be felt in her. She also couldn’t cross the boundary of traditional patriarchal rules and regulation and she is doomed to perform herself according to that. She is fully engaged in her household activities. Husband is everything for her and she feels satisfied respecting him, and finds meaning of her life in being a mother. She has internalized patriarchal norms and values, which is difficult to wash out from her mind. She performs her role as patriarchy dictates.

In the time of Rimal, women were trapped in a patriarchal world. Because in the Nepalese society, where male dominated female in the family and in the society. Women were psychologically restrained in a very special way. There were gender defined social roles for women which became established and institutionalized for women. These roles gave women considerable power and privileges but it dependent on their attachment to men and were based minimally on their satisfactory performance in rendering these men sexual and reproductive services. If a woman failed to these demands, she was quickly replaced and thereby lost all her privileges and standing. Women had to shape their lives and act under the umbrella of patriarchy. Patriarchy literally means rule of a male. It is social and ideological construct which considers men (who are the patriarchs) as superior to women. Men have possessed privileged position of power and authority.

Power is owned by dominant group as an attribute or property. With this power, they create limited truth about women, and they accept it as natural. They internalize power as is truth for them and follow their duties made by patriarchal society. However those duties are forced to internalize the false assumption of being true women as very natural, no doubt which are always in favours of males. Patriarchal structured society compels women to think that it is their destiny and women don’t think necessary to go against this because they internalize the norms and value of patriarchal ethos, which are constructed by the society. They are so trained that they easily accept their condition, so ever as if it is caused by fate. Thus they internalize it as very natural and essential.

Patriarchy has given certain rules and ideas in the society. The society is designed to female subordination. It is no doubt that Nepalese cultural system is traditional way. Women are expected to comply with their fathers or elders brothers in youth their husband in marriage and their sons after their husband death. The dominance of males runs through relationship. In the play Masan, Krishna talks with his mother about his sister’s condition. At the same time, they talk about the Bride’s condition. His mother says to Krishna that, “After begetting children the wives should also learn to sit in a corner like a piece of dirt” (48).

This dialogue of the mother indicates that women are like dust; they should stay in a corner in the pitiful condition after they deliver the child. It means that women should learn about their pain and suffering and tolerate it in the name of the patriarchy. Through this, she speaks the voice of patriarchy and its roles, values and custom. It enforces the acceptance of dominance in patriarchal society and compels women to internalize the values and beliefs of patriarchy.

Helen is a perfect Hindu woman in patriarchal society. She performs all the roles of domesticity, household activities and fully satisfaction being wife. She loves her husband very much and gives happiness to all the family. Helen seems to be ideal in the image of beloved, who has internal as well as external beauty. She is confident in her husband’s love for her; she thinks that love cannot be expressed in words. From here, she shows the feeling of imagination of love and sensations through the dialogue in this way:

KRISHNA: a few days ago you fainted, you haven’t eaten nor had any sleep for two or three days. I thought you had stopped loving me.

YOUNGH WOMAN: If by not talking for a few days love could die. What kind of love is that? Deep love doesn’t bring out words that easily. Neither does deep sorrow bring tears easily. (5)

Helen has different types of feeling in her mind.  She loves her husband very much and says that love can’t be expressed in words. Thus, in patriarchy women are bound only within the area of house and are taught to be satisfied in love. And they are restricted from their desire and will and bound in the area of domesticity and patriarchal values. They neglect their life or duties and perform the role as determined by patriarchy.

