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AKKU INDIAN CLASSICAL STORY

AKKU INDIAN CLASSICAL STORY

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  • 1. AKKU Vaidehi is the pen name of Janaki Srinivasa Murthy. She was born in 1945 in Kundapur, Udupi Taluk, in coastal Karnatake. After doing her B-Com in Kundapur, Vaidehi married K L Srinivasa Murthy and went to live in Shimoga. They later moved to Udupi and then to Manipal, where they now live. Vaidehi has two daughters, Nayana Kashyap and Pallavi Rao. Short story writer, poet, dramatist, biographer and translator, Vaidehi is the recipient of several states Sahitya Akademi awards as well as the prestigious Anupama Prize, the M K Indira Prize and the Attimabbe Award. As a noted Kannada writer Vaidehi is hailed by Critics and readers alike for her evocative portrayal of the inner world of women. She writes with deep compassion and understanding about women, who live amidst sorrows and poverty but somehow find the strength to go on living. She focuses on the ordinariness of their lives, writing about the midwife turned gatekeeper at the town’s new cinema, the half-crazed woman who thinks she is pregnant, the compulsions of an honest but poor man’s wife, or the upheaval caused when a girl confesses to her neighbour that she wants to be a prostitute. The stories, which are full of wry humour and acute social description, celebrate the joyous fact that A wave once created only grows bigger and bigger; it can never recede. In this collection of twenty stories, the translators capture the subtle nuances of Vaidehi’s stories and their multiple ambiguities, bringing her to a wider readership. Among her well known short stories are Gylabi Talkies, Page MUHAMMAD AZAM, LECTURER, SHAHEEN ACADEMY, G-6/1-3, ISLAMABAD PH#03335418018 1
  • 2. from the Interior, Abha Akku, Saugandhi talking to Herself!, Ghost and The Inner Life”. In all these stories, Vaidehi has portrayed the grim realities of women suffering at the hands of indifferent men. One of the main missions of Vaidehi, among the most compelling Kannada women writers of our times is the retrieval of the woman's voice from the past. The women characters, Vaidehi portrays are freer emotionally than earlier. Alegalalli Antaranga is a compilation of Vaidehi's short stories written over the last three decades. In the 80-odd short stories, spread into six collections, Vaidehi steers clear of jingoistic feminist positions, but presents the perspective of a woman as it affected her, from the politics of everyday life. Therefore, the stories mostly capture the woman's real world, her real experiences, and the various aspects of self-fashioning, without taking overt, ideological stances. Vaidehi is one of the most unusual voices we have in Kannada today, who also opened up a new worldview with a refreshingly new spoken language. Even in being strongly rooted — in a specific geographical location with a distinct language dialect — Vaidehi's stories achieve a pan-Indian sweep. From women being passive narrators of stories, women now tell stories that emerge from their lived life experiences and memories. As Vaidehi herself puts it, there was a clear demarcation between the outside world; with its loud, authoritative voices (the Chavadi and beyond), and the inside world; MUHAMMAD AZAM, LECTURER, SHAHEEN ACADEMY, G-6/1-3, ISLAMABAD PH#03335418018 2
  • 3. entrenched in its poignant, disquieting silences (the kitchen, the backyard and a little more). Most of Vaidehi's narratives are invariably set against the backdrop of these two distinct worlds — the outer realm with its imposing voice and the inner realm shut into a silence. The tension in negotiating these two worlds, often perceived as infringement, seen as protest by the patriarchal order, make for the plot of most Vaidehi's stories. Vaidehi's women are almost always a product of their situation, hence their negotiations are unstated. CRITICAL SUMMARY OF “AKKU” Akku from her collection Antarangada Putagalu is one of Vaidehi's most haunting story. It is the story of Akku, a zany middle-aged woman, who takes on the world in her state of madness. Akku's good-for-nothing husband suddenly disappears, and Akku goes around imagining she's pregnant. Vaidehi's akku, the "dark double" gives a hearing to her simmering anxiety and rage. Akku, appears as strong case of insurrection, in her not being normal. There hangs an air of uneasy silence with Ajjaya's iron fist controlling the breath of every occupant of the house, but nobody can put a stop to akku living life entirely on her terms — a man's prerogative. The vigilant Akku and her indomitable spirit refuse to be suppressed by the heartless wounds inflicted on her. So much so, in her version of the world around her, the distinction between Akku as a conscience-keeper and a tattletale is blurred; the distinction between truth and untruth. MUHAMMAD AZAM, LECTURER, SHAHEEN ACADEMY, G-6/1-3, ISLAMABAD PH#03335418018 3
