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-StoriesByRabindranathTagore- DiscussionThread (Page 9)

Neerjaa IF-Sizzlerz
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Posted: 08 July 2015 at 11:35am | IP Logged
Originally posted by chandrima02

Regarding the meaning of "Chokher Baali", I have written this to Vimal w.r.t. his identical question: 
It's an idiom in Bengali language. It means something which hurts your eyes in literal sense (Chokh = Eye, Baali = Sand). The inner meaning is someone who has been an obstacle in one's life, who can't be easily got rid of. An enemy, in a nut shell, whom one hate like anything but can't directly call an enemy and revolt against.


Not only Rabindranath Thakur or Sarat Chandra Chattyopadhyay; almost all the Bengali authors have created very strong women characters in their literary works. Author Jarasandha (real name : Charu Chandra Chakraborty) was a jailer in his real life in British India and almost all his novels are factual accounts of various criminals he has encountered while discharging his duty. Astonishingly, his novels have got female characters, whom the society pinpoints as criminals, who are so so strong and with loads of self-respect. While reading the same you would eventually end up teary-eyed and sympathizing with those so called "criminals"'. You can yourself try "The Voyage" (Paadi), Louhakapat, Tamashi etc., if you get the English translation. "Tamashi" has been immortalized by Bimal Ray through his "Bandini". "Paadi" was also being translated into a movie. You would be able to find the same on YouTube.
Thanks for mentioning other works . Thats why Hindi novel name was Aankh Ki Kirkiri . Bandini movie i have seen ,its beautiful movie . That time we had Bimal  rOY , aSIT SEN AND MANY OTHER directors who turned literature in to movies . 
 

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Posted: 08 July 2015 at 11:44am | IP Logged
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. 


Edited by Star_girl - 08 July 2015 at 11:52am

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Neerjaa IF-Sizzlerz
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Posted: 08 July 2015 at 11:52am | IP Logged
Originally posted by Star_girl

Ah, the basic dilemma for 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


You have rightly analyzed Binodini . One has to first understand the era that from story comes . At very early age were got married and then got widowed at very young age and that time widows life was worse than hell . One has to understand her psyche . Its Bihari Babu she respects and  kind of wary of him as she knows what she was doing . 



Edited by Neerjaa - 08 July 2015 at 11:52am

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Posted: 08 July 2015 at 11:53am | IP Logged
Yes, I've seen all the promos as mom is an avid watcher of about all the shows in that channel ( She's an MA in history LOL ) . 
Very excited for this one to start . From the promos itself it is clear that the very talented director has done everything to bring the essence of that era . 

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Posted: 08 July 2015 at 12:00pm | IP Logged
Originally posted by Neerjaa



You have rightly analyzed Binodini . One has to first understand the era that from story comes . At very early age were got married and then got widowed at very young age and that time widows life was worse than hell . One has to understand her psyche . Its Bihari Babu she respects and  kind of wary of him as she knows what she was doing . 


Oh, she loves Bihari. Bihari was always the one. Since the very beginning. I knew Anurag Basu will explain their relationship which actually creates the secondary love/sexuality struggle for Binodini. People tend to avoid that perspective but Tagore could possibly not have been clearer in his stance regarding the Bihari-Binodini angle. Their relationship consists of some of the most passionate and thought-provoking romantic passages of Tagore. It's just their relationship develops beautifully out of their struggle. 


Edited by Star_girl - 08 July 2015 at 12:00pm

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Posted: 08 July 2015 at 12:29pm | IP Logged
Originally posted by -Crescendo-

Originally posted by chandrima02

@Crescendo, that IS THE crux of the story itself. Binodini was educated, well versed in music, an expert in household work, could communicate in english along with playing chess and was almost of Mahendra's age, in a nut shell she was a very worthy bride for him; whereas Ashalata was nothing compared to her. She was uneducated and very young as per the novel. Yet Mahendra refused to marry Binodini and later went on to marry Ashalata, solely enchanted by her beauty. Binodini took that refusal as an insult to her self-respect. Once she had become a widow and had read Mahendra's letters, she became enraged. She started considering Ashalata as her enemy ("Chokher Baali"), who has usurped what rightfully belonged to her. Mahendra's infatuation towards Ashalata's beauty disappeared into thin air in no time, once he understood that Binodini was more of his type. Poor Ashalata has deliberately been made a scapegoat in this whole sequence of events.
Hmm..true.
I get this now but don't you think it is morally wrong what Binodini is doing..

From a 3rd person's POV she may be wrong but if you try to put yourself in her shoe, she is not. See in Tagore's writing there is NO villain or vamp or "wicked" person .. all are result of individual psyche and situation .. Binodini strongly felt Asalata got everything that was rightfully her .. she felt it was because of her she has lost everything what she deserved ..we who are used to watching B graded TV shows may see an essential vamp in her, but Tagore found the crisis of this young woman who is suffering because of society and a man's whimsical decision .. if someone was responsible for this whole tragedy, it was Mahim only. However, we can't blame him as it was he and his very nature that brought everything upon them and not his intention 

If you talk about morality, morality in Bengali literature and Hindi TV shows are much different .. authors used to go deep in protagonist and antagonist's mind to depict why a person is doing what he/she is doing .. good and bad is not a black and white concept there .. that's why in "Griahadaha" [by SaratChandra Chattopadhay] even after everything he did we feel bad for Suresh, in "Chokher Bali" Binodini is not an evil and in "Nashtaneer" none is characterless 

A few days ago Tom Hiddleston beautifully said "A villain is a hero in his own mind" .. that is the ultimate truth of literary world .. and Binodini is not even a vamp 


Edited by SayaneeH.Lecter - 08 July 2015 at 2:03pm

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Posted: 08 July 2015 at 12:39pm | IP Logged
@Star_girl and Sayanee, you have struck the right chord. Perfect explanations.

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Posted: 08 July 2015 at 12:39pm | IP Logged
^^ Lol yeah. Bengali literature or culture as a whole is quite a bit different from the rest of India. They are significantly more liberal and empowered, hence judging a character from the perspective of the culture of North India may not work in this case. 
Women are treated as sexual and opinionated people in Tagore's works. As people. Not merely as women. People who are just as sexually and romantically inclined as their male counterparts and prone to be conditioned by the society. Women are conditioned by society to view other women as competition, Binodini is no different. Except she doesn't even know what she is fighting for. 
Mahendro is not the one to blame either. He is a slave to his primal being much like most people. His mom's indulgence and obsession gave him this aura of invincibility. It's not entirely his fault either. In Tagore's books, nobody is at fault. There are no villains except for our conditioning and our society. 

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