Patriarchy is a social and ideological construct which considers men that have power and are superior to women. Ideology is a commonly held belief system in which the prevailing matrices of social relations appear so natural that we take those social relations for granted. In the book The Communist Manifesto, Karl Marx proclaims that the ruling ideas of the society are the ideas of ruling class. It works as a means of oppression not necessary of class based on economy but also other social institutions such as, patriarchy, gender, race or ethnicity. Ideology legitimizes the existing social relation which allows certain portion of the population to exercise power and dominate the rest. The people who are dominated internalize the beliefs and values set by powerful group. Ideology represents the dominant form of power. According to Terry Eagleton, to legitimize such social relation, ideology involves different strategies:

A dominant power may legitimate itself by promoting beliefs and values congenial to it, naturalizing and universalizing such beliefs so as to render them self-evident and apparently inevitable, denigrating ideas which might challenge its, excluding rival forms of thought, perhaps by some unspoken but systematic logic, and obscuring social reality in ways convenient to itself. (5-6)

Ideology is in every single social relation. These institutions are mutually reinforced. When it comes to patriarchy, many social institutions mutually reinforce the dominant power of men over women concomitantly. The discourses helping to forge those institutions regulate their operation continuously. In order to regulate the institution and to sustain and empower their ideological functions in the service of certain group the discourse. Those are the new set of rules or new knowledge. These sets of rules or new knowledge become truth for human beings. And they are habituated and internalized day by day. And the major function of the patriarchal ideology is to uphold the existing form of oppression so that new rules and new knowledge is accepted by everyone as true and natural.

Ideology is commonly held belief system. This favors patriarchal ideology as well. Ideology does not operate only in the political field but also in every single social relation which are backed by the power holding institutions that are themselves discursively formed. These institution are mutually reinforcing the dominant power of men over women concomitantly and it sustains and empowers their ideological functions in the service of a certain group the discourses form new sets of rules or new knowledge.  The major function of patriarchal ideology is to uphold the existing form of oppression which is promoting the beliefs and values. It promotes beliefs internalize by the male and female in the society. It is dominant form of power, through which it supports the males. As in the play, the male is more powerful than the females, who are certainly guided by the ideology of patriarchy. In this case, a male can control, exploit, marry as he likes because patriarchal ideology makes him free to do so. As the Bagmati is a servant of a Krishna’s house, who says to her mistress:

My husband loved me from the start. And I though after giving him a son he would love me more, but instead the sinner brought another woman into the house. I couldn’t remain in the house. There was no room for me. You know mistress; a piece of flash is enough for such men. He acted like he wanted to me disappear. (40)

Bagmati tells her mistress that her husband too used to love her. After she was giving birth child, that love doesn’t remain genuine, because her husband brought another wife in her place. She thought that after giving a son, he would love her more but it turned into a false expectation. The men think their wives to be mere means of sexual pleasure and if they do not get any pleasure, they change wives for new one. They do so because they have the power and they have set the norms and values to their advantage. So, their action of changing the wives like the clothes does not seem unusual in the society. The females do not raise any question against their domination and exploitation; rather they support them to do so.  It happens because of the internalization of patriarchal norms and values unconsciously. In the play Masan, we can see Helen as the representative character of such females who being guided by the patriarchal rules and regulation forces her husband to remarry.

Antonio Granci’s theory of Ideological Hegemony supports the idea that the wretched ones accept the idea of the rulers as natural:

That is that ruling class establishes dominance not only by controlling the legal system, social rules and so on but also establishing a climate of thought in which the oppressed classes perpetrated their own oppression by learning the values of their master. (Quoted in Dawling, 129)

From, here we know that subjection isn’t always coercive; domination is subtle and is carried out through ideologies. It means power establishes a climate of thought in which exploited habituate their own exploitation by learning the values of their master. They learn about the power of truth and internalize truth as very natural and essential. From that the exploited want to be exploited, ruled want to be ruled. Where exploited supports the exploiter to be ruled upon by supporting the ruling class because of the internalization of power. In the play, Young Woman has been living as a devoted and self-sacrificing wife. She desires for her husband’s second marriage because she has learnt values of their masters in patriarchal society. She thinks of a son that should be the part of her husband and she has a belief that some wives cannot conceive until co-wife is brought in a hope of same for herself. Helen and Mother-in-Law speak in this way:

MOTHER-IN-LAW: [. . .] (To the young woman) How should we comfort you, now that you have a co-wife! You insisted that this marriage took place.

