Author: Mahasweta Devi
Translator(s): Radha Chakravarty
Publisher: Seagull Books
ISBN/UPC (if available): 8170462118
His mother’s gone, there’s no one to cook hot rice when it’s evening…No one to say, Son, sit near my lap and eat.
Ma, from Dusk to Dawn’ is the story of a woman from a nomadic tribe, catapulted by her circumstances into the role of a spiritual mother whose so-called mystical powers depend upon her denial of maternal affection towards her own son during daylight hours. Sindhubala describe the anguish of a childless woman forced to play the role of a semidivine healer called upon to save other people’s offspring. Jamunabati’s Mother offers a stringent critique of a consumerist society indifferent to those on the margins and Giribala presents the plight of a village woman whose daughters are trafficked by their own father, to pay for the house he dreams of building.
The stories in this volume are linked by a common thread: the idea of the mother. They represent a range of responses to the concept of the maternal, exposing how the traditional deification of motherhood in India often conceals a collective exploitation and attempt to restrict women to their socially prescribed roles while denying them the right to articulate their individual needs a desires. At the same time, they also show the strategies evolved by women to survive and circumvent the repression inflicted on them by social norms. The maternal thus emerges as an ambivalent concept, with both restrictive and emancipatory potential.
Introduction: In the Name of the Mother
Ma, from Dusk to Dawn