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Women empowerment

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A MICROLEVEL ANALYSIS OF WOMEN AND POWER IN R.K. NARAYAN’S WAITING FOR THE MAHATMA & THE PAINTER OF SIGNS

A MICROLEVEL ANALYSIS OF WOMEN AND POWER IN R.K. NARAYAN’S WAITING FOR THE MAHATMA & THE PAINTER OF SIGNS

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  • 1. A MICROLEVEL ANALYSIS OF WOMEN AND POWER IN R.K. NARAYAN‟S WAITING FOR THE MAHATMA & THE PAINTER OF SIGNS By KOGILA KANNI THESIS SUBMITED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENT FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS NOVEMBER 2009 1
  • 2. ACKNOWLEDGEMENT First and foremost, I would like to thank, Jayaprakash Kanniappan for the endless love and support that spurred me to complete this study. I dedicate this research to you JP. I am also grateful to Dr. Agnes Liau Wei Lin who provided profound guidance and supported this study from the beginning. Thank you for your patience Dr. Agnes. I am also grateful to my father Mr. Kanni Subramaniam and my mother Mdm. Thevi Thangaveloo for their blessings and for tolerating my long absence. I thank my dearest friends Lam See Wei, Ravichandrika Alagirisamy and Usha Rani Marimuthu for their sincere support. My lovely sister and brother in law, Jayalatchimy Kanni and Raman Krishnan, I thank them for the comfort and help they offered at the most needed moments. I thank my most dear friend, Jacqueline Asha Anand, for her kind help and prayers. Thank you so much Jacqueline. Last but not least, I would also love to thank Kanjana and Agelya for being there for me. Thank you 2
  • 3. Table of Contents LIST OF FIGURES .................................................................................................................. 5 ABSTRAK ................................................................................................................................. 6 ABSTRACT .............................................................................................................................. 7 CHAPTER 1 .................................................................................................................................. 8 1.0 INTRODUCTION ........................................................................................................ 8 1.1 NARAYAN: THE CREATOR OF MALGUDI ..................................................... 10 1.2 THE STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM ............................................................. 12 1.3 OBJECTIVES ........................................................................................................ 14 1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS .................................................................................... 14 1.5 THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY ............................................................... 14 1.6 LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY ......................................................................... 15 1.7 DEFINITION OF TERMS .................................................................................... 16 1.8 SUMMARY............................................................................................................ 19 CHAPTER 2 ................................................................................................................................ 21 2.0 INTRODUCTION ...................................................................................................... 21 2.1 FOUCAULT AND POWER ...................................................................................... 24 2.2 FOUCAULT AND FEMINISM ................................................................................ 28 2.3 POWER AND INDIAN WOMEN............................................................................. 34 2.4 NARAYAN: A CRITICAL RESPONSE .................................................................. 38 2.5 SUMMARY ................................................................................................................. 49 CHAPTER 3 ................................................................................................................................ 52 3.0 INTRODUCTION ...................................................................................................... 52 3.1 Thematic Analysis ....................................................................................................... 52 3.2 Selected Novels & Theory .......................................................................................... 53 3
  • 4. 3.3 Interpretation of the Analysis .................................................................................... 54 CHAPTER 4 ................................................................................................................................ 55 4.0 INTRODUCTION ...................................................................................................... 55 4.1 FREEDOM AND POWER RELATIONS IN THE PAINTER OF SIGNS .......... 55 4.2 FREEDOM AND POWER RELATIONS IN WAITING FOR THE MAHATMA 63 4.3 SUMMARY ................................................................................................................. 70 CHAPTER 5 ................................................................................................................................ 71 5.0 INTRODUCTION ...................................................................................................... 71 5.1 EMPOWERMENT THROUGH POWER-TO ........................................................ 71 5.1.1 Women Empowerment through Power-to in The Painter of Signs .................... 71 5.1.2 Women Empowerment through Power-to in Waiting for the Mahatma ........... 77 5.2 EMPOWERMENT THROUGH POWER-OVER .................................................. 81 5.2.1 Women Empowerment through Power-over in The Painter of Signs ................ 81 5.2.2 Women Empowerment through Power-over in Waiting for the Mahatma ..... 87 5.3 SUMMARY ................................................................................................................. 93 CHAPTER 6 ................................................................................................................................ 94 6.0 INTRODUCTION ...................................................................................................... 94 6.1 RESULTS AND DISCUSSION FOR RESEARCH QUESTION ONE ................. 94 6.2 RESULTS AND DISCUSSION FOR RESEARCH QUESTION TWO ................ 97 6.3 SUMMARY ............................................................................................................... 100 REFERENCES ............................................................................................................................ 101 4
  • 5. LIST OF FIGURES Figure 2.1 R.K. Narayan‟s Women in Power 5
  • 6. SATU ANALISIS TAHAP MIKRO TENTANG WANITA DAN KUASA DALAM NOVEL WAITING FOR THE MAHATMA DAN THE PAINTER OF SIGNS KARYAAN R.K. NARAYAN ABSTRAK Kajian ini mendalami situasi-situasi watak-watak wanita dalam Waiting for the Mahatma (1955) dan The Painter of Signs (1977) karyaan R.K. Narayan. Wanita- wanita tersebut memprakktikan kuasa dalam hubungan kuasa pada tahap mikro dengan menggunakan Teori Kuasa Foucault (1978). Kajian ini juga menggambarkan pengertian „power-over‟ dan „power-to‟ yang mana watak-watak wanita memperoleh penguasaan pada tahap micro hubungan kuasa yang berlaku dalam kalangan masyarakat setempat mereka. Seterusnya kajian ini mendedahkan sudut produktif kuasa yang mewujudkan kemungkinan kebebasan dan perubahan sosial dalam kehidupan wanita. Teori Kuasa Foucault (1978) mendapati bahawa watak-watak wanita Narayan tidak ditindas sepenuhnya seperti yang dicadangkan oleh teori kuasa kontemporari yang disandang oleh feminis. Sebaliknya, kajian ini menbuktikan penguasaan watak-watak wanita Narayan, dimana Daisy, Laxmi, Bharathi dan nenek Sriram semuanya terlibat secara langsung dalam tahap mikro perhubungan kuasa yang mempamerkan keyakinan diri, ketelusan, ketabah, dan keterlibatan dalam perubahan diri mereka dan juga dalam lingkungan budaya mereka. Dalam keadaan ini, Teori Kuasa Foucault memberi feminis cara pemikiran yang positif tentang hubungan kuasa dengan wanita. 6
  • 7. A MICROLEVEL ANALYSIS OF WOMEN & POWER IN R.K. NARAYAN’S WAITING FOR THE MAHATMA & THE PAINTER OF SIGNS ABSTRACT This study explores the situations in which the women characters of Narayan's Waiting for the Mahatma (1955) and The Painter of Signs (1977) exercise power in the microlevel power relations through Foucault‟s (1978) theory of power. It also illustrates the notion of 'power-over' and 'power to' through which these women characters gain empowerment in the microlevel power relations that circulate in the local level of the society they live in. This study exposes the productive dimension of power that creates possibilities for freedom and social change in women‟s lives. Foucault‟s theory of power reveals that Narayan‟s women characters are not entirely repressive as suggested by the contemporary theory of power sought by feminists. Instead, it evident women empowerment, where Narayan‟s Daisy, Laxmi, Bharathi and Sriram‟s grandmother who are directly involved in the microlevel power relations appear assertive, bold, strong and involved in bringing changes in themselves and also in the culture they live in. In this respect, Foucault‟s analysis of power provides feminists with different ways of thinking about power in relation to women. 7
  • 8. CHAPTER 1 1.0 INTRODUCTION In a world dominated by men, women strove to attain power over their life and living. It took great effort for women to confirm their existence as more than homemakers and caregivers. In such a situation, women and power are two elements that gained association after great battles of rights. The feminist movement in the past was a social and political movement. Then, women fought for their rights to vote. Later, World War Two involved the enrolment of women into the workplace to provide labour. As they joined the workforce, they became aware of their unequal economic and social status beside men. Dissatisfaction increased and they began to demand for their rights over their personal fulfilment. Betty Friedan in her Feminine Mystique (Quindlen, 2001) discussed the issue of personal achievement as „the problem that has no name‟. She delivered her message through her writing that evokes every woman who reads the book to have the power to change her state of living as a woman. Thus, the empowerment of women started to emerge. Later in 1996, the National Organization for Woman (NOW), an official group was formed to represent women and campaign for women‟s concerns. Leaders such as Betty Friedan, Bella Abzug, Shirley Chisholm, and Gloria Steinem pressured politicians to become aware of women‟s concerns and work on legislation that would improve the quality of women‟s lives. 8
  • 9. Since then, the women‟s movement never stopped. The emergence of women in power was obvious where they became great leaders and social workers. In a world dominated by men, women are gradually achieving their liberty. However, the emergence of the feminist movement did not stop the domination by men. Women were denied access to power and were oppressed in many circumstances. Despite many efforts made by the feminist movement, women today are still subjected to a secondary position. These states of subordination are well represented in literature too in the form of “patriarchy, sexuality as well as social class” to name a few (Thorner & Krishnaraj, 2000, p.14). Works written by famous writers especially the Indian writers of English novels as in Anita Desai‟s Fasting & Feasting (1999), portray the subordination of women in real life. Literature traps women in their contemporary position in the form of writings. Their works traverse through the times delivering the traditional positioning of women to the readers. Hence, it leaves the women characters in books trapped under the male dominated circumstances where they remained powerless. Feminism concerns the experiences of women and largely feminists study the aspects of inequality between men and women socially, politically and economically. In the area of literature, feminists criticize the subordination of women characters represented by the female and male authors, feminists point out that inequality, and biasness towards women appear to be dominant. They are against the idea that women are not equal to men. In line with this, it is important to investigate the position of women and power in literature since “power is a central concept in the study of 9
  • 10. women subordination” (Yoder & Kahn, 1992). Therefore, this study will explore how and when Narayan‟s women characters exercise power in The Painter of Signs (1977) and Waiting for the Mahatma (1955). The aim of this study is to explore the situations in which these women characters exercise power at the microlevel power relations and to investigate the notion of 'power-over' and 'power to' through which they gain empowerment in the selected novels. Thus, the researcher will use Foucault‟s (1978) theory of power to study Narayan‟s women characters in relation to power. At the end, the researcher will conclude whether power liberates Narayan‟s women characters from contemporary male dominance. 1.1 NARAYAN: THE CREATOR OF MALGUDI Rasikpuram Krishnaswamy Iyer Narayanaswamy in short is also known as R.K.Narayan as Graham Greene, Narayan‟s discoverer and literary promoter addressed him. According to Raman (2001), Narayan was born in Chennai, formally known as Madras, South India in the year 1906 and earned his education at Maharaja‟s College in Mysore (Raman, 2001). He first started his career as a writer of short stories and essays for newspapers to eke out a living. Later, after his first novel Swami and Friends that was first published in 1935, he became a successful writer of many dazzling short stories and novels in English. Narayan gave birth to the city of Malgudi through his writings, which is known as India‟s best-loved fictional city. Malgudi, a fictitious stereotypical small town, where the standard norms of superstition and tradition apply is the interesting element in Narayan‟s writing. 10
  • 11. Narayan, (1906-2001) lived well into his nineties, providing until the end of his life substantial oeuvres which won unprecedented recognition for Indian Writing in English. It formed a prominent segment called Commonwealth Literature from the mid-1960s onwards (Travedi, 2007). Compared with other writers of his time, namely Mulk Raj Anand (1905-2004) and Raja Rao (1908-2006), Narayan received more critical attention and enjoyed extra popularity. On the other hand, some writers who started writing in English namely Michael Madhusudan Dutt (1824-1873) and Bankimchandra Chatterjee (1838-1894) reverted to writing in their mother tongue, Bengali. Besides them, Masti Venkatesh Iyengar who initially wrote in English also returned to write in the Kannada language (Travedi, 2007). Among them, according to Travedi, Narayan continued writing in English confidently unlike Raja Rao who complained, that writing in English was difficult (Travedi, 2007). Besides that, Narayan did not use the hybridized variety of English like Mulk Raj Anand (1905-2004), in his works. However, Narayan mesmerized his readers with his fictional city of Malgudi populated by ordinary Indian men and women. In other words, he depicted the real India in his writings. The author was not a citizen likened to Malgudi by upbringing and social location (Travedi, 2007). Although he was not born or brought up in such an ordinary environment, he never failed to touch the very essence of the ordinary Indian men and women‟s daily lives in his writing. Thus, his writings are truly appreciated by his readers and are widely accepted and enjoyed. Narayan is hailed as one of the greatest Anglo-Indian writers. He died at the age of ninety-five following a cardio respiratory failure (Ram, 2001). 11
  • 12. Narayan is an exceptionally long lasting writer. His works not only mesmerized the readers in India but readers around the world as well. His typical trademark was humour throughout his writing, which brought him prosperous success. Besides that, he is a simple writer who can write stories from the perspective of an ordinary man describing the man‟s daily life and very genuinely put it in his narration. Thus, his amusing stories of simple language make his work move smoothly from one end to another end of the world. Despite his demise in the year 2001, his writings are still on the shelves for sale. Narayan‟s novels are extensively read, especially Waiting for the Mahatma (1995) and The Painter of Signs (1977). His novels are widely researched by researchers around the world. Normally, the past researches on Narayan‟s Waiting for the Mahatma (1955) and The Painter of Signs (1977) focused on the aspects of symbolism, illusion, sex, reality, humour, religion and even on his language, specifically the sentence structures. Despite the wide range of research on his novels, the feminist perspective pertaining to power and women however, has yet to be explored. 1.2 THE STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM In most of Narayan‟s work, the women characters carry dominant and active roles. Besides that, these women do not only appear sensuous and seductive but intelligent too. Although the women characters in Narayan‟s novels are outstanding and dominant, research into his work did not address the element of women and power that appears to be another trademark of his work. Although feminists are interested in criticizing the subordination of women, many works concerning women 12
  • 13. empowerment are also found in the canon. Thus, efforts to look at Narayan‟s works in relation to his women characters and power should also be given importance. Past research conducted on Narayan‟s novels involving his women characters included Symbolism, Sex, Illusion and Reality (Acharya, 2003), Maya and Mohini, the study of illusions and mythical symbols (Bhatnagar, 2003), and R.K. Narayan‟s „New Women‟: A Feminist Perspective (Satyasree, 2008). On the other hand, scholars studied women subordination in his novels though there are many occurrences where the writer presented his women characters as powerful. Unlike the contemporary positioning of women, Narayan‟s women characters are neither oppressed nor subordinated. Hence, to address this problem, there is a need to study Narayan‟s novels in order to learn the truth. As mentioned earlier the researcher will use Foucault‟s Theory of Power (1978), in order to explore the operation of power among Narayan‟s women characters through the microlevel power relations and the notion of „power-over‟ and „power-to‟ through which the author‟s women characters gain empowerment in Waiting for the Mahatma (1955) and The Painter of Signs (1977). Lastly, it is worth studying Narayan‟s women characters in relation to power because it will portray women in the light of power and reinforce women empowerment. Besides that, this study also acknowledges a significant shift taken by a male author who was born and bred in a country where women are considered inferior and infanticide of female babies was a common occurrence. Rather than being presented as powerless, repressed, and passive, the women in Narayan‟s Waiting for the Mahatma (1955) and The Painter of Signs (1977) are active, independent, and 13
