EMPOWERMENT OF WOMEN THROUGH THE CHARACTER OF ROSIE IN R.K. NARAYAN`S`THE GUIDE` by dr. ram sharma
Empowerment of Women through the character of Rosie in R.K. Narayan's 'The Guide' By Dr. Ram Sharma lecturer in English J.V. (P.G.) college, Baraut, Baghpat (U.P.) The theme of empowerment of women and concern for their amelioration for the first time became a social issue in the early twentieth century .It shaped the creative consciousness of all the Indian writers. In this paper i have analysed the concept of empowerment of women through the character of Rosie in R.K. Narayan`s `The Guide`
. The theme of emanicipation of women, a wide spread and genuine concern for the amelioration of their condition for the first time became a social issue in the early twentieth century. It shaped the creative consciousness of all the Indian English writers including R.K.Narayan, George Lucas rightly points out. "Development in India shows that socialism may figure among the forces working against medievalism. The unusual character of this social evolution will no doubt give rise to equally unusual literary developments not to be filled into any of our abstract categories." Electronic media or channels of communication like telephones , mobiles , radio , television , films , computers , internet have revolutionized the field of information and communication. The use of internet has became the part and parcel of every house. The use of these instruments is an integral part of today`s life. T.V and films are proving most effective way of women empowerment. The new information and communication technologies that provide opportunities to share information and communication technologies that provide opportunities to share information and resources , and link network with each other faster, has emerged in the last few years , lent women`s presence in the new communication space still lag far behind.Chetan Anand picturised R.K Narayan`s novel `The Guide` in which Dev Anand played the role of Raju and Waheeda Rahman played the role of Rosie. It is through the character of Rosie in The Guide, that Narayan truly takes up and treats the concept of women's emanicipation.Rosie makes efforts to come out from the clutches of four walls and tried to prove her identity. She is artistically inclined young wife of 'Marco' the eccentric art critic,who has no time for her young wife.All the time he is busy in stone statues and has no time for living being.Rosie who meets Raju- an enthusiastic tourist guide at Malgudi Railway station and this meeting gives a new turn to her life. Rosie's marital life with Marco was woefully incompatible. In the initial stage, he aggresively defies the wishes of his wife who desires to see a king-cobra. He snub her. "Don't expect me to go with you. I can't stand the right of a snake-your interests are morbid." On the other hand Rosie has a distate for "Cold, old stone walls". She is perturbed by the fact that her husband, whom Raju calls 'Macro' is more interested in books, papers, painting and old art than in being a "real live husband". He is too steeped in his zeal for archaeological studies, that he neglects his elegant and fascinating wife. Not realizing the invaluable treasure his wife is, he is "like a monkey fricking up a rose garland." Macro was incompatible and tedious so much so that Raju couldn't help marvelling at the glaring contrast between the two-one, full with promise of life,. Rosie tells Raju ``I`d preferred any kind of mother in law , if it had meant one real , live husband ` she said .I looked up at her to divine her meaning but she lowered her eyes , I would only guess.She said`` He is interested in painting and old art and things like that`` vibrant and aglow whereas the other appeared a 'grotesque' creature, procupied with dead and long lost things like cave walls "gazing, Raju thinks in horror". This man would go on wall-gazing all his life and leave her to languish in her hotel room. Strange man!" (p 63) Rosie belongs to a family of professional dancing girls[ Devdasis], devoted to the art, for whom dance is a part and parcel of life. Seeing the cobra dance, she too unknowingly sways, imitating it and for the shrewd Raju", it was sufficiently to tell me what she was the greatest dancer of the centuary." She craves to dance and longs to express herself through dancing. But far from encouragement. . Macro is only interested in sculptured figures on walls and stones and not in his wife. "who as dancer was the living embodiment of those images." In this initial meeting with Rosie, Raju profusely praises her art: Interesting, Rosie as she reveals to Raju, inspite of being born in a family traditionally dedicated to temple dancing[ Devdasis], came to be married off to Macro, a rich bachelor of high social standing and academic interests, became of her 'university degree' and good looks." All the same, she did have written her the seeds of a talented classical dancer. Raju realises with a touch of regret that she could have risen like a meteor if only her husband had taken an interest in building up her career. Unfortunately Macro, her husband, is so much a slave to his self-chosen professional role as a scholar that he is incapable of playing his other human and social role as a good husband, with serious repurcussions on the life of his wife. Finding encouragement from Raju, Rosie earnestly begins her dance practice. " "I need a full orchestra- we have stayed indoors long enough she said. I found her so earnest that I had not the courage to joke any more. (pp 155-156) In all fairness to Rosie though, R.K.Narayan tries to show how the instincts of a faithful wife were not dead in her. Quickly realising her mistake, a represent Rosie tries to mend fences with Marco. "I realized i had committed an enormous sin.......... My mind was greatly troubled. I didn't want anything more in life than to make my peace with him. I did not want to dance. I felt lost....." (pp- 133) A gifted dancer Rosie was, she at the moment, wanted nothing more than her husband's forgiveness. She sincerely apologizes to him, but in vain. "I followed him, day after day, like a dog-waiting on his grace. He ignored me totally. I could never have imagined that one human being could ignore the prefence of another human being so completely. I followed him like a shadow, leaving aside all my own pride