CLASS: SYBA DIV: A PAPER III: INDIAN LITERATURE
TEACHER: Ms. S. SINHA
‘THE CASTAWAY’ BY RABINDRANATH TAGORE AND ‘TOUCH-ME-NOT BY ISMAT CHUGHTAI: A COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS.
“Some poisons have no antidote, but are slow, silent, torturous ends that curl up the broken body swept into a cold, dark corner. There she is left to drown in her tears - a dying heart. Abandoned.”
Rabindranath Tagore, in his short story ‘The Castaway’, draws out the underlying theme of abandonment. The boy Nilkanta’s life is chronicled by an overshadowing sense of desertion. Similarly Ismat Chughtai’s ‘Touch-me not’, also follows the helplessness of Bhabijan as she struggles to maintain her societal position amidst her impending abandonment. Although entirely different in narration style, both the stories follow a similar unravelling of emotions. In the stories, the central characters, are given a brief glimpse of a life different from their own, a false sense of hope. This leads them to aspire for an alternate reality, only to see it being snatched away from them. The plight of the central characters at the beginning of the story makes us aware of their predicament. The boy Nilkanta is presumably an orphan, with no worldly connections whatsoever. Thus we can infer that he has faced desertion and loss early on in life. He is inexperienced when it comes to forming relationships with others. Due to the absence of familial, or any form of restraint in his life to this point, he has no notion of obedience to a person in authority. He does what he feels like and then bears the consequences. This becomes clear in the narrator’s reference to the ‘eatings and beatings’ of life and the fact that Nilkanta does not argue or defend himself, rather he accepts the punishment and continues to do as he pleases. Thus his abandonment as a child manifests itself in his non- deferential attitude and lack of respect....
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