YOUNG WOMAN: (Trying to look happy as possible.) Some wives don’t conceive until a co-wife is brought in. I may have been born under such a star. (15)

This dialogue shows that Helen seems to be very innocent, and sacrifices a lot in search of her maternal love. Thus she brings a co-wife in her life. This shows that she wants to perpetuate her own oppression by learning the values of her master. Helen says that some wives cannot conceive until co-wife is brought and hopes same for herself. She forced her husband to remarry. After the marriage of Krishna, there is no any emotional relation between Krishna and Bride. Their physical relation also wouldn’t be possible without the exertion of Helen. Thus Helen wants to be exploited with her own hand. She has internalized the system of patriarchal rules and regulation. She is a blind supporter of patriarchy. She learns the rules, values and beliefs of patriarchy. She tries to remain happy though she has accepted a co-sister because of the internalization of patriarchy.

Michel Foucault argues culture, custom and rules are socially constructed. The social construction has stamped in our mind than we have to follow such construction in our life that is traditional norms and values system, which depicts the socio familial situation of patriarchal society. From the origin of human beings, the society has been constructing several rules and norms. In that construction, women are given no better position where females are suppressed and dominated. By having the power, the males construct everything which is suitable for them. Every institution, rule and law is men made. Everything is oriented to male because rules are the products of men. By imposing these norms rules and laws upon women, they dominate women and ignore their existence.  The male also internalizes the system of power. Women do not realize this power is socially constructed, and they think that it is true and they internalize it very essential and cultural or compulsory.

Power is maintained partly through the propagation of pseudo-knowledge or ideologies. Foucault says about on truth or knowledge in this way:

On the other hand, it seems to me that there are in society or (at least in our societies) other places where truth is formed, where certain number of games are defined games through which one sees certain forms of subjectivity, certain object domain, certain types of knowledge come into being and that, consequently, one can on the basis construct an external exterior history of truth. (4)

Truth is formed by power. Truth is defined in its own way from that knowledge comes out and people accept it. It means that constructed rules are defined by men in terms of their own way and those defined rules are truth for all people. They are habituated about the truth of power and they internalize it as essential part of knowledge.

Rimal also survives under patriarchy which can be clearly seen in this works. His depiction of male and female in the patriarchal society, internalize the values, rules, customs and beliefs. Patriarchy constructs everything with the power. In fact power creates regime of truth that truth must be essential part of them. It is not only internalized by the individual but also by the whole society. No one can escape from this process of internalization. Gopal Prasad Rimal depicts the effect of internalization upon everyone through the character Krishna in his play Masan in this way:

I saw Krishna for the first time only the other day in Tundikhel, behind Mahankal. [. . .] Knowing his story, I thought he would be a different kind of man, but he turned out to be an ordinary urban person like you or me. [. . .] I wrote this play from information I got form Bagmati. I am trying to get acquainted with Krishna. (60)

Rimal says that Krishna is an ordinary urban person like us. He means to say that he is not selfish. He has a good character but he too could not remain away from the ill effect of social structure set by patriarchy. His noble character also turns into evil along with the internalization of patriarchy. He internalizes the social structure and accepts it because it is socially constructed by the power of dominant society and receives it as truthful and follows it as a very natural and essential. So Rimal and his dramatic character internalize patriarchy. There, the mother or wife is merely as a dutiful object, someone to keep the house of the husband. In this sense Rimal is influenced by tradition. Willingly or unwillingly, he has internalized the patriarchal ethos.

