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Book Review: Rajmohan’s Wife By Bankim Chandra Chattopadhaya

Review Of  Rajmohan’s Wife By Bankim Chandra Chattopadhaya
 Rajmohan’s Wife

One well-known figure in Indian history is Bankim Chandra Chattopadhaya. Personifying his thoughts using literary tropes like allegories and personification, Bankim is regarded as one of the pioneers of Indian nationalism. Written during India's colonial era, when men and women were subject to the might of the ruling class, Bankim's groundbreaking novel "Rajmohan's Wife" is the first Indian English novel and his only work in English. Subsequently, the author switched to writing in Bengali. In order to convey his picture of modern India, Bankim purposefully used metaphorical writing in this book. In "Rajmohan's Wife," Bankim presents the backdrop of a traditional Indian society, complete with all of its intricate political, ideological, cultural, and social facets.

He created the character of Matangini and it is through her courage, spirit, strength and righteousness against the unjust society did Bankim draw the differences between the confining patriarchal Indian society which existed at the time and the newly emergent liberating modern society of the kind which was envisioned by Bankim. The inequality between genders is made clear right from the novel’s title, where Mantagini once married Rajmohan has taken up his name and lost her right to her identity, the novel also throws light upon the man’s fallacy towards marital life, the faithfulness and silence of the wife is often wrongly perceived by the Indian patriarchy, The Indian patriarchy has labelled a married woman to be the husband’s property.

The novel thus tells us the story of a bright and strong willed woman Mantagini. ‘Rajmohan’s wife’ represents the emergence of a new woman with Mantagini as a new spirit, she is not merely someone’s wife but a personification of the Modern India itself. In this paper I aim to explore the themes of woman and agency and its changing roles in the nineteenth century India.

Rajmohan's Wife : Bankim Chandra Chatterjee: Books

Rajmohan can be seen as a perfect example of both tradition and modernity. Matangini was initially portrayed as a typical Indian woman who is least bothered by, or rather is supposed to be unaffected by, the sensitiveness of reasoning and rationality. However, this first introduction later contradicts to her bravery and Chasity towards her emotions and feelings, so Matangini's consciousness is one of the themes explored within the narrative. Matangini displayed her reason when she replied, "I had gone because I thought there was nothing wrong with it," but refusing to follow Rajmohan's orders was unacceptable to him. Instead of being worried about her safety, Rajmohan was angry that Matangini had gone against his wishes.

Mantagini is constrained by social mores and conventions, where a Chasity lady is seen traditional; that being said, her expression and personality are no different from those of any contemporary woman. She expresses her opinion.

When Matangini expresses her love and adoration for Madhav, she crosses the line set for women and becomes a "laxman Rekha." The stereotypes of the ideal wife are broken by Matngini. During a period when the country believed that men should have all authority and make all decisions for the family and society, Bankim skillfully shaped a character like Matangini, a woman who is actually quite loud and daring.

In this story, the notion that a woman may perform the tasks and responsibilities traditionally assigned to a man in the Indian patriarchy was novel. After admitting to her brother-in-law that being a married woman is already an unacceptable behavior in today's liberal society, she retaliates and speaks out against patriarchy. She deftly adjusts her rights by selecting her interests and listening to her inner voice, even while society consistently denies her basic rights. This might be interpreted as her quest of pleasure in discord. The novel's protagonist, Matangiri, had a great deal of vitality and vivacity in her devotion, demonstrating not only love but also sympathy for her sister.

"Rajmohan’s Wife" by Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay is a literary masterpiece that has truly captivated the hearts of millions. Set against the backdrop of rural Bengal in the late 18th century, this novel takes readers on an emotional rollercoaster ride through love, sacrifice, and societal challenges.

At its core, "Rajmohan’s Wife" is a timeless love story that resonates with readers on a deeply emotional level. The character of Matangini, with her strength, resilience, and unwavering love for her husband Rajmohan, steals the spotlight and leaves an indelible mark on readers' hearts. Her journey is one of love, loss, and ultimately, redemption, making her a character that readers can't help but root for.