Ice candy man

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ice candy man: female suppression and marginalization by Madiha Habib
student of BS ENGLISH IIUI

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Ice candy man

  1. 1. Ice Candy Man: A Feminist perspectiveThe novel Ice Candy Man presents femine psyche and experiences in aunique style. The women characters of the novel are aware and veryconfident of their individuality, Lenny, her Ayah Santa, her mother andGodmother show a strong character and exhibit ability of assuming newroles and responsibilities. It is second novel by a woman writer dealingwith the theme of partition of India. But it is first by a non Pakistaniwriter. Bapsi Sidhwa being a parsee does not belong to any of the twocommunities. She presents partition as a neutral being and highlightsdisharmony, mutual suspicion which leads to hostility of feelings offriendliness and good neighbourliness and the eventual holocaust.Sidhwa depicts events in their naked cruelty. it is a very brave attemptfor a woman to choose a theme which is other than the traditional issuesof women like romantic involvements and sentimental stuff. She takes afemale protagonist into the moral centre and presented male characters asapathetic and involve in destructive violence. The analysis of Ice CandyMan shows women characters to be strong enough and live life of theirown. They are not suppressed. In the patriarchal set up males aresuperior and females are considered inferior. All the good qualities areassociated with males and all the weaknesses with female. But in IceCandy Man all the strong qualities are presented by female characters.The main character of novel is a young , who is lame. Through thishandicap child it is presented that women can be creative even withdisabilities. She takes pen and narrates the story of partition. In generalnotion writing is the characteristic of males and women has to performdomestic tasks. By making Lenny narrator , Sidhwa lends weight to thefemine perspective.There is a notable difference between a feminist text and a malediscourse. In the later all the heroic qualities are associated with malesand the female protagonist remains suppressed and recipient of malepower and orders. In a feminist text, it is the woman who performs andcontrols the action by her active involvement and given heroic qualitiesand glory. In the novel Lenny’s cousin remain cousin throughout thenovel without any identity. It shows equality of gender rather superiorityof women. Lenny is very much strong in her character and wise that shedoes not allow him to take advantage of her disability. He wanted tomanipulate her sexually but he could not seduce her. It is because of theinfluence of Ayah.Ayah is a flame of sensuous pleasure and all her admirers move aroundher for the sexual warmth she radiates. She is like a queen bee whocontrol the actions and emotions of admirers. She is so powerful that noadmirer can afford her anger. Although she is flirtatious but she is aware
  2. 2. and confident of herself. No one can take advantage of her. She is alsovery loyal to the family she serves and extremely protective of Lenny,more than her mother. Later on she is abducted and raped and becamethe mistress of Ice Candy Man. He make her a dancing girl and compelher to change her religion. But as soon as she gets the chance, she getsaway by using her freedom from the man she does not love. She is firmand decisive. She want to go back to her family. Inspite of Ice CandyMan’s love, she does not stay with him. He weeps, begs and became afaqeer for her.Lenny’s mother is presented a faithful wife who is always submissive toher husband, tolerates his moods and make her relation successful. Allthe good qualities are associated with women by Bapsi Sidhwa. While inTrain to Pakistan , it is Juggut Singh who with the feelings of love for hisbeloved Nooran, save the lives of many Muslims migrating to Pakistan.In Ice Candy Man it is Lenny’s mother and aunt who play heroic role offighting for the lives and properties of Hindus. Thus it is the two womenwho undertake the risky job of saving lives in danger.Another very vibrant figure, very close to the protagonist is Godmother.Her personality shines with humour, extreme love for Lenny and hersocial commitment. When she so desires , earn her respect andadmiration of people around her. She is endowed with understanding ofhuman existence. Her wisdom is showed when she solaces the Ayahafter what has been done to her. The best example of he self confidenceand authoritativeness is how she deals Ice