Friday, September 12, 2008

Lalitambika Antarjanam

Lalitambika Antarjanam (b. 1909, Kottarakara, Kerala - d.1987), is an author in Malayalam. She was born to a literary family - both her parents were poets - but she herself had little formal education. In 1927, she was married to Narayanan Nambudiri. She became a political activist and a social reformer, participating in the Indian National Congress and later with the Kerala Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPI-M). Her published oeuvre consists of nine volumes of short stories, six collections of poems, two books for children, and a novel, Agnisakshi (1980) whih won the Kerala Sahitya Akademi Award for the best literary work of that year.

Her writing reflects a sensitivity to the women's role in society, and the tension between the woman as a centre for bonding and the woman as an individual. She was concerned particularly the nature of the sexual contract. In her story Revenge Herself (English translation anthologized in The Inner Courtyard, she highlights the moral and sexual choices faced by uppercaste Nambudiri women, who were secluded in the inner house, through the story of the "fallen woman" Tatri. This is especially sensitive in Kerala, where Nayar women are relatively free sexual lives in their matriarchal culture. In her story Mulappalinte Manam she highlights the woman's role as the central cohesive force in society, and she supports artificial birth control, so long as it does not contradict this basic womanly qualities of healing the schisms opened up by individualism

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