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Issue Editorial: The Panorama of the Pandemic and the Female Subalternity

By Silpi Maitra

The myriads of femininity or diverse amplifications of female-centric roles that result in the procreation of culturally constructive assignments of a wife or as a woman enhance only the process of transformation. This transformation is of ‘becoming’, generalizing, proceeding towards or being castigated into different subservient roles. The transformation or the metamorphosis in the present study will focus on the need for empaths in this present era where rich insightful studies have concentrated on the emerging trends in gender violence. Apart from lending excruciating physical and mental pain, this rising graph in gender violence has been the result of many dominating crippling forces which have accelerated during the period of COVID-19 induced lockdown.

What became more petrifying or gruesome is the fact that the subconscious power of barbarity and carnal forces surfaced accordingly. Amidst the stupor of the physical lockdown, the dilapidated mental state demanded peace during the virus-infected existence. The rising level of primordial violence against women in the form of rape, domestic violence, and marital abuse featured prominently in the lives of women who chose to mitigate their exorbitant sufferings through the means of silent tears. Here it becomes a proven fact that the subalterns could not speak or possibly chose not to speak their minds for the fear of being shamelessly evicting one’s own partner. The constant fear of a guilty conscience of accusing one’s husband on a public platform before the Law has been reflected in certain data which typecasted the factors of compromise and adjustment that the society has indelibly imprinted in the minds of the people. The despicable plight of the abused female souls have questioned the benign power of humanity or the so-called existent universal values. The objective reality that percolates through each narrative of affliction reverts the sombreness to the notion of absurdity and meaninglessness. The notion of existential angst that is captured through the female protagonists overtly projects the ideas of dejection, incomprehensiveness and the lack of compassion for other human beings.

One of the grim and gory contexts or subjects of study has been marital rape. Rape, which is the violation of one’s identity, essence, sexuality and the soul as a whole is presented in multidimensional forms of narration. This issue of Café Dissensus chooses marital rape to be the focal point of research and discussion. The contravention that dismembers the female beings is captured and projected flawlessly in meticulous detail in every article. The dissection of the contours of femininity goes beyond the stipulated gender discourse and propagates the need for a newer discipline in the form of Gender sensitization. The modern approaches towards gender study highlights the need for equality between the genders which is needed for the emancipation of women. The shuddering impact of violence on the female psyche had furious repercussions, as evidenced in data from the National Women’s Commission in India. The ruptured female selves presented the voices of dissent. The schism between the two genders gave rise to contested notions of polarization and dissemination.

Apart from a theoretical or social construct, gender becomes an intertextual form of study. The pandemic has pointed to the stark reality of gender discrimination and every form of female coercion. The obnoxious paradoxical structure of female belonging changed to its primordial marginal nexus as the pandemic surfaced. Women began to feel the infected domain that ensures patriarchal domination. The conjuring and the diabolical forces that crippled every man-woman relationship resulted from societal-cultural-political forces. The binary opposition between these two sexes has rampaged the domain of the centre and the margin.

The stories and the narratives that have been included in this issue have retold the tales of decentering of the female selves. The COVID-19 was proof of the intrinsic level of animosity and barbarity that already exists in the integrated human psyche. It gets embedded into the diluted consciousness of the so-called humanity. The wretched inhuman condition that the women have been thrust into during the pandemic scripts diverse levels of narratives. The broader discussions are on the lives of the afflicted souls who have silenced their thoughts, while shrinking into a constricted paradigm of belonging. The assimilated papers have been based on female subalternity which has been presented with sheer brilliance. The arduous nature of suffocating selves have been pen portrayed through the literary narratives chosen by each contributor who has efficiently depicted the individual female struggles most uniquely. The dominant texture of androcentric literariness is challenged by our contributors who have attempted to express the insatiable anger and passion that have been recreated through the means of these female protagonists.

Dr. Silpi Maitra (Issue Editor) is a former student of English and Foreign Languages University, Shillong campus. She completed her M.Phil. degree in English Literature with a specialisation in Partition Literature from EFLU in 2014. Recently, she has obtained a PhD degree from the Department of Cultural and Creative Studies, North-Eastern Hill University, Shillong. Her PhD thesis is entitled The Jatrapala Tradition of West Bengal: A Study in Theatrical Communication.” She has also worked as a Guest Faculty of English Literature at English and Foreign Languages University, Shillong (2016-2019) and as a Guest faculty of English at Vivekananda College for Women in Kolkata for one year before joining EFLU Shillong as a course instructor in 2016. At present, she is working as an Assistant Professor of English, at Falakata College, Alipurduar, West Bengal. She has to her credit a rich compendium of national and international seminars, conferences, workshops and various research papers which have been published in several books and journals.


For more stories, read Café Dissensus Everyday, the blog of Café Dissensus Magazine.

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