By Simon Brodbeck, Brian Black
The Sanskrit Mahabharata is without doubt one of the most crucial texts to emerge from the Indian cultural culture. At nearly 75,000 verses it's the longest poem on the planet, and all through Indian historical past it's been highly influential in shaping gender and social norms. within the context of historic India, it's the definitive cultural narrative within the development of masculine, female and replacement gender roles. This booklet brings jointly a number of the Most worthy students within the box of Mahabharata stories, in addition to a few of its so much promising younger students. by means of focusing particularly on gender buildings, the most cutting edge points of the Mahabharata are highlighted. when taking account of feminist scholarship, the members see the Mahabharata as offering a chance to border dialogue of gender in literature not only when it comes to the socio-historical roles of fellows and ladies. as a substitute they examine the textual content when it comes to the broader poetic and philosophical probabilities thrown up by means of the semiotics of gendering. therefore, the ebook bridges a niche in text-critical method among the normal philological strategy and newer tendencies in gender and literary thought. Gender and Narrative within the Mahabharata may be liked by means of readers attracted to South Asian reports, Hinduism, non secular reports and gender stories.
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Extra info for Gender and Narrative in the Mahabharata (Routledge Hindu Studies Series)
Treating gender as something to be queried, as an identity that is always fragile and conditional, we hope that we can open up a number of fruitful avenues of exploration into the Maha¯bha¯rata. Gender and narrative One of the reasons why we have chosen to examine gender in conjunction with narrative is to shift focus away from attempts to reconstruct a historical reality. This is not to deny that the Maha¯bha¯rata is historically situated and that its production as a text is indelibly connected to real social and political events that took place in ancient India.
The eﬀect of 12 I N T RO D U C T I O N gender is produced through the stylization of the body and, hence, must be understood as the mundane way in which bodily gestures, movements, and styles of various kinds constitute the illusion of an abiding gendered self. This formulation moves the conception of gender oﬀ the ground of a substantial model of identity to one that requires a conception of gender as a constituted social temporality. (1999: 179) Accordingly, gender is not an essence, nor does it constitute a stable identity.
1999: 80) Indeed, a number of studies of female characters in the Maha¯bha¯rata have assumed the ‘Altekarian paradigm’, reading the depiction of women in the text as chronicling their declining status in ancient India. Pradip Bhattacharya, for example, claims to see ‘an abrupt decline in the status of woman which takes place as Draupadı¯ replaces Kuntı¯ as the central female character in the epic’ (1995: 73). Similarly,37 Nancy Falk has attempted to explain the contrasting behaviours of Draupadı¯, from devoted wife to outspoken critic of her husband, in terms of the chronological layers of the text: The passages about ideal wifehood are probably more recent than the memories of Draupadı¯ herself.