ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Articles by Kathryn HansenSubscribe to Kathryn Hansen

Ritual Enactments in a Hindi 'Mythological'

The performance of the mythological play, Mahabharat, in Hindi in 1913 by a Parsi theatre company marked a significant milestone in many ways. Analysing some of the "ritual enactments" specially introduced in the performance, this article seeks to develop a new understanding of the "mythological" genre. Against the backdrop of communities and identities being "imagined" into existence at the turn of the 20th century, the mythological, i e, Mahabharat, served as a media to re-treat and even reinvent old traditions. Betab, the author of the play, intended to reinterpret the epic within a notion of Hinduism that was again an expression of nationalism. Betab's was an ethically motivated agenda in which the national subject is identified principally with righteous women (Draupadi) and dalits.

Stri Bhumika Female Impersonators and Actresses on the Parsi Stage

Actresses on the Parsi Stage Kathryn Hansen The latter half of the 19th century and the early 20th century was a period of transition when the public image of Indian womanhood was being crafted not only through literature and social experiments but also through the commercial media of the Parsi theatre and silent cinema. Gender and racial masquerades commonly found in these a confusion about the demarcation between male and female and between 'white' and Indian' The female image this presented perpetuated pairiarchal control not only of the material female body but its visual manifestations.

The Virangana in North Indian History

The pattern of women's lives and their orientation to social reality are significantly shaped by the models of womanly conduct set out in stories, legends and songs preserved from the past. The epic heroine type--the sacrificing, chaste loyal wife--is viewed as representing the ideal for female behaviour at least among the high Hindu castes. Hindu mythology also offers another female paradigm--the all-powerful mother goddess. Between these polarities lies an overlooked and yet important alternative paradigm of Indian womanhood: the virangana, the woman who manifests the qualities of virya or heroism. 

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