  • 14. liberated through power. Thus, this study makes an original contribution to turn and look at the other side of the coin into women empowerment in literature instead of studying the traditional operation of power that subordinates women. 1.3 OBJECTIVES The objectives of this study are to: 1. Explore the situations in which the women characters of Narayan's Waiting for the Mahatma (1955) and The Painter of Signs (1977) exercise power in the microlevel power relations. 2. To investigate the notion of 'power-over' and 'power to' through which Narayan's women characters gain empowerment in Waiting for the Mahatma (1955) and The Painter of Signs (1977) . 1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS 1. In what circumstances do the women characters in Narayan‟s Waiting for the Mahatma (1955) and The Painter of Signs (1977) exercise power in the microlevel power relations? 2. How do Narayan‟s women characters gain empowerment through the notion of „power-over‟ and „power-to‟ in his Waiting for the Mahatma (1955) and The Painter of Signs (1977)? 1.5 THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY 14
  • 15. This study gives insight to the readers on how Indian women in India undergo and exercise power in the traditional social context where men dominate and women are subordinated. Besides that, this study not only enables the readers to understand the significance of power in women‟s lives in order to accomplish their needs and goals but also the role power plays to free them from the subordinated position. Furthermore, this study also concentrates on exposing the readers to the productive dimension of power in women‟s lives, which creates possibilities for freedom and social change. In other words, it explains to the readers about the workings of power in women‟s everyday lives. Lastly, this study helps readers to understand the empowerment of women and diffuses the idea that women are powerless. 1.6 LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY The researcher‟s research is limited to two selected novels written by Narayan namely Waiting for the Mahatma (1955) and The Painter of Signs (1977) although he has produced a wide range of literary works. In order for the research to be productive, is it essential for the researcher to choose a manageable number of novels. Therefore, considering the time factor, the researcher finds it practical to research only two novels of the author. Since, this research intends to look at the element of women and power, the researcher ensured that there are sufficient women characters in the chosen novels in order to meet the purpose of the study. This is because, not all of the author‟s work involves women characters. Some of his stories and novels do not include women characters at all. Moreover, Narayan normally constructs his novels with a limited 15
  • 16. number of characters, thus the researcher ensured that the chosen novels included women characters. It is also crucial to understand that this study concentrates specifically on Indian women characters of Narayan‟s chosen novels. Besides that, it is very important to remember that this study focuses on the microlevel power relations that exist in the local level of the society. Microlevel means the focus is on the “relatively small member of social agents who are directly involved in the power relations and not in the set of background relation that form the context for that power relation”, in other words, not the macrolevel (Allen, 1996, p.267). Thus, the microlevel relations of power are the smaller scope of power relations between two individuals or between small groups of individuals. Hence, this research studies the microlevel power relations and women in the chosen novels written by Narayan. Lastly, it is important to understand that, the notion of women and the element of power in other works of this author may differ. The range and type of power bestowed upon the women characters in Narayan‟s other novels and short stories may not assert the same idea of liberation as in Waiting for the Mahatma (1955) and The Painter of Signs (1977). 1.7 DEFINITION OF TERMS 1.7.1 POWER According to Foucault (1983), power is a network where individuals circulate on. His understanding of power includes the element of freedom. He 16
  • 17. defines power as sets of relations that exist between individuals, or that are strategically developed by groups of individuals. To Foucault (1978), power is everywhere and it is generated rather than possessed. “if we speak of structures or the mechanisms of power, it is not only insofar as we suppose that certain persons exercise power over others.” (Foucault, 1978, p.92) He says that power is a relation between two persons, and that it is not only about a person influencing the other. Foucault defines power as the “multiplicity of relations immanent in the sphere in which they operate and which constitute their own organisation” (Foucault, 1978). On the other hand, Lukes (1974 & 2005) and Connoly (1983) define power as “something that is often regarded as an essentially contested concept”, while Pitkin (1972) says, “power is related etymologically to the French word pouvoir and the Latin potere, both of which mean „to be able‟.” According to Pitkin “power is capacity, potential, ability, or wherewithal.” Meanwhile, Page and Czuba (1999) define power as “something that is often related to our ability to make others do what we want, regardless of their own wishes or interests.” In short, it can be said that power refers to those aspects of relating that translate influence, that make a difference, and that have an effect. Besides that, the actions of one affects the thoughts or actions of another. 1.7.2 POWER RELATIONS 17
  • 18. Foucault (1988a) says, power relation is multiple, they have different forms, they can be in play in family relations, or within an institution, or an administration or between a dominating and a dominated class. He went further to explain that the characteristic of power relations is that, “as agents in the structure, some men can more or less determine other men‟s conduct, but never exhaustively.” As defined by Foucault, the “poles of power relation could be characterised by descriptions such as dominant-submissive, controlling- rebellious, have-want, strong-weak and other phrases.” So according to him, within the field of power relations, what one person does affects a second, which affects the third, and so on. Thus, “power relations are the dynamics of mutual influence.” (Foucault, 1978, p.93). 1.7.3 POWER-TO Weber (1978), defines power-to as “personal empowerment.” According to Weber, it is a control one feels over “one‟s own thoughts, feelings, and behaviour.” It is further explained as the probability that one actor within a social relationship will be in a position to carry out his “own will despite resistance” (Foucault, 1978). Meanwhile, Arendt (1970) defines power- to as the human ability not just to act but also to act in concert.” 1.7.4 POWER-OVER 18
  • 19. Power-over according to Goodrich (1991), is the “domination and control of one person or group over another.” Dahl (1957), gave the same definition of power-over. He defines it as „intuitive idea of power according to which A has power over B to the extent that he can get B to do something that B would not otherwise do”, while Foucault (1988b), defines power-over as a state where, one can act upon others and the other is acted upon or allows himself to be acted upon. 1.7.5 EMPOWERMENT According to Page and Czuba (1999), empowerment is a “multi- dimensional social process” that helps people gain control over their own lives. In other words, a process that fosters power or the capacity to implement power in people, for the use in their own lives, their communities, and their society, by acting on issues that they define as important. Similarly, Bush & Folger (1994) define empowerment as the “restoration to individuals of a sense of their own value and strength and their own capacity to handle life‟s problems.” Meanwhile, Thomas & Velthouse (1990) define empowerment as including self-efficacy or competence, self- determination, and impact on one‟s action. 1.8 SUMMARY In short, this research will analyse Narayan‟s The Painter of Signs (1977) and Waiting for Mahatma (1955) using Foucault‟s Theory of Power (1978), to study the 19
  • 20. relation between the author‟s women characters and power. This research intends to analyse when and how Narayan‟s women characters exercise power in the microlevel power relations. Furthermore, the researcher gives attention to Narayan‟s women characters because they grow stronger (Satyasree, 2008) starting from The Dark Room (1938) to Grandmother‟s Tale (1992) and thus, present that women empowerment is not a myth as claimed by the traditional model of power. Since Narayan is a writer who writes about people‟s life describing daily happenings and brings out many simple issues of everyday life, the researcher finds that Foucault‟s (1978) analysis of power matches most for this study because Foucault‟s (1978) microlevel power relations as well emphasizes on people‟s daily life. Thus, this study intends to explore the situations in which Narayan‟s women characters exercise power in the microlevel power relations and investigate the notion of 'power-over' and 'power to' through which they gain empowerment and live life the way they intend to in the author‟s selected novels. 20
  • 21. CHAPTER 2 2.0 INTRODUCTION Power is not an institution, and not a structure; neither is it a certain strength we are endowed with; it is the name that one attributes to a complex strategical situation in a particular society. (Foucault, 1978, p.92-93) Michel Foucault was a well-known French philosopher, historian, and social critic figure who influenced a wide range of disciplines including medicine, literature, and literary theory. According to Kritzman, Foucault provided a new way to analuse power politically, socially and economically through what he called power relations (Kritzman, 1988). In the process, he had engaged in a series of provocative dialogues with his theoretical ancestors such as Marx, Nietzsche, Freud, and Sartre to name a few due to the differences in the way they analyse power (Kritzman, 1988). Foucault (1978), gives a very different definition of power. He does not perceive power as a subject possessed by an individual; instead, he sees power as a network of relations and further claims that individuals circulate along this network. Besides that, he claims that everyone exercises power because power is everywhere. Ultimately, he rejects the “traditional revolutionary theory of power that supports both liberal theories of sovereignty and Marxist theories that locate power in the economy and the state as an arm of the bourgeoisie” (Sawicki, 1991, p.20). Foucault says that when he thinks of power he “thinks not only of its existing structure of pathways but also of the extent to which power absorbs into the very grain of individuals, reaches right into their bodies, permeates their gestures, what they say, how they learn to live 21
  • 22. and work with people” (Munro, 2003, p.82). Unlike the traditional juridico-discursive model, Foucault does not “restrict his model of power to the assumption that individuals in the state of nature primarily possess power by class, neither does that power flow from a centralized source from top to bottom nor is it repressive in its exercise” (Sawicki, 1991, p.20). To him, every power relations energetic, where people involved in the power relations are both in position to act and react (Sawicki, 1991). Athough it seems difficult to understand Foucault‟s explanation of power, it is relationally easy. Firstly, we must understand that he draws attention to “a network of complex and interconnected „disciplinary techniques‟ through which power primarily operates in modern society”. Secondly, we need to understand that “power is everywhere not because it embraces everything, but because it comes from everywhere”. Lastly, “power is not an institution, a structure or a certain type of strength one is endowed with” (Foucault, 1978, p.93). Indeed, Foucault‟s theory of power is a direct opposite from the traditional models of power because he frees power by saying it is merely a network of relations rather than a subject clutched by anyone or anything. Additionally, Foucault says that power must be analysed as something that “circulates and not as a commodity or a piece of wealth” (Foucault, 1980, p.98). He distinguishes his idea on power by criticising models that see power as being purely located in the State or the administrative and executive bodies that govern the nation State. He further says that the wide and complex micro levels of power in the social body creates state. According to Foucault, if there are no micro power relations than there will not be any existence of the state (O‟Farrell, 2005). Foucault emphasizes 22
  • 23. “microlevel power relations rather than engaging his analysis of power on a discussion of legitimate and illegitimate uses of power by the state” (Foucault, 1979, p.26). He suggests „micro-physics‟ of power, which he defines as “an examination of specific power relations at every day level” (Hekman, 1996, p.271). In other words, in Foucault‟s view, power operates locally, circulates in the capillaries of the social body, and emanates from the very point in the social field. His analysis of power is extremely concerned with the microlevel of analysis, that is the circulation of power among people of very local levels of the society. Similarly, Munro also claims that Foucault‟s analysis of power emphasizes microlevel relations (Munro, 2003) and that power is a positive social presence that operates in all aspects of life and exerts itself in all directions, creating a variety of different relationships other than those within the domination-subordination dynamic of traditional conceptions. This is the very essence of Foucault‟s theory of power and the reason for the widespread use of his idea in many other fields including feminism. He provides a new dimension from where power could be analysed as a more gentle and general source accessible to everyone, everywhere, at anytime. Adding to this, Foucault argues that, “since modern power operates in a capillary fashion through the social body, it is best grasped in its concrete and local effect and in everyday practices that sustain and reproduce power relations” (Sawicki, 1988, p.88). In short, Foucault “frees power from the domain of political theory and proposes that we think of power outside the confines of state, law, or class” (Sawicki, 1988, p.164) in order to locate forms of power that are obscured in traditional theories. 23
  • 24. His notion of power challenges the commonly held assumption that power is essentially a negative, repressive force that operates “purely through the mechanisms of law, taboo, and censorship” (Foucault, 1978, p.82). However, he does not deny that the juridico-discursive model of power describes one form of power. According to Sawicki Foucault simply thinks that it cannot make “power become centralized and repressive” especially at the microlevel of society where countless power relations exist (Sawicki, 1991, p.20). 2.1 FOUCAULT AND POWER 2.1.1 The Dynamic Mode Foucault criticizes previous traditional models of power for assuming that power is fundamentally repressive. According to O‟Farrell (2005), to Foucault power is not about simply saying no and oppressing individuals, social classes or natural instincts. Instead, he argues that “power is productive” (O‟Farrell, 2005, p.100). This means that power generates particular types of knowledge and cultural order. Foucault rejects the repressive model of power because he does not see the “rationale of the strong approval of power in our daily lives if it appears primarily repressive” (Sawicki, 1991, p.21). He says that Marxist associates power with domination for a fairly long time, that the positive possibilities of the liberation through power went merely invisible. Thus, he claims that power and oppression are not identical and it is not wise to associate them upon broad reasoning. Foucault further elaborates that the repressive power represents power in its most frustrated and extreme situation where the exercise of force is more often an evidence of a lack of power. Furthermore, there are many 24
  • 25. relations of power extending throughout the entire social body and to “identify power with oppression is to assume that power is exercised from one source and that it is one thing” (O‟Farrell, 2005, p.101). This assumption to Foucault is wrong, for he claims that in a broader view, power is seen as productive only at the macrolevel, and thus its productive circulation at the microlevel becomes redundant. Therefore, power is assumed to be repressive. In addition, he also give accounts of how certain institutional and cultural practices produce individuals, which further strengthens his claim on “the productive nature of power” (Sawicki, 1991, p.22). Foucault with his refined notion of power analysis analyses power from a new angle. However, he does not deny the phenomenon of state but he claims that it is important to understand the possibilities of resistance when every power relation takes place and such resistance brings liberation into the process. Thus he suggests a different route in order to analyse power and tries to prove that such relations of power at microlevels extend influence to the macrolevel society. Apart from that, Foucault also says that power produces particular types of behaviour, by regulating people‟s everyday activities which he describes as the „microphysics of power‟ and „capillary power‟. In his own words, he claims that “power reaches into the very grain of individuals, touches their bodies and inserts itself into their actions and attitudes, their discourses, learning processes and everyday lives” (Foucault, 1980, p.39). Foucault‟s view of power is productive rather than repressive and it is well developed in his Volume 1 of The History of Sexuality (1978). 2.1.2 Implementing Power 25
  • 26. Foucault, in his History of Sexuality (1988a, p.45) says “some people exercise power and find pleasure in doing so while others find pleasure in resisting power.” He explains that power is not a property owned by one, rather one chooses to either exercise or resist it. Foucault claims that thinking of power as a possession is wrong, according to him “power is not a „thing‟ or a „capacity‟ which can be owned either by state class or particular individuals” (O‟Farrell, 2005, p.99). Conversely, he explains that power is a relation between different individuals and groups and only exists when it is being exercised. As he says, a king is only a king if he has subjects otherwise, he is just an ordinary man. Thus, being a king does not bring nor give him power but having the subjects gives him the link to exercise power. Hence, power is not a blessing rather sets of relations through which power takes effect. Besides the king- subject relation, among other forms of relations are teacher-student, doctor-patient, husband-wife, mother-son, daughter-father to name a few. Further to this, Foucault claims that power pervades the social body at all levels. However, he adds that it does not cover every “social relation and it is limited when extensively exercised” (O‟Farrell, 2005, p.99). He says that power is everywhere in the society and people move around this systematic network under the constraint of the macrolevel. However, it neither limits nor stops the circulation of power relations in the microlevel society. However, later he claims that power becomes a way of changing people‟s conduct that he defines as “mode of action upon the actions of others” (Faubion & Hurley, 2000, p.341). In addition to this, he also argues that power can only be 26
