The present paper aims to make a critical appreciation of the short story the Weed by renowned Indian fiction-writer Amrita Pritam. Originally created in Punjab language, the story was later translated by Raj Gill in English language, which contains the explicit elements of feminist perspective attributed to the authoress. …
The story elucidates the cultural traits had been in vogue in the Indian rural areas for centuries, predominantly in respect of the exploitation of women at the hands of male dominant society. In the traditional Indian villages, the women do not have the right to choose the spouse of their choice. Instead, they have to submit to the will and commands of their father in order to enter into matrimonial relationship. Consequently, the majority of the woman folk has to spend the entire life with a person with whom they do not any record of meetings altogether. The same is also applied to Angoori, the protagonist of the story under examination.
The short-story revolves round the life and activities of the only protagonist, who has recently got married in the street where the narrator/authoress resides. Her strict observing the veil, as per the traditions of the Hindu women of India, portrays her to be a conventional wife, who does not have any concern with the outer world consists of strangers belonging to both the genders. Hence, the protagonist appears to be a shy and cowardly young girl confined to her husband as well as the domestic chores and responsibilities without taking any notice of the developments being made in her social environment. Since Angoori has not entered into interaction with the outer world, she is taken to be a secluded type of girl by the narrator. Angoori had developed the habit of sitting under the neem tree at noon by the well, where the narrator also used to sit with some reading material. Her refusal to learn reading and writing, and declaring reading as a sin for the rural women was taken as a surprise for the narrator, though she got the point that Angoori was just refusing her offer of teaching her because of her indifference to the same. Hence, she appeared to be in internal conflict between her desire to learn reading and the traditions she had been imitating since her childhood, applying restrictions on the females’ seeking education. However, her inner desire to learn the same at the end of the story, where she expressed her inner longings to learn how to read and write before the narrator. The protagonist views the female desire of seeking union with male of her choice to be an outcome of the weed consumption, which the males keep with them and craftily make the girls eat the same by secretly putting it in betel. Since betel is traditionally consumed in Indian cultures, it is very popular among the males and females alike. Somehow, simplicity demonstrated by Angoori is really startling for the narrator, which could not be expected by any grown-up individual of urban area altogether. Thus, Angoori’s s presenting her to be an extremely simple girl is the rising point, which has been supported with her description of the arranging of marriages at villages by the father, elder brother or guardian of the brides. Somehow, her description of the elopement of girls after consuming weed by some male contradicts her previous statement about marriage phenomenon. Sitting idly and in a gloomy mood is quite unexpected for the narrator, who has always found her in a jovial disposition and smiling face. In addition, her silver ornaments have also been disappeared from her body along with her giggling from her lips. Thus, her disclosure about the departure of Ram Tara, the night watchman, is the climax of the story, which has not only snatched her jubilance and joys, but also created an urge in her to sing sad songs depicting lamentation on the departure of someone most desired. Her hidden longings for learning reading and writin ...
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