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Sensible approach towards societal problems

Sensible approach towards societal problems
Highlights

Dr Malleswari was born in Vempadu village of Pedapadu Mandal in West Godavari district and completed her school education in Kokkirapadu and...

Dr KN Malleswari, a well-known name among the literary circles, recently came out with another book ‘Neela’. Dr Malleswari has five novels, three short story anthologies and five literary essays published till date. Many awards, appreciations and felicitations have been bestowed upon her.

Her writings reflect the North-Andhra people’s way of thinking, their agony and agitation. The new book ‘Neela’ won the Telugu Association of North America (TANA) Award. She received Rangavalli Visishta Kathanika Puraskaram, Vasireddy Sitadevi Memorial Trust Award, Srimati Venkata Subbu Memorial award, Tirupati Kala Puraskar, Anil Award, among others.

As an author Malleswari has taken a different subject that no one has ever tried. It is the storyline of Jute Industry of Eluru city and the living standards, agonies of the mill workers. It is an innovative idea to take the jute industry as the backdrop for the novel and is an adventure in the present scenario as the reading habit in the people is declining.

Dr Malleswari was born in Vempadu village of Pedapadu Mandal in West Godavari district and completed her school education in Kokkirapadu and Pallerlamudi villages.

She completed her degree at St Teresa’s Women’s college in Eluru and done her M Phil on famous writer Kethu Viswanatha Reddy. She completed her doctorate on Volga, a famous feminist writer, under the guidance of Prof. Atthaluri Narasimha Rao.

In an interview of The Hans India, she revealed her thoughts on the new novel Neela that was released in Eluru on January 20.

Excerpts:

What inspired you to write ‘Neela’?
In the society, every structure keeps changing. It may be the man-woman relationship or the relationships in a movement. Or it may be the structure of other basic systems (or fundamental organisations/system). Sometimes the organisations or the associations that we considered most modern get filled with violence, discrimination, uncertainty and inequality with the passage of time for two or three generations and throw challenges before us. I penned this novel impelled by the necessity of putting these organisations to test from time to time. But I am not against these establishments. These organisations are necessary for upholding the democratic ideals. But patriarchy should be stripped out from these organisations.

What is the theme of the novel? And what is its background with regard to place and time?
Broadly speaking, the theme is the live-in relationship (cohabitation). Of a woman, who had made history during the past three decades. When we talk of history, it is as much social as personal. The first test before any novelist is to create an atmosphere around a person. I was born and brought up in coastal Andhra. I got education and employment at north-coastal Andhra. I was married to a person from this place. I had a close relationship with the lifestyles of these two regions. I have reconstructed the lives of the people drawing from the essence of my field trips I made as a sympathiser of social movements, my experiences, the developments that I learnt and the people who taught me. Though I covered the time between 1986 and 2011 in the novel, I chase three decades of the journey of the Telugu women in the background.

In what perspective do the novel view women’s awareness and their movements?
The period preceding anti-liquor movement, the revolutionary struggle, the struggle led by the women workers at jute mill, anti-liquor movement, the changes brought in by microfinance firms and the self-help groups, the movement against the Gangavaram Port construction, the activities of the non-governmental organisations and the growing participation of women in these movements or the struggles women themselves had led appear mainly in the novel. Along with the physical forms of these movements, the subjective sensations of the persons who led the movements appear as multi-layered in the novel. Sometimes these sensations defy human logic or the world outlook that we believe in. By staying tolerant towards them and by incorporating them in the novel without concealing them. The naturalness of human lives could be kept without being badly affected.

Did you do any experiments with regard to the construction of the novel?
Although I could not detail all the experiments in the novel, I would like to tell one experiment that I had done in the matter of women’s characters. I did not intend to see the role of Neela as a protagonist. I only intended to give her the responsibility of holding the central principle and leading it forward in the novel. To achieve this, I superimposed a 10-petalled flower construction on women’s characters. As the character of Neela started at the pedicel of a flower and smelled as fragrant pollen hidden inside the flower. I created the characters of Chandrakala, Aramjyothy, Pastaramma, Sarala, Sampoorna, Vasundhara, Paidamma, Neetha Bai, Ajitha and Mino as the fully opened petals surrounding the pedicel. With the help of these characters with different shades, I was able to set Neela aside from acquiring the superiority that we term as a heroine.

What message does the novel give?
However great the value of a norm (tradition) might appear, we have to put it to test with the passage of time. Mainly the burden of the observation of moral values falls on women. Women should be aware of the feasibility of the observing such values. When they don’t want to follow them, they should have the courage to reject them. Now, women need not wait for the male intellectuals to arrive on the scene and reform them. At the same time, they have to boldly accept the consequences. The fight to get rid of the tradition imposed on them is not merely personal. It should happen at both social and political levels. Because of the different social backgrounds, women are not united as one whole at present. They have to strive hard to solve these differences and grow up as a strong group.

By: Ramachandra Sharma Gundimeda

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