  • 27. exercised over free subjects (O‟Farrell, 2005). He claims that there should be possibilities for the subjects to react and behave in a different way. In other words, individuals and people in groups must constantly be in the mode to act and react because when these possibilities are blocked, the space to exercise power are as well blocked as well, hence, power relation will not take place. Through his theory of power, he stresses that we are never “trapped by power because there are always possibilities to modify its hold” (Sawicki, 1991, p.25). Thus, he is suggesting that power is accessible to everyone, to pick it up or drop it is the choice to be made by an individual and if it is picked up, then there are possibilities of changes. 2.1.3 Power Throughout the Social Body Foucault criticizes traditional models of power which are solely centralized in the state level. To him, as said earlier, the very “existence of the state depends on the operation of thousands of complex micro-relations of power at every level of the social body” (O‟Farrell, 2005, p.100). He sees power as a positive social presence that operates in all aspects of life and exerts itself in all directions, creating a variety of different relationships (Munro, 2003). Thus, he says that, power circulates even among two individuals or groups of individuals in the society from fathers in relation to their children, men in relation to women, children in relation to parents, and women in relation to men to name a few. Therefore, Foucault (1978) argues that all these “relations of power at different levels work together and against each other in constantly shifting combinations” (O‟ Farrell, 2005, p.101) and so, it is wrong to analyse power as coming from top down. He says it is not possible to understand 27
  • 28. power relations if the analysis starts from the macrolevel. Thus, to understand the analysis, one should begin at the local level and from there see the patterns of practices and discourses and their interrelations and how they have become inert and seemingly fixed at the macrolevel. Only then, can the relations of power be understood. Therefore, as a compliment, Foucault‟s (1978), analysis of the microlevel power relations presents considerable improvement to contemporary feminists by encouraging space for a pluralist understanding of womanhood that redresses the traditional concepts which deny women power, to women empowerment. McLaren (2002), says that Foucault‟s theory of power “lack a normative framework” (McLaren, 2002, p.19). However, McLaren argues that Foucault‟s work provides significant “theoretical resources for feminism” (McLaren, 2002, p.17). Hence, Foucault‟s (1978), notion of power relations at the microlevel permits a different approach of how power operates in the world in a new way that contradicts the contemporary system which feminists normally adopt to prove the subordination of women in the world dominated by men. Furthermore, Foucault‟s (1978) theory of power opens room for feminists to study the relationship between women and power in an opposite way from that of contemporary revolutionary theory in an attempt to study women‟s subordination. 2.2 FOUCAULT AND FEMINISM Foucault‟s (1978) theory of power poses a challenge to the traditional way of thinking about power. This challenge makes Foucault‟s work both a significant resource for feminist theory and generates heated debate among feminist social and political theorists. Therefore, Foucault has considerable influence towards the study of 28
  • 29. women subordination. The string that brings Foucault‟s entanglement with feminism is ultimately the concept of power being the central focus of the women‟s movement. Foucault‟s notion of power restructures the way feminists analyse power from that of the contemporary revolutionary theory namely Marxist and liberal theories. Although Foucault‟s large contribution deals with power relations analysis in the political, economical, and social settings, his work also provides a new dimension for feminists to analyse power relations in feminists‟ study of difference. Feminism, on the other hand is women‟s movement that fights for equal rights and lawful protection for women. Largely the concept of power is fundamental to the theoretical task of women subordination as in the subject of racism, heterosexism and class oppression. Furthermore, an analysis of power is fundamental to the feminist mission (Yoder & Kahn, 1992) of understanding the nature and cause of women‟s subordination. Therefore, the question of difference is always at the forefront of discussion among feminists. Foucault‟s notion of power has considerable influence on the analysis of power relations in women‟s study. However, Foucault makes regular “reference to resistance as both directive and target power, but he does not lead us to what resistance looks like from the inside out” (Radtke & Stam, 1994, p.61). Due to this, Foucault‟s nation of power is regularly questionable. He merely describes his ideas of power and gives wide range of examples to it, but he did not provide proper evidence. Probably this is the reason for why Foucault‟s notion of power frequently leads to misunderstandings. Nevertheless, his theory definitely provides a new scale to analyse power especially for feminists. 29
  • 30. On the other hand, feminists conceptualize power in three ways. Firstly, both individually and collectively they regard power as a resource to be distributed and redistributed. Secondly, they regard power as a dominant element and thirdly, power as a form of empowerment. Additionally, feminist scholars, Goodrich (1991), suggest that power can be conceptualized in two ways, that is power-to (personal empowerment) and power-over that is regarded as domination (Yoder & Kahn, 1992). Since power is a central concept in the study of women‟s movement, it adopted the traditional revolutionary theory of power in order to criticize women‟s subordination. Thus, oppression of women was explained by patriarchal social structures that secure the power of men over women. In doing so, feminists opted to use the traditional revolutionary theory of power for their research and study. The traditional model of power underlies an opposite notion from that of Foucault‟s. The traditional model of power says that power is possessed, for instance, by the individuals in the state of nature, a class, or the people. Secondly, it claims that power flows from a centralized source from top to bottom as in the law, economy and the state. Lastly, it also claims that power is primarily repressive in its exercise (Sawicki, 1991) thus it is a prohibition backed by sanction. For decades, under this traditional theory of power, feminists worked to reveal the subordination of women and struggle to highlight the dividing factor experienced in the society through which they fought for equal rights. However, feminists who are concerned to encounter what they regard as the oversimplified conception of power relations question the problematic implication that women are simply passive, powerless victims of male power under the traditional revolutionary theory. Thus, some feminists turn to Foucault‟s theory of power because 30
  • 31. it offers a slightly more optimistic view of the relationship between power and women. Foucault offers a possible shift in understanding power relations. For instance, when women exercise power in many ways to create overt or subversive strategies, than in Foucault‟s interpretation, women are able to rebel and exercise power because “freedom is everywhere for them to exercise power” (Foucault, 1988a, p.12). Thus, Foucault gives a new dimension to study women‟s position in society. However, largely Foucault‟s analysis of power relations focuses on the microlevel society where he shows how mechanisms of power at this level become part of dominant networks of power relations. According to him, power never traps anyone, thus it is always possible to modify its hold in every condition (Sawicki, 1991). Hence, from his account, women can adapt and adopt power for their own ends. Foucault in his effort to provide a different angle from where power should or could be analysed has eventually opened up a different route for feminists to explore their effort towards women‟s equal rights. Feminists, all the way throughout their studies highlighted the subordination of women socially, politically and economically. In order to fight against the double standards women lived in for decades, feminists have outrageously pointed out the angles where women subordination was dominant and as a reward for their effort, many things have changed in the world today with regard to women‟s positions. Thus, turning to Foucault‟s notion of power will further enhance the women‟s position in the society as Martin (1988) says, “the unity of women in tension with the global effect of patriarchal relations has created a space for us from which to interpret as well to speak” (Martin, 1988, p.16). Therefore, adopting 31
  • 32. Foucault‟s notion of power in feminists‟ studies will change the idea that women are entirely powerless to a considerable extent. However, the traditional belief towards the state of women being subordinated has not changed, nor did feminists alter the state of the claim (Uchem, 2001). Feminists by large still hold to the “contemporary patriarchal theory” in fighting against women subordination (Jackson, 1998, p.13) although the idea of women empowerment has been “central to the evolution of women‟s movement since the late 1960‟s as pioneered by Paolo Freire” (Kramarae, 2000, p.554). The state of subordination could have been the foundation ground from where women‟s movement eventually started. As it has uprooted and resulted in many optimistic changes to women‟s state of living, it is high time women‟s movement stop grudging about being powerless and subordinated. Instead, feminists should turn their attention to the empowerment of women and modify the position women share in present days politically, socially and economically. Thus, taking up Foucault‟s theory of power (1978) to study women empowerment instead of women subordination will to a considerable extent if not entirely rework the secondary position women used to live in for decades in the past because “empowerment is a process that aims at creating the conditions for the self-determination of a particular group” (Kramarae, 2000, p.554). Furthermore, it is invoked to signify the “potential for change and has been used successfully as a means to mobilize people to action” (Kramarae, 2000, p.554). Hence, shifting from the old way of pointing out women‟s oppression and state of subordination in order to gain recognition of their empowerment will assert some sense of authority for women in present days. 32
  • 33. In the past, women obtained power by fighting against their subordination, they can successfully improve their position politically, economically and politically. Today, through the changes they have achieved, they continue their movement through empowerment. Foucault‟s work definitely deserves a compliment to feminism for providing a new room where women can prove the significance of their existence in a society. Thus, men do not anymore control women; rather they exercise power over women. This does not mean that women are powerless but they simply choose not to exercise power. It simply means, both women and men have the freedom to choose whether to exercise power and neither has more than the other does. However, Foucault was not optimistic, yet he affirmed political struggle and expected his work to lead his readers to “pessimistic activism” (Poster, 1989, p.114). This is because he does not accept totalizing theories or strategies; he, according to Radtke & Stam (1994) does not foresee a glorious freedom day but rather continuing, shifting struggles. Nevertheless, Foucault and feminism complement each other. As for feminism, it offers a great deal of revolution to think of and analyse power from a different angle and as for Foucault, to prove the circulation of power at the microlevels of society is significant and it has considerable effect on the macrolevels. Thus, it is wise to think of feminism through Foucault and where necessary beyond him because his methods of undertaking power relations complement feminist analyses where he “illuminates ways by which dominant discourses produce power imbalances and he starts from the point of difference” (Radtke & Stam, 1994, p.61). 33
  • 34. 2.3 POWER AND INDIAN WOMEN Power and women share strong association in Indian culture. Reflecting on Vedas, the sacred texts of Hinduism, God is worshipped in the female form such as the goddess Lakshmi for wealth, the goddess Saraswathi for wisdom and the goddess Dhurga for power (Radhakrishnan, 1957). Nevertheless, the status of women in India by reality does not resemble the equivalent honour. In the past, the inheritance of the Indian women is dependent on the religion, region, caste, and class in which they are born. However, in present days, the conditions have not changed much. Indian women being the majority population of India still cry for single justice under the prevailing patriarchal traditions. Women in India live entirely a different world historically, socially, economically and politically. However, the state they share in as Indian women was and is rather pathetic. According to Mageli (1997), women in India have benefitted little from the development process since independence. Primarily, the birth of a baby girl into a family is considered unlucky. The infant is deemed as a burden and disgrace to the family, at such the beliefs lead to infanticide (Mageli, 1997). Female discrimination and subordination are well known among Indians, according to Poitevin and Raikar (1985), Indian women suffer from the lack of social identity. Marriage for instance appears as a depressing experience from which the newlywed bride understands that she is “handed over for a sum of money or dowry without being given the slightest consideration” (Poitevin & Raikar 1985, p.77). More often than not, they feel they have been sold. 34
  • 35. The practice of dowry is linked to “caste status where among higher castes a dowry is expected from the bride‟s family and among lower castes the dowry is paid to the bride‟s family” (Fowler, 1997, p.54). Gradually, the prevalence of dowry increased, people started to abuse the practice (Miller, 1993) in their greed for money and as a result, women become the victims in silence. Although there is no proof when the practice of dowry first started, the ultimate existence of Indian women‟s powerlessness is notable everywhere in India. On the other hand, the women in India are also powerless due to the practice of sati or widow burning. In other words, it is “an act of immolation of a wife on the funeral pyre of her husband” (Hawley, 1994, p.3). Although sati in present days is banned, the rare occurrence is devastating. According to Oldenburg (Hawley, 1994), an 18 year old newly married woman has suddenly been widowed and then cremated along with the corpse of her husband in the manner of sati in 1987. The parents of the woman, Bal Singh Rathore and Sneh Kanwar were neither informed of their son in law‟s death nor of their daughter‟s wish to die as sati on her husband‟s funeral pyre. This is an extreme state of powerlessness Indian women suffered in the recent past. However, the occurrence in the present is claimed to be a myth. Nevertheless, women in India are among those who lived such a dreadful life once. Besides that, the Indian women are subordinates in most marriages. Marriage is another relationship which denies Indian women power. The position of women in India is notably poor. After marriage, her in-laws takes authority of her and her behaviour reflects the honour of her husband. The primary duty of a newly married 35
  • 36. young woman, and virtually her only means of improving her position in the hierarchy of her husband‟s household, is to bear sons. According to Hedge (Radha & Hedge, 1999) the “perfect mother is one who can bear sons,” otherwise she is worth nothing. Thus, the preference for sons in India increases female infanticides. Therefore, the state of being powerless for Indian women starts from their birth. However, the present state of women in India is deemed better where female infanticide is also banned but the preference for sons remains crystal clear (Radha & Hedge, 1999). Consequently, the yearning for baby boys among the Indian community puts women not only in the secondary position but also in a powerless state. Apart from this, there are endless lists of women subordination that denies them power likened to child marriages that keep women subjugated and divorce on the other hand is not a possible option for women. Besides that, women‟s rights to inheritance are limited and frequently violated. All in all these prescriptions limit the access of power to women, thus, leaves them powerless. Far beyond all, Jawaharlal Nehru (1889-1964), the first prime minister of India claims that “the condition of a nation can be determined from the status of its women” (Srimati, 1999, p.3). His opinion is one of the revolutionary views that assert women to move forward because he believes when women move forward, the family moves, the village moves, and thus the nation moves. Despite the dark ages Indian women lived in the past, the contact of Indian culture with that of the British brought improvement in the status of women. On the other hand, Mahatma Gandhi as well indulged women to participate in the freedom 36
  • 37. movement. Since then, education was also provided for women and as a result, women in India have distinguished themselves as teachers, nurses, clerks, receptionists, and doctors to name a few. Moreover, their existence is visible in the political and administration areas too. Thus, Indian women have truly improved from the deep slumber of century old oppression. However, illiteracy, dowry and slavery have to end to a large extent if not entirely in order for women to have their rightful place in the Indian society. 37