  • 4. In Vaidehi’s Telegu Story “Akku/Elder Sister”, the protagonist, addressed as “elder sister”, is portrayed as the only person capable of defying society, of standing up for her rights, and of making transparent the double standards of male morality –but to what avail? In the English translation, the richness of the dialect Vaidehi uses is, unfortunately, completely lost. The story ends with her finally getting yet another of her regular disciplining beating. This infliction of physical violence on a woman who, although a keen observer of her surroundings, is obviously mentally deranged, cannot be read as a record of women’s indomitability in the face of society’s repressiveness:- “Ayyayyoh! Vasu is killing me! Appayya! He is beating me. He is killing my baby, Appayya! You ask this fellow why he was sitting and waiting on Thammannaya’s verandah day-before-yesterday, Appayya - -!”He hit her on her screaming mouth. No one stopped him. No one intervened either to say no’ or pull her away from him. Every minute the size of those gathered around was growing. It appeared as though they stood there wishing the scene to go on forever. There was a matching momentum to the screaming and the thrashing. When Bhanu-chikki with her arms on her hips observed, “If it is not craziness, what else is it? This one can make a fool of anyone . . . ,” her voice seemed to be edged with tears. “If I had been beaten up like this I would have just died. Isn’t this why they say crazy people are very strong!’ said another woman’s mother. Docility that is regarded as a high virtue for the woman gets cleverly turned into a vice, an inability to attract the opposite sex. Much that Sougandhi desires to scream from rooftops that she wouldn't even mind being raped — contrary to what the world thinks of her — she is trapped; in a devious traditional society that has a suit-yourself attitude to modernity. Resistance in Vaidehi's stories is at once subtle and powerful. Subtle because it doesn't gratify in celebratory feminist positions, powerful because it attacks the basic construct of a traditional society, even as she recognizes that modernity is MUHAMMAD AZAM, LECTURER, SHAHEEN ACADEMY, G-6/1-3, ISLAMABAD PH#03335418018 4
  • 5. not complete in itself. Vaidehi is clearly a product of her times: the seventies with its "second wave" of feminism. Therefore one finds in her works the smell of jasmines, tinkling anklets, dark kitchens as well as a movement into thresholds marked "strictly for men". There is an awakening of desire and an awareness of sexuality. If multiple ambiguities exist, even that is true. Exhausted, leaving Akku there, “All of you — clear out!” Vasuchikkappayya ordered. Soon after that he himself came out, shut the door quickly and bolted it. Fear of Akku rushing to the door immediately to bang on it and demand her freedom were belied. Our desire to secretly unbolt the door when no one was looking also lost its warmth. Akku remained inside, waving her ‘tuwaal’ through the small window and shouting, “That Thammannayya’s wife is waiting for you - go, look, run, run fast! Shameless man! Come and hit me, let me see...!” _ Vasuchikkappayya clamped his hand over Akku’s mouth and dragged her into the kitchen closeby that was used for cooking on special occasions. Pulling out a stick of firewood from the pile there he brought it own repeatedly on Akku’s back, like beating a garment on the washing stone. Akku remained inside, waving her ‘tuwaal’ through the small window and shouting, “That Thammannayya’s wife is waiting for you - go, look, run, run fast! Shameless man! Come and hit me, let me see...!” _ The side effects of allopathic drugs make people think of alternative-Indian systems of medicine. Similarly, the havoc of fertilisers are taking farmers back to natural/organic farming. Vrikshayurveda in essence is vanaspathika jeevana vignana — the science of growing trees. It is a discipline said to have been well-established even before sixth Century A.D. Surapala's 60-page Sanskrit manuscript was procured from a library in England and got translated, first into English and then into Hindi and Marathi. The present work is a Kannada translation. MUHAMMAD AZAM, LECTURER, SHAHEEN ACADEMY, G-6/1-3, ISLAMABAD PH#03335418018 5