Patriarchal society creates norms and values where women are instructed to acquire one less and contributive to the promotion of freedom and individuality. Even the religion, custom and socio-cultural norms and values are oriented towards the propagation of female submission and subordination. Women are compelled knowingly and unknowingly to internalize and assimilate those values which tend to constitute the secondary and subsidiary roles. The social role of women internalize as an essential and natural. Those social roles, which are composed by patriarchy on top of the women’s space and roles are circumscribed by certain prescriptions called womanly duties. Louis Tyson writes in Critical Theory Today, about the women’s duties:

That role is appropriate only for a property submissive ‘good girl”. The ‘good girl’ is rewarded for her behavior by being place on a pedestal by patriarchal culture. To her are attributed all the virtues associated with patriarchal felinity and domesticity. She is modest, unassuming, self sacrificing and nurturing. She has no need of her own for she is completely satisfied serving her family. At times, she may be sad about the problems of others and she frequently worries about hose in her care but she is never angry. (90)

For the above analysis, women perform the role, which is given by patriarchy. For being a good girl, she accepts the patriarchal culture and domesticity. She does not care about them but they satisfy serving their family. Women may be sad about the problems of others and frequently worries about those in her care. But they never get angry because of they are internalized the patriarchal ethos.

Young Woman performs the role which is given by patriarchy for being a ‘good wife’. So she accepts the cultural and domesticity. She cares all her family but especially her husband and Bride for a son. It means that she helps to solve the problem of patriarchy. In the play Bride marries to beget a child but husband doesn’t think about her. Helen makes the environment and serves the Bride’s worries and she says her husband not to do anything for Bride in this way:

No don’t do that let her be a mother. If you don’t feel like it, don’t look at her face, don’t love her but show some pity and let her become a mother. My wish also will be fulfilled with a child playing my lap, all my needs will be satisfied. Don’t talk about not letting her be a mother. After marrying her, you cannot just throw her own like that even if you don’t love her, at least show her sympathy. (30)

Helen is the puppet of patriarchal society. She fulfills the roles of patriarchy. So she says her husband to fulfill her wish to give a child in her life from Bride. Krishna is against it and ignores the bride and controls her maternity. Thus, Helen speaks that if he will not love her, show the sympathy pity upon Bride. Helen just wants to a son in any cost, so she forces her husband to give a son on her lap. So she accepts domesticity and motherhood as very essential part of women’s life. But she never gets angry with her husband and consoles him with lovingly and requests him to give the maternity right for the Bride. Where she performs the role of patriarchal agent, she runs in search for maternity in the whole play. Thus she internalizes all aspects of values directly or indirectly.

In the time of Rimal, women were controlled in a patriarchal world, a world in which male dominated female in the family and in society. Women had internalized patriarchal stereotypes which was difficult to wash out from their mind. Because these stereotypes were gender defined social roles for women, which becomes established and institutionalized for women. Gender doesn’t express sex as a primary given but is the effect of social or cultural process. In terms of gender, father represents male. So there is male’s domination in patriarchy. Female position is subordinated. Male’s position is free and independent. They see women are inferior, physically, biologically and psychologically. Through the centuries patriarchy has determined and shaped almost entirely the nature and quality of our society, its values and norms, the relation between sexes in which men are valued above women. Through this values and norms they internalize patriarchal ethos.

Aristotle declared women as “female is female by virtue of a certain lack of qualities” (quoted in Beauvoir, 134). Thus women were regarded as inferior creature since long ago and the system of patriarchy developed. And this system is internalized by women as true or natural. Thomas acquaints the belief of Aristotle continued thinking about women that “they are inferior and unfinished men or imperfect men or incidental darling” (xviii).

This statements show that, women are inferior and imperfect man, they are only darling for men. She is not regarded as an autonomous. They are dependent on man. This thought of binaristic qualities, made by the power of patriarchal society and imposed upon women is regarded true and essential.

