The short story "Dhowli," is a tragic tale about a woman who puts her trust and faith into a love that is forbidden, and how she is ultimately betrayed by that love. The story demonstrates how some of the choices that she made, and her own selfish pride led to the injustices she received. Misrilal is a young Brahman who is captivated by a young Dusad widow. In the Indian culture, the Brahman caste is one of the highest castes, and the Dusads are one of the lowest. Because of the difference in castes, a relationship between the two is forbidden. Although Misrilal is aware of this, he nonetheless persists in pursuing Dhowli.
Dhowli is tormented with his proclamations of love and wanton lust. She has never experienced such feelings of fear. Fear of the possibility that a Brahman is going to take her virtue, and even more terrifying, the possibility that a Brahman may evoke similar feeling from her. Even though Dhowli is not permitted to engage in the same traditions the other Dusads do, she still longs for them. Alas she is a lowly Dusad widow, an "untouchable," and she knows deep within her soul that she will never experience any of these glorious things again. And even as she realizes this, her mind insists that there is a man, a Brahman, standing before her relentlessly proclaiming his love and desire for her. Despite the knowledge that this can not be and against all that she believes, she finds herself surrendering to her own desires.
This concession leads Dhowli into a whirlwind of love and acceptance that she had never imagined possible. She constantly reminds herself that this dream cannot be. No matter how true their love is, it is still a forbidden love. Misrilal, on the other hand, insists that nothing will tear them apart, and that they will be together despite all odds. When Dhowli finds out that she is pregnant, she is extremely worried, but Misrilal is overjoyed and reassures her. Just when she begins to...
Cited: Devi, Mahasweta. "Dhowli." Other Voices, Other Vistas. Ed. Barbara H.
Solomon. New York: Penguin Group, 1992. 230-57.
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