Here in this particular novel The Blue-necked God Dr.Indira Goswami vividly depicts the landscape, people, myths and legends of Brindavan. There are also numerous references to the world that shows a conscious ecofeministic sense of the writer. Like Goswami’s many other writings, this novel can also be studied from the ecofeministic ideas. The novel has numerous references to the events and incidents where nature and women became synonymous. Goswami’s treatment of the life of widowed radheshyamis heightens the note of ecofeminism in the novel. Goswami consciously uses their life as an important theme in this novel and it draws my attention to study it from an ecofeministic perspective. If the widows of Braj are compared with Nature, then in many situations they become equivalent to each other.
From the beginning of the novel, Goswami talks about exploitation of women, through the widows of Brindavan, which is suggestive of the violation of the natural order. The poverty of widows are beautifully presented in the novel who were abandoned to die there because their families did not want to have anything to do with them. The treatment of the society towards the widows and their use of languages towards them are very much suggestive of the plight of women and consequently, Nature in an essentially male-dominated society. In the selected novel itself, the author carefully describes such various incidents. One of such incident is when:
“the panda throwing the dead woman’s things around, looking through them…. the man started poking about the dead body. Who knew perhaps the old woman had hidden away gold or silver coins on her person.”…(P: 14, Line: 2-9)
The lines quoted above picturizes the miserable condition of the radheshyamis of Brindavan. It describes how the women of Braj are tremendously exploited by the greedy paanda who goes on even to rob the possessions of the dead old woman during the time of her cremation. From ecological perspective, this operation held by men upon women can also be considered as exploitation of men upon Nature. For instance, we can take the example of deforestation where men persistently cut down the forest without being conscious of the baldness created by them in the ecological world.
There are other such incidents where the women are tortured both physically and mentally, suggesting how vulnerable position a woman holds in a society. This vulnerability can be explained by citing the very incident where the radheshyamis out of hunger and shelter were forced to trade themselves to the young men, and the men instead of helping the radheshyamis took the opportunity of their feebleness. If we study it from the ecofeministic point of view then here we can interpret the radheshyamis as equal to nature because like those radheshyamis who were silent even after they were stripped off, the nature too, is silent even after she is repeatedly uprooted and axed off by men for their own interests.
“Like butchers examining animals before buying them, the young men would make these young widows strip off their clothes in order to examine their bodies thoroughly and make sure that they were without any blemishes.” —— (P: 8, L: 4-8)
“The accountant got so fat on the radheshyamis’ money, that he cannot get up now”…(P: 21, Line: 21-22).
This has been reported by the radheshyamis themselves. Through this line they try to explain the reason for their dilapidated condition. This line also suggests the exploitation done to the natural world by men where the men continuously rob the natural resources by destroying the beautiful world of Nature.
In the novel, the phrases like “Radharani Ki Jai”, “Jai Yamunaji Jai”, etc. has been repeated recurrently. Through these phrases, the author tries to reflect the hypocritical nature of the society where on the one hand, the women are worshipped in the form of Radharani or Yamunaji and parallelly on the other hand, in the name of Religion, the same women are mistreated by the society. Symbolically, also the word ‘radheshyamis’ titled to the devadashis of Braj seems to give them a respectable position in the society but actually in the name of religion they are repeatedly demoralized.
If we study these violations from the ecological perspective, then these violations against women can also be seen as violence against nature. In India, women are considered as the personification of nature. According to the Hindu legends, the men are purush and the rest is Prakriti (Nature) i.e., women are Prakriti. This has also been articulately remarked by the author herself in the novel:
“The one and only purush in Braj was the flute playing Lord Sri Krishna. All else was prakriti”…(P: 109, Line: 20-22).
Thus, the legends or the Religion makes the women simultaneous with nature. But the same religion, which on the one hand shows off as providing an upright position for women in the society, it immediately on the other hand goes on to exploit the women from behind.
There is another instance mentioned in the novel where the radheshyamis were forced to cut off their locks. This can be taken as one such point where the nature and the radheshyamis clearly become tantamount in the sense that, like those defenseless radheshyamis, the Nature too is defenseless to prevent herself from the sadistic acts of men where she is repeatedly destroyed and deforested.
Like women who silently always accept the violation against them, Nature, too, silently bear the abuse held upon her by the people. Nature, like a woman, also plays various roles throughout our life. Like a selfless mother, she nurtures us, protects us, gives us shelter and provides us mental gratification. But, parallel, the men for there own personal interests and satisfaction disturbs as well as destroys the nature and its serenity and thus generating an imbalance in the natural order. According to ecofeminists, this imbalance can only be balanced when the balance from all three aspects remain in uniform.
Thus, in the novel The Blue-necked God, Dr. Goswami’s concern and awareness for preserving and protecting the ecology of the planet, indirectly taking women as representative of Nature is well reflected. Goswami by using the myths and legends and with the power of her mesmerizing language recreates an atmosphere of ecofeministic mysticism in this novel.