Bride cannot think herself as an autonomous being. She wants her husband’s love and his shadows upon her all the time. She is also in search of the love of her husband. She thinks that her husband’s love is snatched away from her co-wife. This concept indicates that she has internalized the patriarchal values. She looks Helen as an enemy. So she says that without love of her husband, her life is not fulfilled. Thus Bride speaks that, “You are a witch! You turned my husband into a lamb” (55). She wants to be darling of her husband and wants to live with him. She cannot think without his love. For the love of husband, she doubts upon her co-sister as destroyer of her life. So she can’t find herself as a perfect woman. From this, we know that Bride thinks that husband is all in one. This shows that they see their life with the eyes of her husband. From this perspective it can be said that women are inferior to men because of the constructed rules of patriarchy and their activities. This inferiority is internalized by women themselves because patriarchy creates this regime of truth.

When women internalize the patriarchal rules or ethos, they aren’t against the patriarchy but they support it. In that they doubt upon women as their enemy because in our society women are backward from the education as well as outside work they are only controlled in the household activities. In such case in our society mother in law exploits the daughter in law, co wife sees enemy to co sister. The traditional and conservative society establishes such system, where women are realized that men never do wrong upon them. In the play Masan, Bride and Bagmati said that Helen and mother in-law are a witch. They refer that Bride is exploited by young woman and mother-in-law. They doubt young woman as a witch, in the following citation:

BAGMATI: Do you think they are witches?

BRIDE: ?!

BAGMATI: If we hadn’t given birth to sons, our husbands wouldn’t have had anybody to light their funeral pyre after their death. So why should this happen to us! I am sure they are_ (The witch carrying the Child and the mother in law enter). (41)

From the dialogue of Bagmati and Bride, we assume that women exploit women themselves. Bride thinks that her life is destroyed by Young Woman and Mother-in-Law. So she sees young women in her enemy. She doubts Young Woman is witch. She also thinks that domination or exploitation is in the name of culture of tradition. Bagmati says that without son, our husbands would not have had anybody to light their funeral pyre of their death. For this culture or tradition, they are exploited by patriarchy. And they have learnt the patriarchal values, where they call it their culture and tradition. In the name of culture and tradition women accept their domination and exploitation, which mostly is caused by internalization of patriarchal ethos and they never go against the patriarchy. But they see their enemies are the women themselves.

Women are treated as commodity in patriarchal society. They see freedom but cannot experience it. In family their voice doesn’t get any place. Where her husbands, father, male members are dictators. Their relatives, supposes nearest persons try to impose their desire upon women where male is upper in the society and female is lower in society. It doesn’t mean that women are suffering from only with in family but family itself is initiating point for women’s domination. Women are being exploited in the society on the basis of patriarchal norms and values which are the construction of economic position. Though women are the victims of men’s comfort, Rosmarie Tong says about the domination, “Man’s control of women will cease only with the dissolution of the institution of private property” (49).

Here she says that domination will stop only after the dissolution of private property. Otherwise in the economic position, women are being exploited by patriarchy or men. Man is the inheritator of the property and women have nothing thus they are under the men and they accept the norms and values of patriarchal society.

Bagmati also is the victim of her husband and work at the house of Krishna as a servant for the food. She is born in well of family and her husband has lot of property and have a standard life. But all that property is in the hand of her husband, where she has nothing except pain and suffering. After her husband brings another wife, her husband chases her away from the house without anything. So she says to the Bride, everything is in the house belongs to husband in this conversation:

BAGMATI: You almost spoiled everything. You know, it is these old people who understand the problems of mothers. And I’ll tell you something else. Stop cursing this house. We don’t have anywhere else to go besides it. If we are neglected here we don’t have to imagine that anyone else will take using, let alone you parents. (44)

From this, Bagmati teaches the moral lesson of patriarchy to the Bride. She says that house is feeding them. There is no life beside this house. Where she internalizes the patriarchal rules and regulation and speaks the voice of patriarchy. In this point of view she says that all the property is in the hand of men either in husband’s house or parents’ house, they have nothing. So she requests her not to curse this house. They are just used to fulfill the desire of family because of the economic power. Through the economic power, women are compelled to stay in the husband’s house. However their condition is where they are merely used for men’s comfort. In which all the property is based on men. By the cause of economic women are internalized the patriarchal ethos.

