Deconstructing the Class and Critiquing the ‘Other’ Discourse in Girish Karnad’s Plays

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Girish Karnad’s dramatic themes focus on the basic issues that concern the existential problem of an individual in the postcolonial modern Indian society. Gender and culture are two important social constructs that keep on modifying the existential space of an individual. These various class identities often identify the individual as a marginal ‘other’. This concept of the ‘other’ superficially seems to lie within the class constructs that are governed largely by the concepts of gender and culture. By deconstructing the class constructs we can identify and understand how gender and culture subjugate the individual and make him/her the ‘other’ thus creating subclasses within a class and locating the margin within the centre. Girish …show more content…
Class appears to be a combination of gender and culture constructs that turn out to be the instruments of subjugation that society puts in use to control and modify the existential space of the concerned individual. Gender is a social construct that puts certain norms for man and woman to follow as per their sexes. Gender constructs are associated with the culture and often try to control the female and victimize them in favour of the male. Gender is generally regarded as a cultural construct and is largely influenced by the patriarchal prejudices. Culture, on the other hand, refers to knowledge, experience, beliefs, values, religion, and various other concepts and ideas that are acquired by a group of people through generations by experiences of an individual or a class. Class contains the traits of culture that establishes it, while gender is another product of culture that pervades every class thus re-defining the existential space of the individual. These stereotypical constructs of gender and culture often deform and distort the existential space thus aligning the individual with the margin and making it the ‘other’. The play Yayati talks about the struggle of two women, Sharmishtha and Devayani, who fight to achieve their rights by defying the norms of gender discourse and the cultural tradition thus challenging the dictates of patriarchy and the bloodshot eyes of society. In Hayavadana Padmini craves for a perfect life partner. For achieving

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