  • 38. 2.4 NARAYAN: A CRITICAL RESPONSE Narayan‟s writing, despite his popularity evokes many students and researchers to study his work critically. By large, studies on Narayan are related to humour, irony, religion, and family relationship. These are the essential trade of his writings, imbuing them with the elusive blend of comparability and wisdom. Bhatnagar (2008), claims that Narayan is a writer who equally balances his writing based “on the original Indian‟s daily life without detaching it from its universality” (Bhatnagar, 2008, p.2). Mathur, (2001), researched on the evolution of self in Narayan‟s major women characters from three different novels namely The Dark Room (1982), The Guide (1978) and The Painter of Signs (1977). Mathur‟s (2001), selection of the novels respectively belongs to Narayan‟s early, middle and later periods. The study concentrated on three major women characters of the novels namely, Savitri from The Dark Room (1982), Rosie from The Guide (1978) and Daisy from The Painter of Signs (1977). Mathur (2001), presents the formation of these three different types of female characters and provides a continuing discourse on their growing realization of strength of self with the advancement of the century. As regard to the women characters, it is typical for Narayan to present them differently facing equally different dilemmas and arriving at different solutions. Mathur‟s (2001), study discovers that in The Dark Room (1982), Savitri is a woman of strong and deep character helpless and suffering although she lives in a comfortable house with her children. As a homemaker, she hardly feels freedom, thus 38
  • 39. her desires and potentials remain unexpressed. Meanwhile, Rosie of The Guide (1978), is the daughter of a temple dancer. She lives liberatedly during her early years having great passion for dancing. She is married to „Marco‟ a rich man who does not respond to her requirements. Unable to suppress her multiple instincts, she starts to lead her own life seeing her favourite cobra dance and gradually falls in love with her only companion Raju, the guide. On the other hand, Daisy in The Painter of Signs (1977) is peculiarly modern for whom the cult of independent individuality is the supreme value in life. Thus, Mathur (2001), discovers that in the novels of Narayan, the awareness of self in the grumbling but helpless femininity of Savitri evolves into Rosie‟s realization of her potentiality of independent life and ultimately into Daisy‟s self of a missionary zealot. Mathur‟s study however, did not address the power relationship evolving along with the construction of self, which is rather obvious in the process of self development among the characters. The awareness of self in Narayan‟s novel by Mathur (2001), depicted that the women characters have evolved through the century. Thus, Mathur‟s (2001), study is a proof that Narayan‟s women characters practice power to a considerable extent. They are not helpless or oppressed in the novels. However, Marthur (2001) did not mention anything about these women exercising power in any way. Nevertheless, the presence of power practice is obvious in Narayan‟s The Guide (1978) and The Painter of Signs (1977). Living it unexamined will be a waste. What is the purpose of merely proving the construction of self among Narayan‟s women characters? How would one arrive at the notion that the women characters have evolved through the time? The question of how it did happen will remain a mystery. Therefore, there are adequate benefits in 39
  • 40. examining the role of power in the construction of self of Mathur‟s (2001), study. Furthermore, this study will be a complement for Mathur‟s (2001) study because it will help to explain how the three women characters evolved through the century. Consequently, there will be influencing factors along the process. Thus, studying women and power of Narayan‟s will be an advancement to investigate the role of power in relation to women‟s lives. On the other hand, Sen‟s (2004), critical essay on Narayan‟s The Guide (1978), concentrated on the author‟s yet another essential trademark; humour and irony. Sen‟s study on Narayan‟s sense of humour and the way he ideally illustrates the absurdities and contradiction of Indian people‟s daily lives. Sen specifically refers to the character of Raju in The Guide (1978), who appears to be the reluctant guru. He identified Narayan as a supreme ironist who with his gentle humour exposes the absurdities of Indian cultural practices in India. In his study, Sen (2004), presents how Narayan develops a sympathetic character out of his rogue of a hero demonstrating comically, how Raju attempts to make the best out of a bad business. Sen‟s (2004), study is an interesting one, however it is not anywhere near the theme of power and women. Ironically, The Guide (1978), of Narayan is filled with these elements, where Rosie a women with passion for dancing leads her own life. There are many elements of power embedded in the novel related to women in The Guide (1978). However, this theme is again left unearthed. There are many other works of Narayan folding numerous interesting issues pertaining to women and power. However, largely themes like humour, symbolism, myth, to mention a few occurring in Narayan‟s work overshadow this very important theme regarding women and power. 40
  • 41. Many other past research on Narayan‟s work are based on other aspects namely, Sex, Symbolism, Illusion, and Reality by Acharya (2003). On the other hand, Sen (2004) contributed a study on Social Reality and Myth of Narayan‟s work. Adding to this according to Bhatnagar (2008, p.5), “Rama Kundu performs a complementary exercise highlighting the element of rituals and folklore in Narayan‟s fictional universe.” Meanwhile S. Girija in Bhatnagar (2008) brings the element of customs and conventions as a part of Narayan‟s endeavour to capture Indian ambience. Among others are of the Gandhian phenomenon researched by Aikant (2007) based on the novel Waiting for the Mahatma (Bhatnagar, 2008). Certainly, there are sufficient numbers of research conducted on Narayan‟s writings. However, feminism is obviously a theme that is left without much exploration. Narayan‟s character presentation is an interesting area of study for it brings to bear the same complexity with which he had dealt with other related issues namely, humour, irony, religion, myth, and family relationships to mention a few. Among scholars who attempted to explore this theme are Bai (1996), in Women‟s Voice, who uncovered the treatment of female characters in The Dark Room (1982), Singh (1997), scrutinises The Guide (1978), on oppression towards the female characters in the novel. However, the amount of studies done pertaining to feminism is fairly less. Thus, there is adequate significance to carry out more research of this theme. Therefore, it brings about the need to study the role of power in relation to women in Narayan‟s The Waiting for the Mahatma (1955) and The Painter of Signs (1977). It not only adds to the number of studies in this area but, discovers another subject matter left untouched. 41
  • 42. Narayan‟s according to Naik (2001), is a major contributor to the Indian English fiction. Firstly, Naik (2001), claims that Narayan has created a tiny but perfectly credible universe in Malgudi, which is in the same class as Hardy‟s Wessex and Faulkner‟s Yoknapatawpha, he has filled it with men, and women who are as real to us as the people actually around us are. Secondly, he is an “eagle-eyed observer of life and human nature; who has illuminated the basic ironies, deep-seated ambiguities, and existential dilemmas of human condition” (Naik, 2001, p.22). Likewise, Bhatnagar (2008) also claims that Narayan is a writer who picks the ordinary matters of everyday life and depicts them in stories and novels. Thus, they please everyone who reads his writings. Similar to any other great writers, Narayan‟s works are no exception to critics. Contradicting to Naik (2001) and Bhatnagar (2008), Philips (1986), says that Narayan‟s work is different from Naipaul and Chaudury because, Narayan‟s work does not share the same theme with them. Furthermore, Narayan‟s writing commonly depicts Indian reality in its simplicity. He merely focuses on a simple man‟s and woman‟s daily life that everyone is aware of. Thus, Philips (1986) argues that, Narayan‟s extreme simplicity and artless use with which he has portrayed the Indian scene restricts the appeal of his novels due to his writing that operates deep within his society. Philips (1986) claims that India of Narayan‟s novels is not the real India. In other words, he says complex metaphoric lines do not accompany Narayan‟s work as Naipaul‟s and Chaudhury‟s, rather, it is too “simple despite the real complicated community occurring in the nation” (Philips, 1986, p.97). Philips (1986), questions the very authentic property belonging to Narayan‟s work and defines it as his weak area which makes his work not appealing. Although Philips (1986) is right 42
  • 43. about the simplicity in the work of Narayan but his comment that says Narayan‟s works appear less appealing is rather questionable. Narayan‟s work is widespread and his work is read all around the world because of the simplicity that he uses. Should he use the same complex genre as Raja Rao and Naipaul, then he would just make an addition to an existing list of commonly spotted complicated metaphoric work of any other literature figure. His works are outstanding because he takes effort to look into the very important essence of an ordinary human being. More than often, he unveils the ordinary voices of India who remain hidden in the country not only the common difficulties they go through but also the other end where they too enjoy life. Thus, Narayan is not a revolutionary riot who calls for a change in his works. Instead, he is a writer who “penetrates the core of the Indian mind and reveals it with all its bewildering contradictions, superstitions, and traditions” (Khatri, 2006, p.141), with his ultimate simplicity. Indeed, he is not firm in calling for a change, but if he is, then the chronology of his novels and stories speak on behalf of him. For instance, reading his novels and stories by itself will give a different experience, but reading them in an organised chronology will magnify the change that he adapts as he writes along his years. An outstanding example would be the women characters that grow stronger from his earlier novels as compared to his recent. Rather than focusing on the bigger picture of a country‟s complex culture and staying ignorant of the simple social environment that influences the bigger surface, Narayan takes just a little more concern and has done it well and wisely through his writings. 43
  • 44. Nevertheless, Bhatnagar (2008), argues that Narayan fails to portray the simmering discontent, squalor and poverty of the Indians as does Mulk Anand Raj. He further claims that Narayan leaves “the socio-politic and socio-psychic aspects of Indian reality untouched” hence he fails to picture the real Indian reality (Bhatnagar, 2008, p.17). Bhatnagar‟s (2008), is a very vague claim. Narayan in his novel The English Teacher (1989), brings in the poor character of Krishnan who suffers years of bad experience undertaking an emotional, intellectual, and spiritual journey of Indian culture after his wife‟s death. Through the character of Krishna in The English Teacher (1989), Narayan touches the socio-physical aspect. The only difference is he dives into one character and writes the story from the person‟s point of view, thus, seemingly, his works lacks these properties but they are there, all he does is concentrate and narrow it to one individual‟s life and thus it is not obvious. Furthermore, Narayan brings out the real Indian reality by going into a person‟s personal life and starts to write from there, where a real Indian leads his or her daily life without leaving out the socio-comic aspect of the society. As Khatri (2006) says, it is true that Narayan‟s narrative is essentially naturalistic. Perhaps a little tedious scrutiny will disperse Bhatnagar‟s (2008), false claims on Narayan‟s works. Normally, the depiction of the outer sphere is easy, the challenge is to dwell inside in order to unearth the truth beneath. Narayan writes about the life he does not live. He is a creative man who can walk through any character‟s life easily despite the fact that he does not share the same social environment presented in his works (Trivedi, 2007). 44
  • 45. Thwaite (1976), brings up another observation on the issue of simplicity of Narayan. He argues that Narayan‟s use of English as a medium of expression to delineate the social reality appears dim and inadequate and he marks it as a literary pitfall. Thwaite (1976), further comments that Narayan‟s low proficiency of English makes his work look insufficient. Thus, he claims that Narayan‟s inadequate command of the English language brings out a fake or too fictitious an expression. Further, he claims that Narayan could have expressed more genuine and authentic picture of Indian reality if he had written in Tamil, his mother tongue (Thwaite, 1976). Thus, this brings another query of whether Thwaite (1976), questions Narayan‟s English language proficiency or is he mocking a writer‟s creativity? On one count, Narayan uses simple language with straightforward sentence structures and very natively translated sentences from Tamil to English. Thus, his syntax appears monotonous in the arrangement of the same subject-predicate-object form and his vocabulary is labelled „modest‟ with compression of suggested meanings conspicuous by their absence (Thwaite, 1976). However, that does not reflect the academic background of the writer. Instead, the habitual informal interaction with native speakers of the language should be taken as circumstances responsible for this inadequacy and inefficiency of his linguistic armour. Narayan himself states in an interview with William Walsh (1971), that he is never aware that he is “using a foreign language when he writes” (Walsh, 1971, p.7). On another count, Narayan is just another creative writer who deliberately writes in such a language in order to maintain the authenticity of his story lines. For 45
  • 46. instance, it will be very contradicting for a character‟s command of language to be upgraded due to the reason that the author of the novel is a proficient user of the language. Should the author improve the character‟s language proficiency, than the originality of the story will not sustain in the written form. At the same time, Narayan also bridges a relationship between ordinary Indian people with the people at the other end of the world through his writing. Thus, if the language in Narayan‟s works is rearranged and reformed, than it will lose its Indian touch and it will deliver less of India to the readers. Therefore, there are probabilities for the novels not to be as appealing as the original works of Narayan. Indeed, Narayan‟s writings may not carry complicated revolutionary messages as Tharoor‟s Riot: A Love Story (2001) or The Great Indian Novel (1989) who classified Narayan‟s writing as having a “pedestrian style with shallow vocabulary and narrow vision” (Tharoor, 2001, p.15). However, Narayan‟s writings carry numerous literature of India‟s social reality along with his alluring sense of humour throughout his works. Therefore, it is convincing that Narayan‟s use of English is simple, readable, and enjoyable. In one way or the other, his writings will always be remembered for the simplicity of his language and spontaneity of expression as the writer himself claims that he “successfully conveyed the thoughts and acts of a set of personalities who flourish in a small town named Malgudi located in a corner of South India” (Bhatnagar, 2008, p.22). Besides the feature of simplicity, Narayan‟s character representations are also widely criticized. Bhatnagar (2008) argues that Narayan‟s new women in his later 46
  • 47. novels remain as unconvincing as the traditional Hindu wife in The Dark Room (1982) does. He says that the probability for his women characters to appear such could be “due to the reluctance of Narayan to arrive at a systematic philosophy of life” (Bhatnagar, 2008, p.27-28). Bhatnagar‟s (2008), claim is also very vague because Narayan is a writer whose writing evolves as the time changes. Starting from his very first book, Swami and Friends (1983) to his last The Painter of Signs (1977), the difference between the story lines and character representation is rather obvious. To pick a sample, Rosie of The Guide (1978) represents a new class of women who experiences opportunity to join colleges and universities, unlike Savitri in The Dark Room (1982) who suffers bad treatment from her husband and is caught in between the traditional clutches of Indian culture. This novel was written many years before The Guide (1978). Contrasting from Savitri, Rosie‟s education enhances in her the awareness of the individuality despite the contemporary social attitudes towards women during that period. On the other hand, Daisy of The Painter of Signs (1977) is a prospering model of women. She is entirely so different from Savitri of The Dark Room (1982), an unorthodox cast of Narayan‟s new women. Furthermore, Narayan explained that in The Dark Room (1982), he emphasized in “presenting the utter dependence of woman on man in Indian society” (Bhatnagar, 2008, p.27). Thus, Bhatnagar‟s (2008), claim is not valid because Narayan‟s later works portray much liberated and modernized women characters that are not under the suppression of contemporary Indian tradition as he claims. Instead, they are of open-minded women who do not depend on men in many circumstances. Daisy for instance, is different as she is not dependent on men, rather she is completely independent and able to stand by 47
  • 48. herself. This explains that Narayan‟s maintained the development of his new women and he has moved along with the time in forming up the women characters in his writings. Another interesting angle of Narayan is his Hindu ideals. More than often, he is largely criticized for being a writer devoted to this aspect due to the claim that his writings lack purpose. Although it is convincing that he concentrates on Hindu ideals but that does not make his work lack purpose. He is a writer who writes about everyday life. He describes daily happenings and brings out many simple issues of daily life. Narayan leaves The Guide (1978) without an ending neither did he in The Painter of Signs (1977). Many regard this as the writer‟s inability to make his work purposeful. However, from another point of view, Nayaran leaves his novels open ended and this could be a deliberate deed. Thus, he leaves his readers to reflect on the story before they arrive at a decision. Furthermore, belonging to a Hindu background, it is common to find his writing reflecting his origins. Moreover, he is very artistic at picking up the happenings of Indian reality and placing them in the city of Malgudi. Along with it he forwards his ideas gently through his humour without offending anyone reading his works. All in all, despite many critics on his writing, Narayan‟s work traverse from one end to another end of the world for its genuine story line, promising the readers a satisfying piece of work. 48