Patriarchy constructed knowledge perpetuates patriarchal ideology and this is reflected in knowledge system which reinforces male domination. Regarding this view, Desai and Krishnaraj draw attention to symbolism that perpetuates women’s weaknesses:

More subtle expression of patriarchy was through symbolism giving messages of inferiority of women through legends highlighting the self sacrificing, self effecting pure image of women and through ritual practices which emphasized the dominate role of women as a faithful wife and devout mother. (299)

In patriarchy women should be understood as a self sacrificing, self effacing which refers to the inferiority of women. In that, they understand as the dominant role of women with a faithful wife and devout mother. Women as their task, they are faithful towards their husband and family in the patriarchal society where by their nature is loyal to depend on patriarchal system and values.

In Rimal’s Masan Bride is devoted mother towards son, as in pathetic condition who wants to be sacrifice for a son. It means, the son is the image of patriarchy. In that she wants to sacrifice herself for the son. In the view of Bride, “It’s the samething. I almost was not able to feed my son. To give birth to a son and not to be able to feed him, how cursed I would have been then. Thank god, I am still feeding him, which means my sin is not so great” (39).

Here, she is devoted mother towards son; son is the male; who is the inheritator of the family in the male dominated society. She wants to save her son because she has internalized the patriarchal values. Even in the mouth of death she tries to feed her son and does not care herself. She is devoted towards her motherhood as well as patriarchy. It means desire to keep the son alive means that she wants to help progress of the patriarchy even in such condition. Son is the member of the patriarchal society. So she depends on the son means depends on the patriarchal society and realizes that her sin is no more so great.

“Sexuality is far more one of the positive products of power than power was ever repressive of sex” (Foucault, 119). It shows that power produce sexuality means distinction by sex. Then it was ever repressive of sex. Where, it treats male and female inequalities relation. In that cause women’s performs the traditions role of wives, mothers etc.

As Helen seems very much innocent and perform herself as a wife fully saturated with the maternal love. She seems to be an obedient and faithful housewife as the male dominated society demands. Young Woman performs her role of obedient wife in the play and takes all imposed duties upon her as very compulsory and essential. She can find satisfaction in the traditional role of wife and mother. This makes her life as miserable. As she says:

Just watch and see how your son, with a part of you and all the love that I will shower upon him will break all walls between me and your new wife. See how the outpouring of my love will overflow such small insignificant dams. Just get a son him is to my lap. Do not degrade my love by raising all sorts of doubt.  (3-4)

Helen seems fully satisfied on being a wife and she desires to become mother, where she forces her husband to remarry to get a son. She performs the role of tradition to get a son, where she has internalized the patriarchal norms, values and custom. She is perfect woman who wants to bring the co-wife in her life, which shows her miserable condition. In that patriarchal society looks curse of life. So she forces her husband to remarry, she says that her life will break all walls between her and new wife. So she woos her husband to remarry and get a son into her lap. She desires the love of a child that can dry her, burn her and empty her. She loves her husband very much and for the desire of son, she sacrifices her right of wife, makes her miserable. She performs and satisfies herself in the traditional role of women in order to internalize of the patriarchal ethos. The point is that women have to serve as the image pleasing to the patriarchal eye.

Patriarchy is a social system, where women had to shape their lives and act under the rules and custom of patriarchy. As similar gazing eyes on something socially constructed, it is a reason because of which their underlying structure is very patriarchy. Females are treated as incomplete being, come thing as the pleasing object to the male eyes. In Rimal’s Masan all the female characters work hard to make themselves pleasures to the male. Where the favorable male gaze gives them some purpose and meaning, they try to best to achieve it. Bagmati try to pleasure her husband as well as young women also try to do pleasure her husband as well as young women also try to do pleasure her husband through showing the love and force to remarry to get a son. It means that female gaze itself has become male gaze because they look upon themselves from male eyes. Through this look upon as the male gaze they are oppressed themselves and perform the role of patriarchy. In which they internalize the system of patriarchal roles and custom to please male.

