In Search of the Feminine: Exploring Female Characters in Early Twentieth Century Gujarati Novels

Shvetal Vyas Pare

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter approaches the question of female perspectives on Gujarat through constructions of femininity in certain early twentieth-century Gujarati texts. It explores certain fictional and non-fictional female characters created by male authors, and the ways in which they perform femininity. Our entry point into this discussion is Lilavati from Lilavati Jivankala (1905), a biography of his daughter by the eminent Gujarati author Govardhanram Madhavram Tripathi. Lilavati shall be juxtaposed with Gunsundari from Tripathi’s magnum opus Saraswatichandra (1887-1901). Contrasted to these two characters are Prasanna, Manjari and Ranak from Kanaiyalal Munshi’s historical trilogy Patan ni Prabhutai (1916), Gujarat no Nath (1917-8) and Rajadhiraj (1922). I would like to open up certain readings of these characters in order to argue that there is no essential grounding within which to locate feminine subjectivity. These performances are contingent and unnatural, in that they are socially and temporally created. Unmasking the inessential nature of feminine subjectivity allows us to look afresh at the ways in which we understand what it means to be a woman.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPerspectives of Female Researchers
Subtitle of host publicationInterdisciplinary Approaches to the Study of Gujarati Identity
EditorsSharmina Mawani, Anjoom A. Mukadam
Place of PublicationBerlin
PublisherLogos Verlag Berlin GmbH
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-8325-9412-1
ISBN (Print)978-3-8325-4124-8
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'In Search of the Feminine: Exploring Female Characters in Early Twentieth Century Gujarati Novels'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this