Candy Man and rescue fromkotha. Ice Candy Man was not an easy man to deal with.Against Sidhwa’s novel, Kushwant Sing’s Train to Pakistan presents theman in command and are centre of stage. The focus is on hero JuggutSingh, even though he is portrayed as badmash but the writer’s sympathyis with him. He is arrested for a murder in village. There is hardly awoman in the novel who matches his position. The relation between himand his beloved Nooran is that of an overbearing lover and submissivebeloved. Once his lust overtakes him , he lays her. He is like a peasant.He compel her to obey what he says. When we compare this relationshipwith the relation of Cousin and Lenny , we find Lenny stronger. Whencousin tries to fulfil his sexual desire , she stops him and never let himtake advantage of her. All the women characters in Train to Pakistanremain sex objects and there is no concept of women rights. The womenare marginalized and all the importance is given to males.When we see the character of Slavesister , she is also suppressed andobeys the orders of Godmother. She does not do anything by her ownwill. By this character Bapsi Sidhwa conveys the message that theexploitation and suppression of one individual by another are not
  3. 3. confined to the male-female relationship , but these can exist between afemale-female relationship aswell.Thus Ice Candy Man becomes a feminist text in true sense by bringingon stage a female protagonist. Sidhwa belongs to that group of writerswho depict other roles of women than their traditional roles.In my opinion women should given freedom of choice. They should begiven rights. There must be a world free of dominance . A good societyis one in which there is justice and equality between men and women.All religions of the world preach justice and equality and rights ofwomen.Ice Candy Man; A Saga of Female Suppression and Marginalization Ice Candy Man presents violation of human rights and patheticconditions during the partition of Subcontinent in 1947. Through thecharacter of Lenny, Bapsi Sidhwa gives the details of how the politicalchanges affect the citizens of India. The novel realistically represents theexploitation and suppression of women. Men using their masculinepowers fulfil the desires and brutally assault the women. Sidhwa as anovelist talks about the power and skills of women.Feminism is a movement which play a very important role inhighlighting the suppression of women in a male dominated society. Inthis society women are considered inferior to men and they are not giventheir rights. Many writers suggest some solutions to the degradation ofwomen based on cast, creed, religion and gender biases. Ice Candy Manrepresents a series of female characters who survived the worst time of1947 in India. The novel represents the realistic picture of Hindu Muslimclashes and the changing political scenario. Emotional turmoil,weakness, killings, brutalities and much more are suffered by women.The whole story is narrated by a female protagonist who shares herpersonal experiences of partition. She minutely observes men’sintentions towards women, the lustful desires of males and the way theytreat the women as sexual objects.Lenny as a narrator moves from childhood to adolescence and during thiscourse of time she understands the changes occur in society andbehaviour of men with women. The whole journey helps her to develop amature vision of life. She gives a close look at the relationship betweenmen and women. Being a handicapped girl her world is restricted to herhouse. She spends most of her time with her Godmother. Being a childshe had no inclination to female possession. She never played with dolls.The sexual identity thrust upon her again and again. Her schooling isstopped by her doctor because she is suffering from polio. He said shecan marry and live a good life. She does not need to take burden ofstudies. This suggestion makes her feel that her fate is sealed and