  • 49. 2.5 SUMMARY Concisely, the relationship between women and power is very complex. Thus, it is important to discern the role of power in women‟s life in order to understand the improvement power would bring into their life. Therefore, the researcher chooses Foucault‟s theory of power to examine and study how power influences women‟s life in Narayan‟s Waiting for the Mahatma (1955) and The Painter of Signs (1977). Since power is a central concept in the study of women‟s movement, the researcher also considered the relationship between feminism and Foucault‟s theory of power. On the other hand, the researcher has also provided a literary review on Narayan‟s writing, the previous research conducted and the criticism on his works. Besides that, since Narayan is an Indian author who writes English novels and stories, the researcher has also included review on Indian women living in India to provide profound information relating to this study. Besides that, the researcher also provided a framework for this study in figure 2.1 in the next page for better understanding on the flow of this study. Figure 2.1 comprises Foucault‟s theory of power. Firstly, power is exercised rather than possessed, secondly, power is productive, and thirdly, power is analysed as coming from the bottom. The researcher uses these three main ideas of Foucault‟s in analysing Narayan‟s selected novels. The researcher has provided an extensive review and explanation about Foucault‟s theory of power in Chapter Two of this study. Foucault‟s theory of power then leads to the thematic analysis on Narayan‟s selected novels namely The Painter of Signs (1977) and Waiting for the Mahatma (1955). 49
  • 50. The novels are analysed based on two research questions. The first research question addresses when the women characters of Narayan exercise power in the microlevel power relation. Meanwhile the second research question tackles how Narayan‟s women characters gain empowerment through the notion of „power-over‟ and „power-to‟. Both of these research questions seek the answers from Narayan‟s selected novels with the intention to understand the role of power in women‟s life. In attempt to answer this research questions the researcher uses thematic analysis. Power and women are the main theme of this research. These themes are derived from the Foucault‟s theory of power. In short, figure 2.1 illustrates the framework of this study where it starts from the central element of this research, which is Foucault‟s theory of power (1978). Than the figure illustrates the method that the researcher choose to use, which is thematic analysis to analyse Narayan‟s selected novels which leads to the research questions of this study. Lastly, figure 2.1 illustrates the results of the analyses in form of the role of power in women‟s life through the microlevel power relations. 50
  • 51. Foucault’s theory of power: 1. Power is exercised rather than possessed 2. Power is not primarily repressive, but productive 3. Power is analyzed as coming from the bottom up (Foucault, 1978, p.92-93) Thematic analysis on R.K Narayan’s 1. The Painter of Signs (1977) 2. Waiting for the Mahatma (1955) In what circumstances do the women How do Narayan’s women characters characters in Narayan’s Waiting for gain empowerment through the notion the Mahatma (1955) and The Painter of ‘power-over’ and ‘power-to’ in his of Signs (1977) exercise power in the Waiting for the Mahatma (1955) and microlevel power relations? The Painter of Signs (1977)? The role of power in women’s life 51
  • 52. CHAPTER 3 3.0 INTRODUCTION In this chapter, the researcher describes the methodology used to analyze women and microlevel power in Narayan‟s Waiting for the Mahatma (1955) and The Painter of Signs (1977). Firstly, the researcher defines and explains thematic analysis. Secondly, researcher describes the selection of the novels and the theory selected for the study and in the last section, the researcher describes the interpretation of the analysis. 3.1 Thematic Analysis In the attempt to conduct this study, the researcher used thematic analysis, a form of textual analysis used widely in the social sciences (Thatchenkery & Metzker, 2006). According to Thatchenkery & Metzker (2006), thematic analysis is normally used to find commonalities, trends or patterns in a set of subjects in order to answer questions, as in the terms of this paper, to answer the research questions. On the other hand, Marks & Yardley (2004), define theme as a precise pattern encountered in the data in which one is interested and that it is directly observable. Thus, as in for this research, power and women are two themes the researcher encountered in Narayan‟s novels. Therefore, the researcher finds it rational to use thematic analysis as it consist of themes and as well allows the researcher to draw inferences from the text likened to fiction and non-fiction (Reinharz, 1992, p.145). Furthermore, many studies involving novels or text-based materials use thematic analysis as their method to analyze the outcome. Therefore, the researcher found 52
  • 53. thematic analysis, which is one of the research techniques in the social sciences to be appropriate to analyze the extracts from Narayan‟s Waiting for the Mahatma (1955) and Painter of Signs (1977). Among scholars, Betty Friedan used the technique of thematic analysis in her book, The Feminine Mystique (Quindlen, 2001). Friedan analyzed articles on women‟s magazine fiction where she explains the childish themes that dominate women‟s magazine fiction (Reinharz, 1992, p.150). Besides that, Elma (2006), also adopted thematic analysis as the methodology to study the representation of women‟s agency by the female character in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer‟s Stone. Millett on the other hand, used thematic analysis to examine male writer‟s language in describing heterosexual sex and women (Reinharz, 1992, p.154) and Katherine Pope analyzed a pattern of inconsistency between the self and the female role in many famous novels written by women and men (Reinharz, 1992, p.154). 3.2 Selected Novels & Theory Having decided the method, researcher selected two novels written by Narayan, namely Waiting for the Mahatma (1955) and The Painter of Signs (1977). Next, the researcher reads the novels critically and selects relevant extract from the novel based on the theme and the context of the study, which are power and women. The selection of the extracts was based on Foucault‟s notion of power and the occurrence of women characters. After identifying the extracts the researcher than attempted to answer her research questions on how power operate among women characters and how the 53
  • 54. women character gain empowerment through the themes of „power-over‟ and „power- to‟ at the microlevel dimension in the selected novels of Narayan. 3.3 Interpretation of the Analysis The researcher used thematic analysis in order to analyse Narayan‟s Waiting for the Mahatma (1955) and The Painter of Signs (1977). Following the themes and Foucault‟s (1978) theory of power, the researcher firstly selected suitable texts for the study and read them. Then, the researcher selected extracts from the novels through the selected themes, namely power and women where the researcher looks up for suitable excerpts from the novels that reflect to Foucault‟s theory of power in relation to Narayan‟s women characters. Later, the researcher made inferences with reference to Foucault‟s (1978), theory of power and the women characters. Next, the researcher discussed the occurrence of power relations found in the extract taken from the novel and critically analyzed the microlevel power relations found in the extracts with regard to Narayan‟s women characters. The researcher finally, answers the research questions for the study in context to Foucault‟s (1978), theory of power and presents the analysis accordingly. 54
  • 55. CHAPTER 4 4.0 INTRODUCTION In this chapter, the researcher analyses Narayan‟s Waiting for the Mahatma (1955) and The Painter of Signs (1977) and attempts to answer research question one, that is, in what circumstances do the women characters in Narayan‟s Waiting for the Mahatma (1955) and The Painter of Signs (1977) exercise power. The researcher analyses the research question with close reference to Foucault‟s (1978), theory that says power can only be exercised over free subjects and there should be possibilities for the subjects to react and behave in a different way in order for power relations to take place. Since there are four women characters in these novels namely, Daisy and Laxmi in The Painter of Signs (1977) and Sriram‟s grandmother and Bharathi in Waiting for the Mahatma (1955), the researcher divides the analysis into two sections. Thus, section 4.1 is on Freedom and Power Relations in The Painter of Signs (1977) and 4.2 is on Freedom and Power Relations in Waiting for the Mahatma (1955). Lastly, section 4.3 comprises a summary for this chapter. 4.1 FREEDOM AND POWER RELATIONS IN THE PAINTER OF SIGNS In this section, the researcher analyses instances in which Daisy and Laxmi exercise power. The following are the analyses of the excerpts when Daisy and Laxmi exercise power in Narayan‟s The Painter of Signs (1977). His thoughts hovered around the person who commissioned him this work...Daisy (pg.31) 55
  • 56. Daisy, a new entrant to Malgudi is a social servant bent on bringing India‟s population down. She is a woman who pays Raman to design a signboard for her clinic. Daisy, an Indian woman who belongs to a society that looks down on women at work is involved in social work. She has the freedom to enforce the notion of bringing India‟s population down. At such, Daisy pays Raman to get her mission on the move. She is not bound under any types of power. She exercises power and has freedom to move towards her aims. By paying Raman, Daisy exercises power through the power relation of painter-customer. She exercises power without any constraint at the microlevels of the society. Daisy and Raman are also found to be in a woman-man power relation. In this relation of power, Daisy has the freedom to exercise power: There seem to be no one else in her house- courageous of her to admit a fellow in (pg.34). Raman and Daisy are strangers to each other. In the woman-man power relation, Daisy exercises power by letting Raman into her house bravely. She is not shown as a woman who is bound to let Raman into the house. Instead, she herself invites him in, thus allowing Raman to enter her house. In Indian society, it is seen as a crime if a man enters a woman‟s house when she is home alone. However, Daisy is courageous enough to overlook their culture by giving Raman permission to enter her house. Thus, Daisy has the freedom to let Raman into her house through woman-man power relationship. 56
  • 57. In another circumstance, Daisy exercises power through the relation of customer-painter again: He stood at the door paused for a moment, and said, „I can come later if you please. „Yes,‟ said the lady drily, and noticing the board he was carrying, „Is that our board?‟ „Yes, it‟s only a trial writing, not final.‟ Leave it there and come back‟- she glanced at her watch- „in thirty minutes.‟ (pg.41) Here, Daisy exercises power as a person who orders Raman to work on the signboard for her clinic. She requests him to come later, and due to the reason that she is paying him, Raman has to obey her demand. She asks him to come back later at her convenience. Narayan presented Daisy, as a woman who is not under control but who controls herself. She is free to do, as she desires. The author did not present anyone in the mode of being ultimately powerful. They are all in a neutral mode and only exercise power when they are in a free power relation. Although Raman was paid to work on her signboard, it does not put him under any repressing mode of power. Raman could have said that he can‟t wait for 30 minutes, but he did not. Thus, he was also in the mode to exercise power but he did not choose to do so and this means, both Daisy and Raman were in a free power relation to exercise power. As Foucault (1978) says, power relation will only occur when both parties involved in the power relation are free to act and react. Hence, there should not be any restriction in the power relation. Therefore, in this circumstance, 57
  • 58. Daisy has the freedom to exercise power and Raman does not resist although he has the freedom to do so. In another scene, Daisy exercises power in the midst of their communication through man-woman power relation: She suddenly came over and pulled off the glasses, and stared into his eyes. „I see nothing now. Perhaps you‟ll do well to give your eyes a wash. I have had some doctor‟s training you know?‟ (pg.44) In this situation, Daisy who is a stranger to Raman, moves closer to him to see what is wrong with his eyes. Raman did not expect her to pull out his glasses, yet he did not stop her from doing so. Further, Daisy suggested Raman to have his eyes washed. However, Raman did not react to her suggestion, hence leaving the idea unattended. In this situation, Daisy had the freedom to exercise power and so did Raman. Raman‟s action by not reacting to Daisy‟s suggestion is a form of resistance to Foucault, and resistance to Foucault is a form of power. Therefore, both Raman and Daisy had the freedom to exercise power to their own ends as suggested by Foucault. However, this does not suggest that Daisy is powerless but it simply means that power is not possessed but exercised freely. Besides that, Daisy also exercises power during her campaigning at one of the remote villages: Daisy said firmly to him, „At least, prevent the next child coming...Let this baby come, can‟t be stopped now.‟ (pg.61) Here, through the power relation of a social servant-village man, Daisy exercises power by telling the village man that she can‟t help with the condition of his wife who 58
  • 59. is sick and that she cannot help to abort the baby. In such a situation, Daisy being a social servant exercises power by telling the village man to accept the baby because there was nothing that she could do to help. Thus, in this situation, Daisy leaves the village man with a solution; however, she did not restrict him to her resolution, although the village man has the freedom to exercise power, there is nothing much that he could do either. In this situation, both Daisy and the village man are free to exercise power but they were both unable to help the sick woman. Both Daisy and the village man have the freedom to exercise power and they are not bound by any restrictions, yet they could not do much to help. Apart from this, Daisy also exercises power in the form of resistance. The following are the analysis of the excerpts where Daisy exercises power by resisting, as Foucault (1978) claims, in a power relationship, one should be free to exercise power and also have the freedom to resist power exercised on them: „Would you like to know your future?‟ looking searchingly at Daisy. „No.‟ she said point-blank. The hermit suddenly said, „Mention a number, „Why?‟ she asked. From the number I can read your past... „No.‟ she said once again, blushing. (pg.71) The old hermit tries to exercise power-over her, but Daisy being a strong woman who has control-over her mind resisted it very skilfully. She does not let the hermit proceed and she shuts him up at once. She refuses to respond to his questions too, Narayan portrayed Daisy in a defensive position. This is what Foucault means by power is not 59
  • 60. entirely repressive instead it is productive. Daisy in this power relation shows resistance to power exercised on her by the hermit. She appears resistant before the hermit. Finally, she walks away from the place: „We will go now,‟ and abruptly moved off. (pg.72) This is a strong example of Foucault‟s (1978), notion of power that says, power is productive. Daisy, by her reaction through resistance towards the hermit, exercises power in a resistant mode because she made use of the possibilities to react. Although she was under a circumstance to answer the hermit, she still has the freedom to choose whether to answer him. Thus, her reaction proves that power is productive upon resistance. If she had answered, then she would have undergone a normal power relation but since she resisted, she is powerful despite the fact that she could not stay there any longer. Besides that, Narayan presented Daisy in a condition of resisting power again when Raman misbehaved with her: She looked at him coldly and asked, „What are you trying? Joking, teasing or worrying me?‟... Daisy tapped the cart-driver on his shoulder and said, „Stop, hey, stop.‟ She picked up her bags, slipped down... (pg. 98-99) She resists Raman from exercising power on her. She immediately calls the cart to be stopped and appears rebellious and ignores Raman totally: 60
  • 61. He plucked up enough courage to stretch his hand and pat her comfortingly. But the moment such a contact was established, she pushed off his hand unceremoniously. (pg.101) She exercises power by resisting the comfort he tries to offer her. Although he does not mean harm, she is not ready to accept any comfort from him. Thus, she says: She glared at him for a second, hissing, „Taking advantage! You will learn your lesson like others who have learnt their lessons. I‟ll see that you go to jail for this. I‟ll tell the police the first thing.‟ (pg.101) She is very upset. However, she is able to exercise power despite her anger. Although Raman just exercises power on her by pulling her up the cart moments ago, Daisy still shows her resistance, she as well exercises power at that point but in the form of resistance, the productive version of Foucault‟s notion of power. Thus, Daisy in this situation appears to have possibilities of behaving differently and thus this power relation becomes valid in Foucault‟s count. Daisy has the freedom to resist while she undergoes the power relation with Raman. Foucault‟s theory that says power is productive is portrayed very well in Narayan‟s The Painter of Signs (1977) when Daisy, upon Raman‟s attempt to take charge of her, resists him through resigning herself into silence and shows her resistance through her actions: Raman tried to carry her bag, but she held it away from him, without a word...When the bus arrived, Daisy got in without a look in his direction and took her seat...At Malgudi, she got down first with her bag, hailed a jutka, and went off without a word or look in his direction. (pg.103) 61
  • 62. Daisy is determined and remains with her resistance over Raman‟s many attempts to take charge of her. She is persistent in this power relation with Raman. Furthermore, Daisy had the freedom all the way through, to react in a way she wants. On the other hand, Raman does not stop her from reacting. Accordingly, this provided space for freedom so that the possibilities to act and react take place as Foucault‟s theory suggested. Thus, this is also another circumstance where Daisy exercises power in this novel. Yet another occasion where Daisy portrays resistance to power is when she is to be inspected by a prospective bridegroom. She is not ready for the marriage, thus, she exercises power in the form of resistance in these circumstance: They had a shock at home when I told my people that I‟d not allow anyone to inspect me as a bride and that I‟d rather do the inspection of the groom! (pg.130) Narayan made Daisy speak out her mind and presented her persistency in resisting when she declares her reasons for rejecting her marriage: „I had other aims, I said that I would like to work, rather than be a wife.‟ (pg.130) However, upon her family‟s persuasion and being unable to stop the plan arranged by her family, she obeys Later, during the occasion she shows her resistance to her family. At such, Daisy exercises power in a productive mode where, she takes the possibilities to react in all the situations she face: 62