and self respect. I hoped that ultimately he'd come round." (p. 134) She even asks Raju to go away and leave them alone after his show down with Marco at the Peak House. But Marco reacts by categorically disowning his wife. "I'm trying to forget..... even the earlier fact that I ever took a wife you are free to go and do what you please." (p.134) "After a few days she began to allude to the problems of husband and wife whenever she spoke to Rosie and filled the time with anecdoters about husbands, good husbands, mad husbands-- but it was always the wife, be her doggedness, perservenance and patience, that brought him round. She quoted numerous mythological stories of Savitri, Seeta and all the well-known heroines." (p. 137) Raju's mother flies at Rosie and calls her 'a viper' and 'a serpent-girl' out to wreak havoc on her son. With Raju's co-operation and her own untiring efforts Rosie manages to build up a dancing career for herself. Soon she rose phenomenally reaching new heights and became a public heart throb. "With the attainment of a new name, Roise entered a new phrase of life. Under the new name Rosie and all she had suffered in her earlier life was buried from public new. I was the only one who knew her as Rosie and called her so. The rest of the world knew her as Nalini." (p. 157) The reverse of the well known adage 'behind every successful man is a woman' may be applied in the case of Nalini[ empowered] alias Rosie. "She needed my inspiring presence (p.162)" I had a monopoly of her and nobody had anything to do with her...... I resented anyone wanting to make a direct approach to her. She was my property. This idea was begining to take root in my mind." (p.168) Raju came to monopolise Rosie to the extent of disliking her enjoyment of others' company. "Apart from them, sometimes musicians or actors on other dances called on Nalini and spent hours with her. Nalini enjoyed their company immensely, and I often saw them in her hall. Some lying on carpets, some sitting up, all talking and laughing, while coffee and food were being carried to them. I occassionaly went up and chatted with them-always with a feeling that I was an interpoler in that antistic group. Sometimes it irritated me to see them all so happy and abandoned." (p. 169) He grudged her any reprieve from a hectic shedule. "She never minded a chance to get a gethering of such friends whenever she might be. She said "They have the blessing of Goddess Saraswathi on them, they are good people. I like to talk to them." (p. 169) "If I examined my heart I knew I had pulled her out became I did not like to see her enjoy other people's company. I liked to keep her in a citadel. (p 172)
"We were going through a set of mechanical actions day in and day out- the same receptions at the station, fussy organizers, encounters, and warnings the same middle sofa in the first row speeches and remarks and smiles, polite conversation, garlands and flash photos, congratulations, and off to catch the trainpocketing the most important thing, the cheque. Gradually, I began to say, not I am going, to Trichy for a performane by Nalini.' But 'I am performing at Trichy on Sunday on Monday I have a programme' and then 'I can dance in your place only on...' "I demanded the highest fee, and got it if anyone in India." (p- 172) Rosie reminded Marco whom Roji had almost forgotten through the arrival of his book. The cultural History of South India.' It seemed Rosie still cherished fondness for her husband. He seemed to have gained in her estimation through the widespread recognition of his latest scholarly achievement. Raju was alarmed over Rosie's sudden mood savings. "What were her moods? Was she same or insame?--- I felt bewildered her sudden affection for her husband. I did my best for her. Her career was at its height. What was it that still troubled her? .... I had been taking too much for granted in our hectic professional existence." (p 180) As things stand, once Rosie becomes a well-known dancer, she finds her newly acquired halo as irksome as Raju finds his own. She gets tired of a circus existence'. She tells Raju " The Thought of it makes me sick. I feel like one of three parrots in a cage taken arround village-fairs or a performing monkey." (p 181) Raju forges Rosie's signature on a legal document in order to guard against the possibility that her attitude to her husband might soften if she comes to know about the generous gesture of Marco, offering her jewels, yet it is this very act of his that ultimately leads to Raju's loss of Rosie. "A sudden activity seized her..... She sold her diamonds.... She sent him (Mani) to Madras to pick up a big lawyer for me..... She went through her engagement, shepherding the musicians herself." (p 198) A dismayed Raju realies belatedly that Rosie had come of age and there was no stopping her. He was no longer indispensible for her. She needed no Raju. "I knew I was growing jealous of her self-reliance.... She would never stop dancing. She would not be able to stop. She would go from strength to strength." (p 199) What Raju newly discovers about Rosie is also a trobule to the emanicipated 'new woman'. He realises "Neither Marco nor I had any place in her life, which had its own sustaining vitality and which she herself had underestimated all along." (p. 199) ``From the study of the character of Rosie which was undertaken on the problem of female emanicipation. It appears that the women owe their characteristic position in society mainly to two factors-economic dependence and mute servility. Intensifying this situation is the cumulative nature of gender inequality in India-strikingly similar in the lower as well as the upper classes``.Rosie was mute sufferer when she was in four walls but she came out and proved her worth as a dsancer.Although Narayanan became controversial in presenting the extra marital relationship between married Rosie and Raju . The condition in general of the misunderstood and hapless women, inspite of occassional spooks of rebellious, does not undergo any significant change.Women are still suffering from gender inequality but R.K. Narayan has presented the wave of emanication and empowerment of women through the character of Rosie and this is a rebellious effort .
About the Author
DR. RAM SHARMA IS SENIOR LECTURER IN ENGLISH IN JANTA VEDIC COLLEGE, BARAUT, BAGHPAT, U.P. , INDIA