Posted: 08 July 2015 at 1:40pm | IP Logged
Originally posted by Star_girl
Ah, the basic dilemma of people reading or viewing Chokher Bali for the first time. Try not to see Binodini in terms of black and white binaries. Try to understand the horrifying system of widowhood and how it murdered a young woman alive.
Binodini is an educated, vivacious, sexual young girl who has no options, no life, nothing to look forward to except for death. She tastes freedom for the first time in Mahendro's house. She realizes that she would have been the rightful mistress of this house. She could have been happy. She could have made Mahendro a much better partner than Ashalata. Instead she is stuck within this empty, hollow nothingness. A barely twenty year old girl deprived of every little pleasure. There is this vivid section on her life in village and the terrible condition for widows. You have to understand the social subtext in order to learn Binodini. She is not known as the finest female character in the history of Bengali literature for nothing. She is complicated and problematic. If you compartmentalize her or attempt to visualize her in a linear way, you will never learn Binodini.
Binodini's subconscious tells her Asha robbed her of the life she deserved. A life of freedom and happiness. Yes, she willingly seduces Mahendro and she deliberately hurts Asha who has only been her friend. But that's who she is. She is problematic. Ironically enough, only when she gets what she wants, she realizes she never wanted it in the first place. Does she love Mahendro? No. She doesn't even like him or respect him. She speaks of the deeper secrets of the primal female mind. It doesn't help if you judge her through standard right-wrong binaries.
Finally, this is also a beautiful story of love, redemption and sexuality. People should not ignore the undertones of sexuality through the book. It's something that defined the book and defines the fundamental feminine soul.
you explained Binodini so beautifully .. true that women like Binodini can not be judged with stereotypical idea of good & bad .. if we can't see the basic factors that creates the complex in one's mind and give our verdict, it will be equal to judge announcing punishment without listening the reasons behind the reaction .. Binodini wasn't one who could bear the pain of widowhood in name of destiny .. she had anger in her. She wanted to prove Mahendro and others that she was the rightful person who could and should control Mahim's life .. there was no love but an effort to prove her worth .. may be she was wrong but that was the only way she found .. Asalata became a victim of situation but Binodini was also the same .. I can sympathize and empathize with both women here