Omar Nazir English language: Diverse cultures and traditions 30/03/01 The sense of culture associated with A Stench of kerosene. “A stench of Kerosene” written by Amrita Pritam, is an influential piece of writing set in India, which portrays the culture and traditions commonly, existing in that country. Guleri is a married woman, that lives with her husband away from her parent’s village in Chamba. “Whenever Guleri was homesick she would take her husband, Manak, and go up to this point. She would see the homes of Chamba twinkling in the sunlight and would come back, her heart glowing with pride.
” This paragraph illustrates the emotions, which are deeply set into her stunted heart as her boundaries are clearly set. This shows the reader that her “heavenly” viewing of the village enlightens not only her heart but also her complete way of life. Only “once every year, after the harvest had been gathered in, Guleri was allowed to spend a few days with her parents”. The sense of culture that is clearly evident from this quote is that her freedom has almost vanished from as her only once every year and only after all the hard work of the harvest collection has been achieved is she allowed home.
“Once every year, there was a harvest festival when the girls would have new clothes made. Their dupattas would be dyed, starched and sprinkled with mica. ” This goes to show the preparations that take place for such a valued event in their lives which conveys the message to the readers that their lives are dull and the future ahead for them is rather bleak. One would assume that her duration of the stay would be of some length but of course realistically it was only to be a ” few days” and even then a man was sent to escort Guleri as if she was a criminal back to what some might say is her cell.
It goes to show the lack of feelings and the desertion of freedom, which commonly exists in this part of the world. Marriage is supposed to be an indication of the maturity that occurs in the person. However, in this part of the world marriage is considered to be something near to slavery. Due to the non-existence of human rights in India, especially if you are a woman, any sort of retaliation expressed as a result of some sort of tragedy they will have to bare the inevitable circumstances, which could be anything from rejection by the family or even physical punishment.
Another reason of the lack of retaliation that exists in this part of the world is simply due to the culture of respect that they hold for their families and if any sort reprisal did exist then the reputation of the person will be destroyed. People in this part of the world especially the ones with a deficiency in education which very much exists in villages like the one Guleri is native to, have few rights and take advantage of by those who employ them as “slaves”. As they are poor if they did show some kind aggression they will have to face up to the consequences, which might include being beaten and losing their job.
As Guleri has nothing to look forward to the only form of happiness or excitement in her life is in the form of the “countdown to the harvest festival. ” This suggest her bleak future and the readers sympathy who feels for her sad existence and for others like her greatly not only in India but in many other parts of the world. All that Guleri ever did for almost everyday of the year were ” her daily chores, she fed the cattle, cook food for her parents-in-law and then sat back to work out how long it would be before someone came to fetch her from her parents’ village”.
Unlike the western world where the women are educated and work for a living, this is totally different in the east as it is the culture for the woman to care for the parents and children and perform the regular household chores. Moreover in Hindu culture a woman is regarded as the property of her father and when married, her “ownership” is transferred to her husband One might say that there is a regular practice of divorce and true love is vastly rare as in western society.
However there is strong culture of love and gratitude between most couples and divorce is somewhat an unpopular choice between couples in this part of the world: ” It was at this fair that Manak had first seen Guleri and they had bartered their hearts to each other. Later, Managing to meet her alone, he remembered taking her hand and telling her, you are like unripe corn- full of milk. ” As Manak and Guleri feel that they are perfect for each other and true love will surely exist between them so therefore Guleri tells Manak “if you want me, go and ask my father for my hand.