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Discuss the status of women in Pinjar by Amrita Pritam.

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profria eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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In a patriarchal society, women are symbols of honor and culture. In times of conflict, sexual objectification and exploitation become tools that men use to seek vengeance upon each other. Amrita Pritam’s novel is a tale of the complexities of the human mind. Set against the backdrop of the Partition of India in 1947, Pinjar delineates the predicament of a woman who struggles through the pain of abduction, displacement, and social ostracizing.

Through Puro’s story, the novel discusses different dimensions of violence against women, on physical, mental, religious, and social levels. The title Pinjar (skeleton) portrays the mindset of devaluing women and reducing them to mere objects.

It is heartening to observe the strength and resilience with which the women cope with gendered violence, loss of identity, and a sense of alienation. It is commendable that the women in the story support each other in a spirit of solidarity that cuts across the religious divide.

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Pinjar is such an important novel precisely because of how it conceives of the status of women.  Pritam set out to construct a narrative of Partition from the women's point of view.  This meant that Puro becomes the symbol of what women had to endure during Partition.  In a very powerful way, Pritam argues that the violation of the nation's women on both sides of Partition is akin to how Partition itself violated the nation.  That is to say that Pritam does not see much difference between the Partition's political violation of the homeland and its consequences of actual violation of women.  The status of women in Pinjar is to symbolize how the nation's status was violated during Partition.  As Pritam recognized that Partition was used as a means to manipulate and consolidate political power, she also understood that this was representative of women during the time period.  These women had no say in partition, confirming that their mistreatment was both mirroring and results of Partition:  "Pinjar is the women's cry in prose against her existential fate and social abuse."  It is in this light that Pritam's work displays the status of women as a result of political and social manipulation, a situation that cries out and pleads for dramatic and swift change.

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