ECSAS 2023 – Turin 26-29 July

When home is not safe: Indian women writers’ representations of daily violence in the private sphere


Trenda Caroline - Université de Rouen, Geography, Rouen, France


21- Panel Title: Violence against women in South Asian countries


 As violence against women is more and more the centre of attention in India, I would like to explore in this paper the violence lived daily by Indian women in the private sphere through the prism of literature. Literature such as fictions, novels, short stories, are a precious medium to explore a society, giving different points of view, emotions and sensations simultaneously. The corpus is based on novels and short stories edited in the 2000s-10s by Zubaan, a feminist publishing house in Delhi which dedicates its life to the women movements throughout South Asia.

The paper will focus on one space: the home. Women writers have depicted with great details the privacy of the Indian home; its hierarchy; the relations of solidarity or hatred between its members … and the violence inherent to it. I’ll talk about the everyday-violence, from the physical ones to the verbal abuses, focusing on the structure of the house: violence is different in the kitchen or in the bedroom.

When home is not safe; when the family members, including the female ones, are the persecutors, how to endure life? To whom or where to find comfort? Women writers suggest some escape ways.