“The oppressed, having internalized the image of the oppressor and adopted his guidelines are fearful of freedom” (Freire 47). Oppressed internalize the system of power or its rules, regulation and values. They accept the roles and system which are the guidelines for them and they are never against the oppressor. Unequal power distribution can easily be seen by observing the gender of people at decision making at posts. It is obvious that the number of women at the decision making level is quite low in comparison to that of males. So males oppress them with different perspective and female internalizes the image of the oppressor and adopt the guidelines which are fearful of freedom.

Helen, who is a faithful and devoted wife of Krishna, gazes with a males under patriarchy and satisfied with patriarchal norms and values in the beginning of the play. The social role of her shows that she focuses on culture and religion. For that she performs the roles of rituals and cultural. For the culture and patriarchal system Helen accepts the co-wife in her life. And she thinks that she will be given the birth of child after the presence of co-wife in her life, she believes in her fatalism. As young woman says, “some wives don’t conceive until a co-wife is brought in. I may have been born under such a star” (15). This indicates she is search of her maternal love. This entire image is from adopted the power of patriarchy. Where she follows all the concept of patriarchal system in her life and supports the traditional system. With internalization of patriarchal ethos she adopts the guidelines in her life for the materiality.

Traditional social structure is always based on such masculine values system. In that traditional social structure supports hegemonic masculinity where man possesses power in order to dominate and rule over women. Men just takes the women as the medium of fulfill his wild sexual desire or as a machine of producing offspring. He just treats female as lump of flesh having no life existence and identity as Bagmati says with Bride, “You know mistress, a piece of flesh is enough for such men. He acted like he wanted me to disappear” (40). In this way both the female and male characters seem very much sadistic, they hurt others directly or indirectly and get pleasure with that. They neglect the identity of female and treat them just as doll. They have no meaning of female sentiment and desire where as female characters mostly posses the masochistic attitude, they get satisfaction from self torture. They are fully engaged inside the boundary of domesticity and motherhood. They cannot accept the natural situation as they are facing, instead run after the traditional concept of femininity to make them complete female. Due to their easy adoptation to traditional concept, they are othered and dominated. They are internalized the patriarchal ethos as an essential and natural. And they perform the role according to patriarchy.

Krishna is a middleclass educated person. He is the member of patriarchal society, he follows all the constructed concept of patriarchal ethos and performs his roles according to that. His all actions are guided by his desire of fulfilling his physical lustful need with young, attractive and beautiful body of his wife. Thus he always wants Helen to be young and energetic; he doesn’t want her in the image of a mother. His conversation with baby Bhotu shows his desire of making her always Helen, not a mother as he says with Bhotu; “That’s not mother, that’s Helen” (1). Krishna is a powerful man where patriarchy has freed to do anything to him. Because of this patriarchal concept he is controlled over the female and used them as his will. Where, Krishna has also internalized the patriarchal ethos in the play.

So in the play, all the characters are internalized the patriarchal ethos as an essential and natural and performed the role according to it. Helen is performed the role according to the patriarchy because she is so innocent and she is victim of patriarchal rules and regulation. All the roles are imposed upon her and she is performed the role of patriarchy. In that, those rules, values are socially constructed and she, or other characters also accept that patriarchal norms and perform the differently.

To sum up, Helen and bride, including other are also internalized the norms and values which have been created by male ideology and power of patriarchy. And they accept these belief and values as an essential. And they think that whatever power creates, that is truth and internalize the power of knowledge and support to the patriarchy to progress with different form and style. In Rimal’s time both men and women have internalized patriarchal stereotypes which was difficult to wash out from their mind. In such situation rather they critiquing traditional patriarchal system, they accept it as very natural and essential. So his character follows the traditional patriarchal roles. They accept their domination and subordination because of the internalization of patriarchal ethos.

 

 


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