  4. 4. marrying and carrying out responsibilities of domestic affairs are theonly aims of women. Since ages it is considered that woman’s duty is tolook after the house, raise children and give comfort to her family.Shashi Deshpande suggests that women should be given enough space torealize their true personality. Simon de Beauvior holds the opinion thatmothers are responsible to inculcate the sense of submission in women.Lenny learns that marriage of a girl is of utmost importance to theirparents. Independence and self identity is for men. As a child she enjoysthe love of her mother and the protection of her father but the story of IceCandy Man’s love for Ayah destroys her concept of love. The meeting ofGodmother and Ice Candy Man open her eyes to the wisdom of truth andcompassion. She watches women being rapped and men turning tobeasts. Women including Ayah become prey of men. Lenny was shockedto see the human mind corrupted so easily. Men were declaringsuperiority over each other by sexually assaulting women. ShashiDeshpande states that rape is a violation of trust between two people anda greatest violence. Lenny is shocked to see the changing faces of men and she becameaware of religious differences. She knows that men of different religionscan never become friends again. To take revenge is the sole purpose oftheir life. Ayah is kidnapped and she decides to hunt for Ayah, whobecame a prey of Hindu Muslim riots.Throughout the novel, Lenny appears as bold, courageous and strong.Sidhwa has given feminist touch to her character who moves forwarddespite many hurdles. By observing the life of many women sheunderstands the limitations associated with women lives in patriarchalsociety. Bapsi Sidhwa states that women are always marginalized andshe always protest against it. Lenny’s mother is another female character,a servile housewife, she limits herself to her home. She represents thetraditional woman who never expresses their desire. Through LennySidhwa shows that men have to dilute their ego and women have to bestrong. The mind sets need to be changed in order to establish equalitybetween sexes.Sidhwa exposes the society, which marginalize women, their growth anddevelopment. She has a constructive approach towards women’sbetterment.Just as Bepsi Sidhwa said about the marginalization and degradation ofwomen , it is true. Women are always being marginalized and consideredinferior over centuries. They are not given their rights. A big change isrequired at social level, which will acknowledge women as humanbeings having souls, desires and feelings. Women should utilize theirpotentials beyond the domestic life to have their own individuality.
  5. 5. A Comparative Analysis of Ice Candy Man and Train to Pakistan:The Subcontinent was divided into Pakistan and India in August 1947.Bapsi Sidhwa’s Ice Candy Man and Kushwant Singh’s Train to Pakistandescribe all the events and tragedy of partition. Both the novels presentthe bitter reality, horror and destruction caused in the name of partitionby retaining their individuality. Bapsi Sidhwa narrates the story througha female protagonist while Kushwant Singh through male.The division of partition was based on Two Nation Theory. The Muslimmajority states were given to Pakistan and Hindu to India. This resultedin massive and violent migration. A large number of people becamevictims of partition. One million people died and 75000 women abductedand raped. The partition enlightens hostilities between both the nationsinstead of bringing peace.The tragedy of partition influences many writers and they started todefine the themes , the turmoil and complexities of partition. KushwantSing’s Train to Pakistan , Attia Hussain’s Sunlight on a Broken Column,Amitav Gosh’s Shadow Lines, Bapsi Sidhwa’s Ice Candy Man , shortstories by Saadat Hassan Manto and poetry of Faiz Ahmed Faiz giveinsight to the sectarian violence. Both the novels Ice Candy Man andTrain to Pakistan received worldwide appreciation for presenting faithfuland true reality of partition. Bapsi Sidhwa was only eight years old in1947 and originates from Pakistan, while Kushwant Singh was of thirtyand a well known Indian writer.Train to Pakistan is the account of tragedy of partition in a small villageMano Majra where Sikhs and Muslims were living like brothers overcenturies. Their life was peaceful and serene without any racialprejudice. One day a mob of robbers robbed and killed the money lenderRam Lal (a Hindu) and police arrested Juggut Singh (gangster) as asuspect. His beloved Nooran was a Muslim. He was arrested because ofhis strong ties with robbers and bendits. Iqbal, a European educatedyoung man was also arrested in connection with murder. One day twotrains came from Lahore filled with the dead bodies of Sikhs and Hindus.In this way the peaceful atmosphere got disturbed and the village becamea battle field. Friends became enemies and brotherly relations vanished.The Sikhs and Muslims migrated from their respective places to savetheir lives. The Sikhs and Hindus decided to take revenge by killingMuslim passengers in train going to Pakistan. Juggut Singh’s belovedwas also in the same train with her family. He saved her and many otherMuslims in the cost of her life.