  • 63. „I had made up my mind that I‟d hate the young fellow and discourage him publicly.‟ (pg.131) Narayan represented Daisy as a very rebellious woman even when she is a teenager, especially when her family forces her to get ready for the bridegroom‟s inspection. On the day of the ceremony, Daisy performs many reactions that mirror her resistance. Although Daisy is subjected to her family‟s demand as they exercise power on her, she remains resistant, thus performing the productive side of exercising power through resistance. She has the freedom to reject her family‟s demand in this power relation. Daisy shows her resistance as well in the mother-daughter power relation when she refuses to obey her mother‟s order: „Make your obeisance, prostrate yourself on the ground.‟ „I shook my head. I have always hated the notion of one human being prostrating at the feet of another.‟ (pg.132) Her refusal shows that she exercises power to deny her mother‟s order in the form of resistance again. Although Daisy is under a form of power enforced by her family, she is rebellious enough to be resistant and exercise power in a productive manner, which in the end leaves her triumphant. 4.2 FREEDOM AND POWER RELATIONS IN WAITING FOR THE MAHATMA 63
  • 64. In this section, the researcher analyses instances when Sriram‟s grandmother and Bharathi exercise power. The following are the analyses on the excerpts from the novel. In Waiting for the Mahatma (1955), Sriram‟s grandmother in the power relation of grandmother-grandson exercises power freely without any constraint, especially, when she stops Sriram from withdrawing the sum of money he intends to: “Granny cried: „Correct to fifty. You need only fifty rupees now and not two hundred and fifty...” (pg.16) Although Sriram‟s grandmother does not allow him to withdraw the amount of money that he desires, she however does not put him under a compulsory constraint. There is always freedom for him to ignore her and move on with his decision, Sriram could have done it, if he has insisted, which he does not chose to do. Although there is, a space for him to resist by not obeying his grandmother, Sriram did not react in such a way: Sriram obeyed, muttering, “See! This is just what I suspected! I‟m supposed to be the master of this money, but I cannot draw what I want! A nice situation!” (pg.16) This does not mean that he is being repressed by his grandmother and has to follow her instructions strictly; Sriram is all the way on a free ground to react. Instead of doing so, he just chose to complain about it and leaves the choice to be hers. Suppose Sriram, disobeyed his grandmother, he could have withdrawn the sum of money he wanted to and there is nothing much that the grandmother could have done instead of 64
  • 65. taking Sriram‟s place in complaining about his actions, in just the same way Sriram chose to do. Thus, as Foucault (1978) claims, Sriram‟s grandmother exercises power in a circumstance where she does not put an end to Sriram‟s freedom to resist but Sriram in the other way around chose to act the way his grandmother demands him to. Another scene is during New Year‟s Day. As Foucault (1978) says, everyone has the freedom to exercise power because everyone has the freedom to do so. At such, Sriram‟s grandmother appears smarter than he is in taking the chance: I want certain things for its celebration...Grumbling a great deal, he got up, dressed himself, and started out.” (pg.22) Again, Sriram is not happy, however he does not resist, and this gives Sriram‟s grandmother freedom to exercise power. Both of them are on the free ground to act and react, and the matter is who chooses to do so. Thus, Sriram‟s grandmother in their power-relationship exercises power when there are possibilities for her grandson to react and for her to act. Besides Sriram‟s grandmother, Bharathi is also another woman character in this novel who exercises power. Bharathi is the woman Sriram is attracted to, she appears as a liberated woman who has power in the sense she is able to involve herself into the freedom movement called by the famous freedom fighter Mahatma Gandhi. In such a position, Narayan presents Bharathi as a woman to strengthen the movement‟s aim for the people in India. This shows that power is circulating in the microlevel dimension where ordinary people of normal social class live. As Foucault (1978) proposed, power relations are network like function and power is found everywhere 65
  • 66. and it does not necessarily flow from the top to bottom but can also be analysed coming from the bottom up. Thus, the freedom movement that Bharathi is involved in starts from the bottom up, in other words from the microlevel dimension. It is from there that one should start to see the pattern of power practices and discourses and their interrelations and how they become inert and seemingly fixed at the macro level as Foucault (1978), claims. In other words, the operation of the freedom movement starts from the very grain of microlevel society, which strengthens power for the movement at the macrolevel dimension. In fact, Narayan‟s Bharathi has the freedom to be involved in the movement towards the struggle to gain India‟s independence because there was no restriction upon her. Thus, she exercises power on the people she delivers her talk to by asking them to join the freedom movement called by Mahatma Gandhi and to cherish his idea in the process of gaining independence for India. In the process of delivering her talks, she does not put any restriction on the people, she does not force them to listen to her but the people respond to her talks and come willingly to listen to her. Thus, she calls for all men and women who listen to her talks to join the movement and apparently, the crowd multiplies from one scene to another. Therefore, this means that the people are reacting to her talks in a positive way and freely make their choice to listen to Bharathi delivering her talks. Bharathi is a liberated Indian woman who is involved in politics and exercises power freely, she is not bound to any form of force, nor does she control anyone under restrictions while exercising power. 66
  • 67. Narayan presents Bharathi as an independent woman who takes responsibility for her life and aims to make a difference in the society she lives in. Narayan presents Bharathi moving freely around the network of relation suggested by Foucault (1978), at the microlevel of the society. Yet another excerpt showing Bharathi exercising power is when Sriram asks to meet her: „She replied with equal resolution, „If you wish to meet me come to Babuji, the only place where you may see me. Of course, if you don‟t want to see me anymore, go away.‟ This placed him in dilemma. „Where? How?‟ he asked. „Come to the door of Bapu‟s hut and wait for me.... At three a.m. tomorrow morning. I‟ll take you to him.‟” (pg. 61-62) As promised Sriram waits for Bharathi the next morning. His attraction to her made him follow whatever she says. Bharathi does not possess any authority or power, yet Sriram does things as she mentions and he does so willingly. As such, she exercises power freely and Sriram is not under any form of repression. Thus, Bharathi appears to be more in freedom while exercising power unlike the traditional model of power adopted by feminists that believe power is primarily repressive in its exercise. Furthermore, in Waiting for the Mahatma (1955), Bharathi is not a subject of oppression in the novel, she is a powerful woman character who exercises power, and she does it under her own will freely. On another occasion, Sriram who comes to meet Bharathi waits outside the Mahatma‟s hut an hour long without making an effort to check if she is inside with 67
  • 68. Mahatma Gandhi just because she asks him to wait outside the hut. Bharathi instead waits inside the hut with Mahatma Gandhi, relaxing and waiting for him to approach. Sriram feels extreme fear to even knock on the door and that makes him wait outside for a long time. If Bharathi has not noticed his presence at the door and calls him in, he would have probably stood there longer waiting for her as he has promised her. „Oh, there he is!‟ Cried Bharathi, with laughter in her voice. „You may open the door, if you wish to come in,‟ she said. Sriram felt again that the girl was making fun of him. (pg.66) Here, Sriram appears as a man who constantly needs Bharathi to instruct him to do things. This is not because she has power in her hands, but because power is everywhere according to Foucault (1978). Thus, Bharathi exercises it and on the other hand, Sriram reacts to her willingly. Therefore, Sriram and not Bharathi appear to be in the position of a typical Indian woman. Narayan presents Bharathi a woman, as more a stable individual compared to Sriram, a man: „Come in, come in, said the Mahatma. „Why should you be standing there? You could have come straight in.‟ „But, she asked me to wait outside‟ said Sriram, stepping in gingerly. (pg.66) Furthermore, when Mahatma Gandhi calls him in, he enters the hut complaining that Bharathi was the reason for him to wait out there. This gives Bharathi so much authority and presents Bharathi as a woman who is in a superior position. However, Bharathi does not subject him to follow her say, Sriram could have knocked on the door to check if she is there in the hut if he wanted to, but he does not. Again she does 68
  • 69. not put him under any constraint to follow her. Instead, Sriram takes her word as an order. She neither possesses any form of power nor represses anyone under her authority. She seems to exercise power in circumstances where Sriram is also free to act and react, this again matches Foucault‟s (1978), notion of power. Foucault (1978) says power is not possessed by one person, but rather it is exercised. Therefore, Narayan‟s Bharathi is a very independent woman who freely exercises power. Soon after Sriram familiarizes himself at the camp and learns things through Bharathi, he is now more respected by the people in the camp. Sriram gains his self respect from the guidance of a woman. It is through the help of Bharathi that he learns about the freedom movement and gains opportunity to utilise all the knowledge he gathered about Mahatma Gandhi: Whenever the villagers wanted to know anything about the Mahatma, they came and spoke to him referentially (pg.87) Bharathi is presented to have authority opposite from the traditional model of power which feminists adapt to. Feminists believe that women depend on men for living and learn things from them. However, Bharathi is an extreme opposite, she is free, liberated and teaches Sriram instead. At such, she appears powerful in the novel from the beginning of the story. Bharathi teaches Sriram because she has the knowledge and Sriram is willing to learn. He does not refuse when she teaches him about their camp, spinning, and about the freedom movement. Moreover, Bharthi as well does not force him to learn things from her instead, Sriram wants to learn from her. As such, Bharathi 69
  • 70. exercises power freely and Sriram submits to it without objections. There are obvious free ends, and Sriram could resist at anytime. 4.3 SUMMARY Through the analysis conducted, the researcher discovered that the women characters of Narayan‟s The Painter of Signs (1977), and Waiting for the Mahatma (1955), namely Daisy, Sriram‟s grandmother, and Bharathi exercise power in circumstances where they are free to act and react. As such, when Narayan‟s women characters exercise power, the individuals involved in the power relation are also free to exercise power. This means that there are always possibilities for resistance in the power relations, which turns the individual on whom power is exercised upon to be able to exercise power in a productive mode through resistance. All three women characters mentioned above were not under any constraint of power nor did they subject anyone involved in the power relations with them under any form of restrictions. Thus, Narayan‟s women characters in both selected novels have freedom to exercise power and to resist power exercised upon them. 70
  • 71. CHAPTER 5 5.0 INTRODUCTION This section, of the chapter intends to answer research question two on how Narayan‟s women characters gain empowerment through the notion of „power-over‟ and „power-to‟ in his Waiting for the Mahatma (1955) and The Painter of Signs (1977). The researcher maintains the same procedure as in chapter four to analyse the empowerment of Laxmi, Daisy, Bharathi and Sriram‟s grandmother, the women characters in these novels. Thus, the following section namely, 5.1 is on empowerment through power-to and section 5.2 is on empowerment through power-over. Lastly, the researcher provides a summary for this chapter in 5.3. 5.1 EMPOWERMENT THROUGH POWER-TO In this section, the researcher attempts to analyse the excerpts from The Painter of Signs (1977), and Waiting for the Mahatma (1955), Narayan‟s women characters. There are four women characters in these novels, namely Daisy and Laxmi of The Painter of Signs (1977) and Sriram‟s aunt and Bharathi of Waiting for the Mahatma (1955). The researcher first analyses the excerpts from The Painter of Signs (1977), in 5.1.1 and Waiting for the Mahatma (1955), in 5.1.2. 5.1.1 Women Empowerment through Power-to in The Painter of Signs The women characters in Narayan‟s The Painter of Signs (1977), are Raman‟s aunt, Laxmi and Daisy. Narayan‟s Daisy is a new entrant to Malgudi, she is a social servant bent on bringing India‟s population down. In this section, the researcher 71
  • 72. analyses excerpts taken from the novel that portray women‟s empowerment through power-to with regard to Laxmi and Daisy. „Would you like the letters on the sign-board to slant a bit and shaded with sepia tint?‟ „I don‟t know,‟ she said. Her tone was both firm and gentle. She seems to know her mind and limits.‟ (p.35) Narayan seems to have presented Daisy in a very sophisticated way that she has control over her mind. In such a state, Daisy appears as a person who has power-to decide wisely and power-to know her limitations in getting her works done. Daisy is knowledgeable, and when things go beyond her knowledge, she is able to control so that she does not make mistakes in making decisions. Thus, Daisy has power-to control her mind over decisions and is firm with her answers and actions. Besides that, Narayan also presents Daisy as a woman who makes very quick decisions over matters that she possesses knowledge of and confidence in and as such, she is not hesitant to say or do things. Such an example would be: Daisy: „Are you in a hurry to go?‟ he hesitated between yes and no, and she decided it for him. „Come and sit down for a while,‟ and he followed her sheepishly. (p.43) Here, Daisy requests Raman to stay, although Raman did not respond to Daisy of his agreement to stay for a little longer. Upon his hesitance, she decided on behalf of him. Daisy appears to know that Raman can stay for a while and thus has power to decide for him. Ironically, Raman who was waiting to go home minutes ago returned immediately and followed behind into her office without a word 72
  • 73. Furthermore, Daisy is also powerful in many other circumstances. Narayan approved his Daisy to have enough knowledge and a critical thinking to evaluate and have power-to decide respectively. She looked at it from a distance and then came near and saw it, nodded her head in approval. „Good‟ she said. (p.47) Again, Daisy is portrayed as being very evaluative to decide the quality of Raman‟s work. Upon satisfaction she approved and it is a sense of power-to decision making of Narayan‟s woman character. On another account, Daisy is a very self-determined woman. She has control over herself, her emotions and also her mind. Daisy‟s only aim was to reach a particular village and complete her work there. Her adaptability was astonishing, she could spread out the little roll of carpet that she carried in a bag and sleep anywhere. (p.57) This is an evidence that Daisy, has strong control over herself. Her passions are her missions. She has no grudges or complains of discomfort. She is completely under control physically and mentally and she is always prepared for any condition. She has firm power-to control herself. Narayanan has given several evidences throughout the novel on how powerful Daisy was to carry out her will. Another excerpt that suggests Daisy has power-to decision making is: „I like to serve the people in what seems to me the best way, that‟s all. And in this area allotted to me now, if I can help arrest the population growth by even five percent within the year, I‟ll be satisfied.‟(p.58) 73
  • 74. Again, in the excerpt above, Daisy speaks her mind in a very stern way. She knows her decisions well and through her decisions, she empowers herself. As a woman, she appears to have a strong stand over her mind and ambitions. She never forgets her aims and this empower her in her mission against the growth of the population. Narayan as well presented Daisy as a woman who is very brave and practical, especially when she delivers her speech to the crowd regarding family planning: Daisy explained to them the process of birth and its control. Daisy explained physiology, anatomy and sexual intercourse, with charts or, if a blackboard was available, with sketches in chalk. She never felt shy or hesitant, but sounded casual. (p.59) Although Daisy was delivering prohibited matter in Indian Culture, such as sexual intercourse and family planning, she never felt shy about it. She had control-over herself and mind. She fixed in her mind that she is helping people to understand what family planning means. Besides that she also remained calm when men sniggered and women giggled. She had power-to control herself from feeling hesitant and shy. Daisy could easily control and convince herself. She showed a very perfect power-to over herself, that she maintains the seriousness of the topic of discussion, which is family planning. On another occasion, Narayanan presented Daisy as a woman who has control over her feelings. This was when Raman and Daisy walked up four miles to reach a mountain village at Mempri Hill. 74
  • 75. Daisy did not seem to need rest. In a few moments, she emerged from house with her hair brushed back, and joined them. „Our work must start right away, before the monsoon begins….(p.65) Although she was tired, she did not let her tiredness impede her. She maintains her activeness and enthusiasm to get their work started. Raman on the other hand was so exhausted and needed rest badly. Daisy managed herself well enough that she had control over her feelings by not showing it anyone. Another example would be when she was communicating with the teacher of the mountain village; „Our quantum of population increased every year… „What if!‟ said the foolhardy teacher. „We have enough space in the country… She was very patient with the dialectician…(p.67) Daisy obviously has power-to keep herself active for her mission. Lastly, Narayan‟s Daisy decides to leave the marriage and pursue her social work. Daisy appears with her ultimate power-to decide her destiny despite the fact that she loves Raman. She values her missions more than Raman. „Those women are coming back to take me…(p.176) „Do you want me to go with you? „Not necessary‟ (p.176) Daisy decide to leave Raman behind for her missions, and she has very good power-to control her feelings : 75
