Sarojini Sahoo is a remarkable writer of Oriya language. She is known as one of the first ranking feminist writers of India. Known mainly as a fiction writer, she usually writes in Odiya. But on feminist issues she regularly writes essays. She has authored five novels and seven collections of short stories. Translation of her short stories in English, titled Sarojini Sahoo: Short Stories, has been published from Kolkata. She has received quite a few awards like Orissa Sahitya Akademi award, Bhubaneshwar Book fair award, Prajatantra award and few more. Quite a few of her short stories have been translated in Bangla and published from Bangladesh. Sarojini has already been known to readers of Bangladesh.
Sarojini Sahoo’s feminist outlook is quite sharp. She raises the issues differently in her different writings. And such issues are introduced in her creative writings without sullying the art of literature.
The story of ‘The Dark Abode’ seems at the beginning to be a tale of strong love affair which the writer has contrived using the latest technology. The loved one is an Indian who has her husband and child. Her lover is a Pakistani. He too has wife and children. So it is a case of illicit love affair. The lovers have not seen each other. The bridge of communication between them is e-mail.
But this does not suffice to tell the full tale. Different complexity of life as in the novel, tell us of the loneliness of life. The suppressed desire, even while living in a family, sometimes creates a knotty problem in our life. The hero and heroine wished to quench their thirst. Drinking the water they come back to their respective circles for there is no way else than to return. For a human being perpetually revolves round the circle. The two characters in the novel, after many blows and counter blows, decide that they would wait. In this world full of conflict man is always companionless, lonely. In a rarefied courtyard after the festival night he realizes that he is very lonely. Safique the hero, when send email to his lover, Kuki to wait, she thinks, ‘She would wait for his love until her hairs grew grey, until her skin gets slackened. She would sit till her eye sight would fade. She would wait for Safique for an eternity.’
Leaving the family aside, the clash between the individual and the State has become prominent in this novel. The course of life of two different citizens of two States does not give any other solution than waiting. How the State obstructs and suppresses the individual freedom has been shown in the version of Safique, the painter. When he writes letter to Kuki in pseudonym, she understands that ‘It is a ploy to hide his identity from the Military Junta.’ Kuki wrote to Safique, ‘Don’t think that there is any less exercise to cook up history in our India. Here the history changes its narrative with the change of rulers. It becomes difficult to ascertain who is the hero, who the villain. The historical facts read by the father are changed when it is the turn of the son to read it. Can you tell when the history of man will be available to man written impartiality?’ The writer does not rest without telling the tale of the individuals, the State, political tit bits, the behaviour of the military and misrule of the State in her novel. The inner conflict gives the heroine much trouble. Different aspects of the crisis of a woman’s life has been described in this novel. The woman fights with herself.
Kuki’s householder, ‘Aniket disrespectfully addresses her as tui, as and when he is angry. Forgetting the right or wrong he uses slang and abuses her, ‘You hussy, neither does she sleep nor allows others to sleep. She moves round the house like a ghost.’
Along side such abuses Kuki’s confessions are there – ‘yes, she loves Aniket. Without him Kuki's existence is incomplete. Still she waits for Aniket, maintaining his family. The children have not yet learned to walk on their feet. Two more Scenes are yet to be acted in her life. Aniket please come back. You are not Safique to break the card-house; you are Aniket, you should come back.’
This inner conflict is of a family, of a society, of the time. The love of the heroine for her husband, her illicit love for another with promises to wait for him, all these tell us that the name of this novel is ‘The Dark Abode’. The woman is there to drag on this false housewifery. The area which is marked exclusively as belonging to her, the housewife under the patriarchal system, is too easily intruded by many relationships, many attachments. The lady, by using technology and analyzing human behaviour, understands that that area is not exclusively hers. There dwells many maladjustments, many falsehoods.
Not following the traditional paths but by using many incidents, happenings in the contemporary world, Sarojini Sahoo has defined the world of woman in her novel under review. She has shown how the lives of men and women are so disjoined that there remains no place for deep sympathy and steady love.
(The Review of the Book is in Bengali , published in Shamokal a Bengali daily of Bangladesh and reviewed by Ms. Selina Hossain ( email@example.com ), the famous writer of Bangladesh and translated by Aju Mukhopadhyay,(firstname.lastname@example.org ,email@example.com ) who lives in Pondichery, India )
Causes Sarojini Sahoo Supports
Human Rights Commission ,