Journal article Open Access

Encountering Women Identity in the Face of Religion: A study of S. L. Bhyrappa's Aavarana: The Veil

Puja Banerjee

This paper seeks to look at S. L. Bhyrappa’s 2014 novel Aavarana: the Veil as a text which problematises
the issue of woman identity vis-à-vis religion. Religion in its institutionalized form has often served as a
site of power and conflict and gender roles have been determined by the religious rituals, practices and
customs ascribed to men and women. Women are born into the religion of the male member, i.e. the
father and after marriage, adapt to the religious practices prevalent in her husband’s family. In the
formation of women identity, religion operates at different subtle levels. Mehrdad Darvishpour in “Islamic
Feminism: compromise or challenge to feminism?” rightly observes: “Generally, religions have a
patriarchal view of the relationship between the genders.” The identity of women is often manipulated by
how they are viewed in religious practices and scriptures What means to be an ideal woman is determined
by her roles in the observance of various religious rituals and customs, irrespective of the religion in
question. Every religion determines certain roles and responsibilities for the women in it to prove
themselves to be conventionally ideal women, displaying unquestionable loyalty to and profound faith in
the religion of her father or husband. This, in a sense, naturalises her inferiority to the male members of
that religion and of the society, in general. In my paper, I will try to show how this vicious connection
between patriarchy and institutionalized religion which tends to stereotype women, operates to
problematise the identity of Lakhsmi alias Razia, the protagonist and how religion turns out to be a tool of
patriarchy to curb her physical, sexual, intellectual and ideological freedom.

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