  • 76. He said quietly, „Tomorrow is the tenth, and at eight a.m. I‟ll bring Gaffur‟s car to Number Seven, Third Cross, to take you home.‟ She remained silent for a moment and then said, „Well, it doesn‟t seem to be possible now.‟ „Why?‟ he asked, his heart sinking. „You see why…‟ she said (p.177) She was composed and practical on her decision and not ready to change her mind in anyway. Thus, she plans to leave Raman : „May I come with you?‟(p.178) “No, this is the end.‟(p.178) „I want to forget my moments of weakening, and you must forget me, that‟s all.‟ (p.179) Daisy takes off to pursue her missions with these said to Raman. Thus, she appears as one of Narayan‟s independent woman who runs on her own feet not depending on anyone, she has total power-to control her emotion, mind and all together her life from the moment she rejects the marriage proposal from Raman. Throughout the novel, the researcher only found one circumstance where Laxmi enforces power that is when she was not disappointed with Raman‟s decision to marry Daisy, and decides to leave for Benares: Raman felt dejected and responsible for the banishment of his aunt. He pleaded desperately, „Don‟t go, Auntie stay.‟... „I won‟t marry now, if that is what is driving you away.‟ (p.152) Laxmi, being an orthodox Indian woman, dislikes Raman‟s relationship with Daisy. Hence, she does not agree with their marriage. Over her disappointment, 76
  • 77. she decides to spend the rest of her life at Kasi, Benares. This is the only point in the novel when Laxmi exhibits power. Narayan presented Laxmi as a woman who has power-to decision making and power-to control her feelings especially when she was also upset to leave Raman. However, she did not change her mind; she went away to Benares in the end leaving Raman to his choice of life. 5.1.2 Women Empowerment through Power-to in Waiting for the Mahatma The women characters in Narayan‟s Waiting for the Mahatma (1955), are Bharathi and Sriram‟s grandmother to whom the author did not give a name. Bharathi joins the freedom movement started by Mahatma Gandhi who is another character seen participating in the struggle for independence in this novel. Thus, this section will analyse the excerpts that evident women empowerment through power-to by Sriram‟s grandmother and Bharathi. Sriram‟s grandmother took the responsibility for bringing him up after Sriram‟s parents passed away. She exercises power-to towards him in a very traditional way: “I don‟t have to spend your pension in order to maintain you. God has left us enough to live on...There is nothing so fleeting as untethered cash. You can do what you like with it when you are old enough.” (p.5) Sriram‟s grandmother did not use the pension money meant for him; instead she saves the money in the bank so that Sriram will be able to own it when he is twenty years 77
  • 78. old. As a woman Sriram‟s grandmother belongs to the subordinated group in a traditional setting of Indian culture. Despite the contemporary belief that women do not possess and exercise power, here Sriram‟s grandmother exercises power, where she decides to save his pension money in the bank for Sriram‟s future. Thus, this evident that Sriram‟s grandmother is a woman who has power-to make decisions. Furthermore, she is represented by Narayan as a woman who has power-to decide upon what she intends to do, without having to be guided by anyone. Besides that, Sriram‟s grandmother as well has power-to stop Sriram from withdrawing the sum of money he intends to: “Granny cried: “Give it here,” and snatching the paper from his hand, said, “Correct to fifty. You need only fifty rupees now and not two hundred and fifty...” (p.16) She does not allow him to withdraw the sum of money he desires, she feels that he does not need it. Not only she is able to stop him from doing so but also decides the amount he should withdraw. Thus, Sriram does not have power-to decide although his grandmother earlier claims that he is now responsible of his own affairs. Ironically, his grandmother contradicts herself by enforcing her position as his grandmother and generally makes the decisions for him. Besides that, Bharathi in Waiting for the Mahatma (1955), appears to be a brave woman compared to Sriram. She is a rational and practical person and ironically Sriram being a man who is supposedly more brave and stable according to the contemporary beliefs fears to face Mahatma Gandhi: 78
  • 79. “I will take you to Bapu, will you come?” “No, no, I would be at loss to know how to talk to him, how to reply him and what to tell him.”... Suddenly she became very serious and said „You will have to face Bapuji if you want to work with us.‟ Sriram became speechless. His heart palpitated with excitement. He wished he could get up and run away, flee once and for all the place, be done with it, and turn his back on the whole business forever.” (pg.60) Bharathi has the courage to bring Sriram to speak to Mahatma Gandhi but Sriram refuses. Thus, Bharathi becomes very stern and gives him a final decision, which is to meet Mahatma. She has power-to decide on what needs to happen if Sriram wants to work with the freedom movement. In another scene, Bharathi repetitively reminds Sriram of how he should conduct himself in front of the Mahatma. He appears unstable and constantly depends on Bharathi for some sort of encouragement: Bharathi went to inner part of the hut, threw a swift look at Sriram, which he understood to mean „Remember not to make a fool of yourself‟ (p.69) In such a position, Bharathi again appears superior to Sriram. Sriram always appears weak and uncertain to face Mahatma while Bharathi moves very comfortably and confidently with Mahatma Gandhi compared to Sriram. She is given an authority by Narayan to empower the novel as a woman who joins Mahatma in his freedom movement. She moves around freely on the complex network of the microlevel power relations at the local level of the society, especially when she is in contact with the children, women, and men of the village she visits while she spreads Mahatma Gandhi‟s idea to the crowd. She communicates and exercises power-to through the 79
  • 80. power relations between individuals and between groups. Thus Bharathi, is also a woman who has power-to control her behaviour. On the other hand, Narayan‟s Bharathi is also a woman who has power-to decide her upcoming plans and decisions in a very stern way: „I am leaving for Madras tomorrow, and you won‟t see me for some time.‟ (p.100) „You rest here till I am back with instructions,‟ and she turned and was off the road saying, „Don‟t show yourself too much outside.‟ He said: „I will escort you half-way.‟ „It‟s not necessary,‟ she said and was off. (p.101) Bharathi in such positions has power-to decisions. She stops Sriram from following her and then moves independently along her directions without the slightest hesitance. She appears as a woman who is very focused on her aims and objectives unlike Sriram. This idea is an opposite to feminist contemporary notion of power that places women under dominance of a male and claims that women are incapable of managing themselves and are people who are very dependent on men. The irony is it is Sriram in the context of this novel, who appears more dependent on Bharathi and not the other way around. Thus, Foucault‟s (1978), notions of power has effect when it is actually applied despite its descriptiveness, where the truth of power relations can be learnt rather clearly especially in relation to women‟s position in the society. Besides that, Bharathi has power-to decide and speak her mind out to Sriram: A sudden firmness came in her voice, as she said: Know this Sriram. If I had not trusted you, I‟d not have come here again and again. (p.134) 80
  • 81. On another account, Bharathi has power-to control her feelings although she too loves Sriram. She wants Mahatma Gandhi to agree with their intentions to have a relationship, thus she keeps away from Sriram: „No, you will not touch me again.‟ She said it with such authority that he felt foolish. (p.135) Narayan has also presented Bharathi as a woman of strong stand and aspirations. She decides her path in the shadow of the Mahatma Gandhi and is very loyal towards her freedom movement‟s objectives. Besides that, she is very faithful to her duty that she performs for her country. Thus, Bharathi is a stern woman when it comes to decision making and she does it without a second thought. Bharathi is firm in her decisions is and consistently presented by Narayan as a woman who has strong power-to control her mind and behaviour. 5.2 EMPOWERMENT THROUGH POWER-OVER Similar to the previous section, the researcher will analyse the excerpts taken from the novels that portrays empowerment through power-over with regard to Daisy and Laxmi of The Painter of Signs (1977), and Sriram‟s grandmother and Bharathi of Waiting for the Mahatma (1955). The researcher first analyses the excerpts from The Painter of Signs (1977), in 5.2.1 and Waiting for the Mahatma (1955), in 5.2.2. 5.2.1 Women Empowerment through Power-over in The Painter of Signs This section on the other hand analyses excerpts taken from the novel that portrays Daisy‟s empowerment through power-over. 81
  • 82. She had not returned his glasses to him, but carried them with her, held them up against the light, waved them up and down and said, „Throw this thing away, the lenses are uneven and full of errors. You‟ll become squint- eyed…‟(p.44) In the above excerpts, Daisy influenced Raman to give up his newly bought glasses, which shows that Daisy has power-over him. She is able to make him follow to what she says without a question of „why?‟ Thus, Daisy dominates the whole scene between them. And this is a form of power-over displayed by Narayanan‟s Daisy. She takes charge by exerting control over Raman. Another example of such power-over found in Narayanan‟s Painter of Signs (1977), involving Daisy and Raman is : „Yes, I will show you the place, come with me.‟(p.47) Daisy has definitely paid Raman to paint her the sign-board, but not to hang it up for her. However, Raman offers his help and upon instruction follows her to hang up the sign-board to Daisy‟s preference. Raman allows himself to be directed by Daisy. This makes Daisy to become superior to Raman. Although this happens unconsciously, Daisy empowers the whole scene by having power-over Raman to get him to hang up the sign-board to her preference. Another excerpt taken from the novel that illustrates Daisy‟s power- over Raman is when she comes looking for Raman : 82
  • 83. „I have now come to ask if you are prepared to do a little work outside in some of the villages.‟(p.55) Daisy comes in search of Raman to hire him to work with her in her mission against population growth. She explains to him of his work. However, there is no evidence in the novel that Raman accepts her offer to work with her. But the following excerpt from the novel indicates that Raman has joined Daisy in her mission: Raman was subject to further revelations in the next three weeks they spent together travelling and campaigning in the countryside. (p.57) The irony is, Raman wants to keep away from her because he has sense of attraction to her however, he joins her to campaign anyway. This is yet another proof that Daisy has bsuccessfully influenced Raman. The following excerpt shows Daisy‟s concern on the growth of the population: „Don‟t you see how terrible it is with everything crowded, and an endless chain of queues foe shelter, bus, medicine and everything, with thousands of children coming with nothing to eat…‟(p.56) So, as to this, Daisy could have influenced Raman by her strong concern, that although Raman who did not have any intention to join the mission with her, joins in by Daisy‟s strong commitments. At such, Daisy has power-over Raman to make him join her in the mission. Another occasion, where Narayanan‟s Daisy shows empowerment is: 83
  • 84. …sent Raman out to select a wall for their inscription,… summoned an audience of men, women and children under a big tree and spoke to them quietly, firmly with conviction. (p.59) Daisy empowers the novel, and it is made visible through her missions. She is able to influence people to listen to her as she speaks and as well make them to understand the importance of birth control in the nation. Besides that, since she hires Raman, she also has power-over him and sends him to paint the message on the walls in the village. She does everything in a very autocratic manner that gives her a sense of power. She is able to get the crowd in the village to listen, she is able to pull them all together and convince them to listen to her. She is smart in influencing them to stay and listen to her. Thus, Daisy is able to have power-over the villagers. Daisy is empowered through the novel in many other ways too, for instance when the villagers sniggers and giggles while she delivers the talk on sexual intercourse and family planning : But she quietened them with a word of gesture… Some elders tried to send away the children, but she commended, „let them stay. It‟s important to them, more than their elders.‟ And kept them around…(p.59) Daisy easily controls the commotion and continues the talk. She controls the crowd easily and influences them to stay and listen to what she is saying. She portrays a well-developed power-over the villagers to stay put until she finishes her talk for the day. Narayan presented Daisy to empower in the villages she attends for the mission she carries out seriously. 84
  • 85. Narayanan also presented Daisy at work as instructor like as she hired Raman to work for her: When Raman had selected a wide side-wall of a house or temple, she viewed it from various angles and distances, and gave Raman instructions, „we shall only select the spot now, later on you will come and write the signs… You will have to come around later and finish the work as quickly as possible‟ (p.60) Here, Daisy has power-over Raman, she instructs Raman to do his job to her preference and orders him at his task and allocates time for him to finish the job. She has complete power-over Raman. Daisy was able to have control over Raman while they were campaigning too. Narayan revealed that Raman was not so involved yet with Daisy to complete the task: He brooded and introspected as he followed her mutely on the foot- tracks, criss-crossing the mountain-side. (p.63) Raman was not really ready to join Daisy in her missions although he had agreed to her initially. Actually, it was his attraction to Daisy that made him accept her offer. Thus, Daisy was able to influence him further although he was not happy with the whole idea. Certainly Daisy has power-over Raman, to the extent that Daisy can get Raman to do things he would not do otherwise. Narayan also presented Daisy to have power-over Raman when she agrees to be married to him. She lists out some conditions and Raman is ever willing to obey her demands : 85
  • 86. He told himself, in all matters, she will probably be the final deciding authority. Daisy had laid down two conditions before accepting his proposal. One, that they should have no children, and two, if by mischance one was born she would give the child away and keep herself free to pursue her social work. (p.158) On the other hand, Daisy also makes other demands, which Raman accepts blindly: „If you want to marry me, you must leave me to my own plans even when I am a wife. On any day you question why or how, I will leave you…‟ Raman said, „Whatever you say, I will never interfere. Won‟t question you. I will be like ancient king Santhanu…‟ (p.159) Narayan presented several occasions in his novel where Raman was willing to sacrifice everything for Daisy. Narayan presented it well : He was quite prepared to surrender himself completely to her way of thinking, and do nothing that might leave him in the plight of Santhanu. No questioning and the wife stays, but any slight doubt expressed, she flies away forever. He had agreed even to surrender their hypothetical child…(p.168) Daisy is presented by Narayan who has complete power-over Raman, that Raman is ready and willing to do anything that Daisy says at anytime. Although at some points Raman does not really agree with Daisy, he does not question her. Daisy has certainly influenced Raman to give into her demands knowingly or unknowingly. She dictates demand with full consciousness unlike Raman. Daisy is a woman who is well composed, has power to influence and get things to work the way she needs them to. 86
  • 87. 5.2.2 Women Empowerment through Power-over in Waiting for the Mahatma Although Sriram is twenty years old, he is still controlled by his grandmother. He has to obey his grandmother who obviously has control over his actions: “I‟ll teach you how you could improve yourself.”Dragging him by the hand to little circle of light under the hall lamp...and forced Sriram to open the almanac and go through it to a particular page. She push his face close to the page... “What is is?” “Sa...” he read (p. 8-9). She actively exercises power in this situation, where she holds a superior position to Sriram as his grandmother. Sriram is left with no power despite being a twenty year old man. His grandmother exercises power to get him to do things she demands. In this way, Sriram‟s grandmother exercises power-over Sriram. Another example where Sriram‟s grandmother exercises power is while they are on the way to the bank: “Hush! Don‟t talk aloud, others may hear.” (p.11) “Don‟t stand and talk to that man; he will plague us with his remarks...” (p.12) Sriram‟s grandmother reprimands him from talking too loud and talking to Kanni, the shopkeeper. Sriram‟s grandmother observes him closely and she orders him to follow her instructions too. Sriram is left speechless and at moments when he asks for reasons or questions. His grandmother always 87
  • 88. produces an answer or leaves his questions unanswered. Bluntly, Sriram‟s grandmother takes control over his actions, which often leaves him to obey. In this case, she appears as a woman who has power-over Sriram through which she influences him to obey her. When Sriram‟s grandmother successfully influences Sriram and stops him from withdrawing two hundred and fifty rupees, she has power-over him: Sriram obeyed, muttering, “See! This is just what I suspected! I‟m supposed to be the master of this money, but I cannot draw what I want! A nice situation!” (p.16) Sriram himself senses that he has no power over the money although it is his. He challenges and test to it and true enough in the end he obeys his grandmother‟s decision. Another scene where, Sriram‟s grandmother controls his actions is during New Year‟s Day, where she demands that Sriram go to the market to buy her some groceries. Despite his own plans to go to the Lawley Extention, Sriram goes to the market because of his insistent grandmother: “Whether yesterday or the day before, it‟s a New Year‟s Day. I want certain things for its celebration...Grumbling a great deal, he got up, dressed himself, and started out.” (p.22) Again, Sriram‟s grandmother exercises power-over Sriram by influencing him to change his plans from going ahead with his plans. Although he is not happy, Sriram goes to the market. Again, Sriram‟s grandmother successfully 88
