Friday, 29 June 2012

Why I like Chandara the protagonist in Punishment by Rabindranath Tagore

Chandara is the protagonist in the story “Punishment” written by Rabindranath Tagore. In most of his short stories, dramas and novels, the protagonist is a female character. For instance, Ratan in “The Postmaster”, Nirupama in “Dena Paona”, and Binodini in “Chokher Bali” are a few to name among the most famous protagonists created by the Bard of Bengal. In the story “Punishment”, the plot of the story revolves around Chandara and her intentional acceptance of punishment.

The character of Chandara is an embodiment of self esteem, a true characteristic of human beings. In rural backwaters, women depend on their men in all aspects. They take their duty for husbands and children as the only reason to live on. Unlike those rural women, Chandara is conscious of her existence as an independent being. 

She does not let her husband control her. She does not hesitate to quarrel with husband’s sister-in-law; she does not mind the unjust restrictions imposed on her by her husband; she does not forget her own self in service to her husband and his family. To her utter astonishment, Chandara realizes that she does not mean anything to Chidam, when the latter accuses her of the murder in order to save his elder brother from the clutches of law. 

When the police arrest her and present her in court for trial, she does not beg her husband or the judge for her life. For her self-respect, she chooses death sentence from the judge over the humiliation of being with Chidam who does not value her. She embraces her fate with resilience and in silence. It bears out to her strength of character, an identity of Rabindranath Tagore’s most women characters. This is what makes me like Chandara, the life and soul of the story “Punishment.”            


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