The figures of women in conflict zones have been presented in South Asian literature chiefly as torn and battered bodies/souls, usually carrying an irremediable suffering and sense of loss that they bear as wives, mothers, and daughters while their male compatriots participate in the zone of war. The twentieth century surge in identity movements and political conflicts in South Asia, however, offers us new figures of women as “warriors” or direct participants in the zones of violence. The usurpation of such new bodies, on the one hand, defies the hegemonic feminization of women’s bodies as caregivers, and on the other hand, initiates the possibility of re-examining the process of feminization where the female body is viewed against the masculine body. The article attempts to study a significant aspect of this shift in identity in the context of the late-twentieth-century Maoist Movement in Nepal. The novels selected for study, Seasons of Flight (2010) and Palpasa Café (2008) by two prominent Nepali writers, Manjushree Thapa and Narayan Wagle respectively, offer an interesting reading of the diverse manifestations of violence and female embodiment at the backdrop of the movement that established a people’s government and claimed to have challenged the existing gender discrimination in Nepalese society. The novels present female characters as both active warriors and those internally stuck owing to the ramifications of war, which leads to an observation of how violence and resistance proliferate at times of crisis. Moreover, Prema and Palpasa, the major characters from the novels, undertake two different journeys to understand and negotiate with the question of identity in times of violence. Prema leaves Nepal to look for a better life in the USA, whereas Palpasa leaves the USA to discover her native land, Nepal. On their journeys to find out more about themselves, these bodies in motion show how women deal with violence.
"Bodies in Transit: Women, War, and Violence in Select Fiction from Nepal,"
Journal of International Women's Studies: Vol. 24:
6, Article 15.
Available at: https://vc.bridgew.edu/jiws/vol24/iss6/15