  • 89. influences him to get things done for her in the way she wants it. She has powe-over Sriram. Besides Sriram‟s grandmother, Bharathi is also another woman character exercising power in Waiting for the Mahatma (1955). Bharathi is involved in the movement towards the struggle to gain India‟s independence. She exercises power in this sense to influence the people she delivers her talks to, to join the freedom movement called by Mahatma Gandhi and accept his ideas in the process to gain independence for the country. She calls for all men and women who listen to her talks to join the movement and apparently, the size of the crowd multiplies from one scene to another. Narayan presents her not only as a woman who influences the people but also as a woman who exercises power actively to gather the people to achieve the aim of the movement. As such Bharathi is presented by Narayan as a woman who has power-over the people at the microlevels of the society in which she moves along with. “There she stood, like a vision behind the microphone, on the high dais, commanding the whole scene, a person who was worthy of standing beside the microphone. How confidently she faced the crowd!” (p.31) Narayan‟s Bharathi appears to be an ordinary woman belonging to the microlevel society who exercises power actively by involving herself in politics. She has power-over the crowd and she influences them to listen to her speech. Narayan‟s Bharathi is a woman from the ordinary class who is seen 89
  • 90. exercising power at the bottom of Indian society as Foucault (1978), claims in form of various power relations. As such Bharathi‟s power relation is a power relation between members of the society, which crawls from bottom up. She empowers throughout the novel unlike the contemporary notion of power that subordinates women to appear powerless in politics. Bharathi, however, outstands in Narayan‟s Waiting for the Mahatma (1955), as a powerful woman. Narayan also presents Bharathi in the mode of authority, where she has more knowledge and involvement in the freedom movement led by Mahatma Gandhi as compared to Sriram who relatively knows very little. Thus, she holds more power as compared to Sriram in a sense that Sriram has to obey what she says. She orders him around and has influence over his actions. She uses her knowledge and experiences of being in the movement to exercise power-over him: “„I have rights to ask what you are doing here and report to our Chalak if I don‟t like you,‟ she said with sudden tone of authority.”... „No one except close associates and people with appointments is allowed to enter Bapuji‟s presence.‟... „No one except absolute truth-speaker are allowed to come into Mahatma‟s camp. People who come here must take an oath of absolute truth before going into Mahatma‟s presence.” (p.55) Narayan presents Bharathi as an independent woman who takes responsibility of her life and aims to make a difference in the society she lives in. Bharathi appears superior to Sriram in the Waiting for the Mahatma (1955), especially when Sriram requests to join the freedom movement. 90
  • 91. Bharathi being in a position closer to the freedom movement questions him of his intentions and asks him to clarify if he is worthy: “She asks, what do you want to do?” “The same as what you are doing. What are you doing? He asked. “I do whatever I am asked to do by the Sevak Sangh. Sometimes they ask me to go and teach people spinning and tell them about Mahatma‟s idea. Sometimes they send me to villages and poor quarters. I meet them talk to them and do a few things. I attend to Mahatmaji‟s needs.” „Please let me also do something along with you,‟ he pleaded. Why don‟t you take me as your pupil? I want to do something good. I want to talk to poor people.‟ „What will you tell them? „I will tell them whatever you ask me to tell them,‟ he said, and this homage to her superior intelligence pleased her.‟ (pg.59) Bharathi is a knowledgeable woman, the knowledge she has empowers her to exercise power-over Sriram to follow her and obey her instructions. She is a woman of the traditional Indian culture that forbids women from being educated and to be involved in politics, which by the contemporary belief, belongs to the male community of a society. Instead of the female going after the male for a chance to work, here in Waiting for the Mahatma (1955), Narayan gave Bharathi a superior position compared to Sriram. Thus, she appears as a powerful woman character who has obvious power over-him. Moreover, Mahatma Gandhi himself gives authority to Bharathi: Mahatmaji said, „Be happy. Bharathi will look after you.‟ Sriram looked at Bharathi hopefully. Mahatma added: „Remember that she is 91
  • 92. your Guru, and think of her with reference and respect, and you will be all right and she will be all right‟ (p.93) Mahatma Gandhi entrusts Bharathi to take charge of Sriram, and as such, Bharathi appears very superior to Sriram. Narayan, presented her in a high position by appointing her as a Guru to Sriram in his novel. Narayan‟s Bharathi has control and rights to look after and teach Sriram about the movement. Thus, she has a very high power-over him in this novel despite the fact that he is very attracted to Bharathi. Bharathi appears as a woman who is very knowledgeable, being able to teach Sriram many things: Bharathi taught him how to insert the cotton thread, how to turn the wheel, and how to spin (p.96) Bharathi tried to teach him how to use it during their sojourn in one of the village (p.96) But learn, young man, this is really a village. I am not lying. There are seven hundred thousand other villages more or less like this in our country (p.88) Bharathi is often in the position of educating Sriram, thus she has power-over him to influence him to listen and learn things from her. Bharathi in these scenes appears again very powerful and intellectual in comparison to Sriram. Furthermore, Bharathi also instructs Sriram in doing his tasks. She appears also in a superior position to Sriram repeatedly and, assigns him tasks that he has to carry out: 92
  • 93. Bharathi came to him bearing a can of paint and brush. She handed them over to him with the air of an ordnance chief distributing weapons from the armoury, she said: „They have assigned to you all the plantations above. It means a lot of walking. You must not miss any of the dozen villages on the way. The villagers will help you everywhere...with Mahatmaji in prison, we have to carry on the work in our own manner. We must spread his message everywhere.‟ (p.102) Thus, she has power-over him, instructing him to do things the way she needs it to be done at the given places. Narayan presents Daisy‟s sense of authority in a very stern manner. 5.3 SUMMARY In both of his novels, namely, The Painter of Sings (1977) and Waiting for The Mahatma (1955), Narayan, the author, has empowered his women characters in many outstanding ways. From the analysis, the researcher found that, Daisy and Laxmi of The Painter of Signs (1977) and Sriram‟s grandmother and Bharathi of Waiting for the Mahatma (1955) are four women who empower themselves in many circumstances. They are always in a position to act and to be acted upon as suggested by Foucault (1978). Meaning, all the women characters in Narayan‟s selected novels are always in position of simultaneously undergoing and exercising power. Thus, Narayan‟s Daisy, Laxmi, Sriram‟s grandmother, and Bharathi portray strong women empowerment through the notion of power-to and power-over in the selected novels. 93
  • 94. CHAPTER 6 6.0 INTRODUCTION This chapter comprises the outcome of this study. The researcher presents the findings for the analysis in Chapters Four and Five of Narayan‟s The Painter of Signs (1977) and Waiting for the Mahatma (1977) with regard to Foucault‟s (1978) Theory of Power. Thus, section 6.1 of this chapter discussed results for Research Question One on the circumstances in which Narayan‟s women characters exercise power at the microlevel power relations. Meanwhile, section 6.6 attempts to answer Research Question Two of this study, that is on how Narayan‟s women characters gain empowerment through the notion of „power-to‟ and „power-over‟ in both of his selected novels. 6.1 RESULTS AND DISCUSSION FOR RESEARCH QUESTION ONE Through the analysis conducted, the researcher discovered that the women characters namely, Daisy and Laxmi of The Painter of Signs (1977) and Sriram‟s grandmother and Bharathi of Waiting for the Mahatma (1955) exercise power at the microlevel society that they live in. They exercise power in circumstances where there are possibilities for them and the people who are involved at the microlevel power relations with them to act and react as suggested by Foucault (1978). The researcher also discovered that, when Narayan‟s women characters exercise microlevel power relations, they have the freedom to behave differently. This means when Narayan‟s women characters exercise microlevel power relations, there is constant freedom for them and the people who are involved in the power relations 94
  • 95. with them to choose whether to undergo or to resist the power exercised upon them. Besides that, the researcher also identified Narayan‟s women characters power through the myriad microlevel power-relations found at the local level of the society they live in. As Foucault says (1978), they exercise power freely and productively. This means that any party exercising microlevel power relations with them does not place them under oppression or restrictions where the possibilities for them to react are blocked. At the same time, Narayan‟s women characters as well do not bind anyone involved in the power relations with them under the constraint of their power. As such, all of Narayan‟s women characters are free and independent especially Daisy and Bharathi. Laxmi and Sriram‟s grandmother also exercise power relations. However, they exercise power under limited power relations, namely power relation of grandmother-grandson between Sriram and his grandmother and of aunt- nephew between Laxmi and Raman. This is due to their orthodox thinking, since they are traditional Indian women who hold a very strong stand on caste and religious beliefs. Thus, they share very little presence in the novel as compared to Bharathi and Daisy who appear modern and sophisticated. Unlike the traditional models of Indian women Narayan‟s Bharathi and Daisy are knowledgeable enough exercise power to achieve their desires and needs. In the power relationship that Narayan‟s women characters are established, both parties have freedom to respond or resist. Narayan has presented his women characters in microlevel power relations in the form of enforcing power and resisting it depending on their preferences. Again, this matches Foucault‟s (1978) claim that says 95
  • 96. that power relations only takes place when the probabilities of acting and reacting are not blocked. Hence, Foucault‟s (1978), theory of power offers a very favourable way of analysing power because he values the element of inconsistency in a power relation. At such it beats the contemporary claim sought by the traditional theory of power that says power is entirely repressive. Although Narayan presented his women characters in a typical Indian culture and tradition, his Bharathi and Daisy are no ordinary women prescribed by the traditional theory of power. However, Laxmi and Sriram‟s grandmother are an earlier generation who strictly follow their culture and traditions. Even in situations where they exercise power, they do not go beyond the limitation of tradition and culture. For instance Laxmi in the microlevel power relation of aunt-nephew with Raman exercised power only at the point that she does not approve Raman marrying Daisy due to the reason that she belongs to a different caste. Apart from that, there is no evidence in The Painter of Signs (1977), where Laxmi exercises power again. Thus, Laxmi appears assertive only on matters relating to Indian traditions and customs. On the other hand, Narayan‟s Daisy and Bharathi exercise power freely, they possess knowledge and courage in enforcing and resisting power. Then again, there is no evidence in the novels where Daisy and Bharathi are bound by any constraint of superior power that they could not resist. They are women who exercise power with freedom. Although Daisy and Bharathi belong to a very orthodox period of Indian ages, they appear to have freedom to exercise power freely in microlevel power relations. 96
  • 97. In a nutshell, Narayan‟s women characters exercise power in situations where they do not subject anyone to repression. At the same, time they are also never trapped by power since there are always possibilities for them to modify their hold as Foucault‟s (1978), theory of power suggests. 6.2 RESULTS AND DISCUSSION FOR RESEARCH QUESTION TWO In the analysis, the researcher discovered that Narayan‟s women characters gain empowerment through the notion of „power-to‟ by being able to control their feelings, thoughts, and behaviours. The researcher means to say that Daisy and Laxmi of The Painter of Signs (1977), and Sriram‟s grandmother and Bharathi of Waiting for the Mahatma (1955), are constantly in a position to materialize their will according to their needs, passions and desires despite the resistance that they face. On the other hand, Narayan‟s women characters gain empowerment through the notion of „power-over‟ by having control over another person to the extent that that person allows himself or herself to be controlled willingly and unwillingly. However, Narayan‟s women characters do not block the possibilities for the person under their control to resist by any means in his Waiting for the Mahatma (1955), and The Painter of Signs (1977). Thus, the way Narayan‟s women characters exercise „power-to‟ and „power-over‟ applies to Foucault‟s (1978), theory of power that states, power relations are dynamics of mutual influence whereby the possibilities to act and react should always be present. In other words, in order for a power relation to take place there should always be possibilities for the individuals involved to accept or resist the power acted upon them. 97
  • 98. In Narayan‟s Waiting for the Mahatma (1955) and The Painter of Signs (1977), Bharathi and Daisy are no common women prescribed by the traditional theory of power. Instead, they are new women who empower their lives. Additionally they also show strong involvement in politics and never subject themselves under any form of oppression knowingly or unknowingly. They are women who extensively exercise power throughout the novels of Narayan. They portray strong control over their emotions and desires when their decisions are not supportive to others, for instance, Bharathi has strong control over her emotions and desires when Sriram, her lover, does not agree with her decision to follow the Mahatma Gandhi‟s suggestion to surrender themselves to the police. She was very upset, however she had strong power-to to control her feelings and thoughts and thus, empower her life by proceeding with her decision and leaving Sriram to his. Meanwhile, Narayan‟s sophisticated Daisy portrays in many occasions where she exercises power-over. She is empowered by Narayan in many ways. She was able to influence Raman to agree to her condition for their marriage despite Raman‟s uncomfortable feeling at the beginning and somehow he agrees with Daisy in the end. Thus, in this situation, Daisy exercises power-over Raman and Raman undergoes it willingly without resistance. Therefore, Daisy empowers her life with her decisions unlike Raman who depends on her for decisions in his life. At such, Daisy appears a modern woman who has control-over her life and she is very practical in whatever she does. Besides that, Narayan presented Daisy as a woman who influences Raman to join her mission to fight against the growing population of India. Raman is not in any way interested with the mission, but he agrees with her suggestion because he loves 98
  • 99. Daisy, thus he willingly gives in to Daisy‟s demand although he was not involved in it by heart. Overall, Daisy‟s empowerment in Narayan‟s The Painter of Signs (1977), is illustrated by her empowerment over her life. As suggested by Foucault (1979), Daisy and Bharathi of Narayan‟s selected novels are independent women with practical minds. They live their lives the way they intend to, and do not by any chance let themselves be influenced by others. On the other hand, the researcher did not find any evidence where Raman‟s aunt, Laxmi exercises power-over in Narayan‟s novel. Except for one occasion where Laxmi exercises „power-to‟, that is when Raman declared to her that he intends to marry Daisy. Laxmi does not approve of their marriage; upon disappointment, she resigns herself to Benares, because she becomes upset with Raman‟s decision. Raman tries to stop her many times but she is firm with her decision and finally leaves for Benares. As such, she gains empowerment by implementing her intentions to go to Benares. That is the only time Laxmi, ever exercises power in Narayan‟s The Painter of Signs (1977). Narayan‟s Bharathi and Daisy are mainly knowledgeable to have control over their lives and at the same time influence people to do things the way they need them to. Moreover, they move freely throughout the society they live in without fear. Thus, the women of Narayan gain empowerment because they are able to control themselves and influence others at the same time. They move independently by not allowing themselves to be oppressed in any way at any point of the novel. They are strong new women of Narayan who empower their own lives. 99
  • 100. 6.3 SUMMARY In conclusion, Narayan‟s women characters are liberated from any form of oppression at the microlevels of the society that they live in. They move around in the society they live in with freedom to act and to react as suggested by Foucault‟s (1978), theory of power. Besides that, they are not bound to any form of power as claimed by the contemporary theory of power sought by feminists. Furthermore, they are not bound in any form of subordinated position to any other characters in the selected novels. Narayan‟s women characters sustain empowerment in his novels. Thus, power liberates Narayan‟s women characters from the contemporary male dominance. With this, the researcher successfully answers Research Questions One and Two. This study is significant because it provides ways to analyse power from an angle that empowers women. Although Narayan had presented his women characters as sophisticated modern women who are liberated and powerful in leading their lives, the reality in the world still maintains that women are at the secondary position in comparison to men. By altering the presentation of women in literature, the researcher delivers the importance of power in women‟s lives as it enables women empower their own lives to a certain extent if not entirely. Hence, the researcher discovers that the knowledge of power is as important as the power of knowledge in women‟s lives. 100
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