  6. 6. In Ice Candy Man, Bapsi Sidhwa describes the communal violencethrough a young girl Lenny who is lame. Shanta was her Ayah who takescare of her like a sister and Lenny loves her a lot. Ayah attracts men withher physical beauty. Masseur and Ice Candy Man were against eachother because both wanted to win the favours of Ayah. The rumours ofpartition were in the air. One day the mobs breakout and killed manypeople in Lahore. Soon the entire Punjab Province was seen burning. IceCandy Man killed Masseur. The train arrived from Gurdaspur and it wasfilled with dead bodies of Muslims and two bags full of women’s breasts.This sight turned Ice Candy Man into a violent beast. He abducted Ayahand took her to Hira Mandi and made her a prostitute. Later on he forcedher to change her religion and marry her. Lenny’s small mind wasshocked to see all this and she lost her innocence.The study of both the novels show that the terror and utter violencestarted when Mano Majra and Lahore received trains full mutilatedbodies. The trains are the root cause of uncontrolled violence andbloodshed.Communal violence: All the novels in the history about partitionaccounts that the violence erupted when the British Raj announced thedivision of Subcontinent. Punjab was the most affected province becauseit was divided into two halves. People migrated from one city to other tosave their lives. In Ice Candy Man , the enimosity between Masseur andIce Candy Man for Ayah shows the conflict between Pakistan and Indiaregarding who should live where. With the division of Punjab, the heartsof Sikhs , Muslims and Hindus filled with hatred for each other. Theykilled and looted each other’s properties. Muslims, Sikhs and Hindusraised slogans against each other. The whole world was burning. IceCandy Man reported about the train arrived from Gurdaspur which wasfilled with dead bodies of Muslims and two bags full of women’s breasts.This act of violence changed him to a beast. He abducted Ayah inrevenge and made her a dancer.The picture of this violence and massacre is also found in Train toPakistan. In the beginning lines of novel, Kushwant Singh says: ‘the factis both sides killed. Both shot and stabbed and speared and clubbed.Both tortured. Both raped.’The peaceful atmosphere of Mano Majra started to crumble after themurder of Ram Lal. The situation got worst when the two trains full ofdead bodied of Sikhs and Hindus arrived from Pakistan. There was nofuel to burn the dead bodies and they were buried. It was season ofmonsoons and the remains of Muslims killed in massacre are float byfloodwaters of Sutlej River.It is note worthy that both the novels mentioned the reference ofmutilated breasts of women in trains. Apart from this, the way Ice Candy
  7. 7. Man expressed his emotions and convinced his friends to take revenge,the Sikh leader of Mano Majra is also shown doing the same, invokingSikhs for revenge. Thus we can say that both the novels give the accountof harsh realities and violence of partition.Victimization of women: The history of partition witness the fact thatwomen of Sikhs , Muslims and Hindus all became victims of partition.Women were kidnapped, rapped and brutally killed. They were notaccepted by their families after abduction. The victors celebrate theirvictory on the bodies of women.In Ice Candy Man , Ayah is kidnapped by Ice Candy Man and made hera prostitute. He successfully removed her identity and religion in hishatred with Hindus. Although Ayah escaped him, but she will beconsidered as a fallen woman by her family. This thing led her toemotional and psychological disturbance forever. Hamida was also afallen woman and she was discarded by her family.In Train to Pakistan , Kushwant Singh gives same account of crueltiesinflicted upon women. He narrates the story of Sundri, a newly wed girlmoving to Gujranwala with her husband on fourth day of her marriage.They were attacked by Muslims. Her husband was striped naked and shewas rapped in front of him. A part from this the trains with women’sbreasts also tell the brutal attitude towards women. Some women died toavoid sexual violation, their chastity and respect of family and religion.Romance: Both the novelists are similar in introducing the romanticelement. Both of them develop love story between the individuals ofopposite