Revistes Catalanes amb Accés Obert (RACO)

From Meno-pause to Meno(play) : New Delhi and the Indian Tango

Rohini Bannerjee


Since 1989, Ananda Devi, one of Mauritius' most prolific Francophone writers, has been writing female protagonists who go beyond what Roland Barthes says is the deformed and mythical image of the female, and in the case of Ananda Devi's 2007 novel, Indian Tango, of the aging female. Set in modern New Delhi, a city tugged herself in multiple directions by politics, religion and globalization, we will examine how Subhadra, mother, wife, daughter-in-law and soon to be grandmother, attempts to reclaim her individuality now replaced by the social isolation of menopause, that is, « par la représentation du vide… ». Subhadra exhumes her female body ignored by her husband and shamed by her mother-in-law along the streets of India's capital and consequently undergoes a sexual (re) awakening for which neither she nor her family is prepared. This paper will examine how Devi's female protagonist-outcast uses the sounds and rhythms of the urban complexities of New Delhi to denounce ideologies rooted in patriarchal traditions and restrictions and thus rejecting assumptions menopausal women are asexual and undesirable and consequently underlines how a walk around a New Delhi block in fact (re) defines menopause for Subhadra as a time of liberation and sexual discovery.

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