religion and ethnic identity. Ice Candy Man and Ayah is goodexample in Ice Candy Man and Juggut Singh and Nooran in Train toPakistan. Ice Candy Man is responsible for the abduction and disrespectof Ayah, whereas Juggut Singh saves her beloved from destruction onthe cost of his life.In Ice Candy Man love exists in many forms. There is the cruel love ofIce Candy Man for Ayah and pure love between Lenny and Godmother,Lenny and Ayah and Lenny and her mother. The different forms of loveare love for religion, land and power. The love of Ice Candy Mancontinuously changed its shape and role. His love is obsessive and hischaracter is flexible.Children and psychological trauma of partition:While discussing thetragic history of partition, we cannot ignore the children who wereaffected by the same violent and angry world. Those who survived werehaunted by horrible memories so much that they were physically andpsychologically handicapped forever. In Ice Candy Man , the bestexample is Lenny, the narrator and Ranna. Lenny witnessed the burningof buildings and fights of Muslims, Sikhs and Hindus. The murder of
  8. 8. Banya upset and terrified Lenny. She was curious to the meaning of whatshe has seen and she tore apart one of her doll and inflicted her psychicpain on a physical body. She was totally confused with the world aroundher. Due to her childhood innocence she was unable to understand theevents. The abduction of Ayah shows her innocence that she becameprey of the wicked world. She suffered throughout the novel.Ranna’s encounter with the event of Pir Pindo affected him bothphysically and mentally. Being a child he was not familiar with theviolence and brutality of man. He witnessed the murder of his family andall the villagers infront of him and also the rape of many women. He losthis family. His physical wounds healed but the scars left on his heartremains forever.Bapsi Sidhwa accounts the physical and psychological tortures sufferedby children whereas Kushwat Singh upholds only adult’s mirror toreflect the complexities of partition.Goodness of human character: The partition fiction in English on onehand records the savagery of man , and on the other hand it underlinesthe sincerity and commitment of man to humanity. The characters standfor goodness are Iqbal, Juggut Singh, Lenny’s family members andImam Din.Juggut Singh and Iqbal in Train to Pakistan are socially marginalized.Iqbal is against the killing and exploitation of poor by rich. He wasagainst the partition and believed that partition give nothing but violenceand destruction. Juggut Singh, a social marginal is involved in manycrimes. When he knew the conspiracy about the train going to Pakistanin which his beloved was travelling, he saved his beloved and manyother people.In Ice Candy Man, the Parsee family helped many people. Lenny’smother and Godmother helped the fallen to return to their families andrecovered Ayah from abductor. Hamida was also very good and servedLenny like her Ayah. Imam Din tried to save Ayah from abduction.These are the characters who are always ready to serve humanityirrespective of their religious and ethnic identities.The writings of partition tragedy inspires the film producers from theliterary sources. ‘Earth 1947’ and ‘ Train to Pakistan’ are visualrepresentations of Ice Candy Man and Train to Pakistan Pamela Rooksand Deepa Mehta. The role of Ice Candy Man was played by Amir Khan.From the above discussion we can conclude that Bapsi Sidhwa andKushwant Singh clearly portrayed the gruesome reality of partition. Wecan also say that partition is due to the intervention and conspiracies ofBritish Raj. All the people of different religions and ethnic identitieswere living peacefully for centuries before the British Raj, even during
  9. 9. the Muslims rule. The Britishers inculcate the religious and ethnic biasesin people of Subcontinent. They took the advantage of illiteracy ofpeople. If all the people were educated, they would be able to take rightsteps at right time and would save Subcontinent from bloodshedSUBMITTED BY: MADIHA HABIBREGISTERATION: 749-FLL/BSENG/F-10COURSE TITLE: PAKISTANILITERATUREPROGRAM : BS ENGLISH 5 THSEMESTERSECTION : ASUBMITTED TO : MADAM SOFIAHUSSAIN
  10. 10. INTERNATIONAL ISLAMICUNIVERSITY ISLAMABAD

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