Androgynous Perspectives in Mumtaz Shahnawaz's The Heart Divided.
This research aims to explore the androgynous perspectives presented by Mumtaz Shahnawaz in The Heart Divided(1957).It encompasses the theme of androgyny with the evolution of female characters in the text. "The term androgyny has its roots in classical mythology and literature. 'Androgyny' comes from the Greek word andros meaning 'man' and gyne meaning 'woman" (Parakash J., 2010, p. 119). Androgyny includes the presence of masculine and feminine, both types of characteristics in one person. These characteristics are based on stereotypical image of genders and become a symbol of recognition of the assigned gender roles as masculine and feminine. The Feminist philosophy focuses on these gender roles and their influence on both genders, "Feminist epistemology and philosophy of science studies the ways in which gender does and ought to influence our conceptions of knowledge, the knowing subject, and practices of inquiry and justification" (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2009).
Fluid androgynous identities carry the characteristics of both males and females and they keep on changing with the environment and situations they meet. According to Lott, "Femininity and masculinity are regarded as dual and distinguishable generalized ways of behaving, and persons are said to vary in the extent to which they manifest each mode and both modes, independently of their sex. Persons who describe themselves in terms of some characteristics judged to be associated with their own gender and some characteristics associated with the other gender are labeled androgynous" ( (Lott, 1981, p. 171).
In the Western literature, the theme of androgyny is treated openly as a multidimensional concept; the Eastern literature carries the same theme within its restricted boundaries. The Heart Divided (1957) by Mumtaz Shahnawaz portrays the Modernist trends through the struggle of independence of the sub-continent from the Britishers. In the aforementioned primary text, both Hindus and Muslims strive hard to get independence from the foreign usurpers which also influences the lives of the individuals to get liberation from the restricted societal norms. The story moves on with the gradual transformation of female characters due to the return of male head of the family after completing foreign education.
With her modern perspective in The Heart Divided (1957), Shahnawaz criticizes the restricted role of females in the Eastern society and its effects on the development of characters. The Western influence and higher education brings a change in the females' perspective. They retaliate to the existing Eastern trends for the females and stand side by side with men in the independence movement. The western feminist wave also influenced the Eastern authors and they generated the characters raising their voice in its favor. In the patriarchal Eastern society, social norms not only suppress female characters but the male characters also display their discomfort and frustration in the fixed traditional system without any ventilator of open-minded traditions. Shahnawaz's male characters are the center of all power and strength. The female characters extract their power from the support provided by the male characters and develop androgynous characteristics.
In the Western literary representation, Plato focused on the concept of androgyny and different Eros in his Symposium. Aristophanes describes the start of human life with the birth of human beings, "the form of each human being as a whole was round, with back and sides forming a circle, but it had four arms and an equal number of legs, and two faces ... there was a single head for both faces, which faced in opposite directions . . . they rolled in a swift circle" (Allen, 1993, p. 130). The physical appearance of human beings and Plato's use of symbol of circle reflects the androgynous circle of life. Plato's focus on androgynous physical appearance of males and females claims their external androgyny which is later reclaimed by the Modernists as internal androgyny through the technique of psychoanalysis. Later due to the disobedience, the gods dissected humans into two pieces, men and women. So "male members became weak and female members became weaker" (Allen, 1993, p. 131).
Since then, the negativity or weakness became an essential element of womanhood.
Plato also emphasized three gender roles assigned to humans and their origins, "male originally was the offspring of the Sun, the female of the Earth, and what has a share of both of the Moon, because the Moon also has a share of both" (Allen, 1993, p. 131). These opposite forces of sun and earth, male and female, work as catalyst for each other, "In early Christianity, good and evil, body and soul, heaven and earth were set against each other and One defined as the ontological and moral basis of the Other" (Farwell, 1975, p. 438). Apparently all these are opposite forces but they are complementary to each other and work as a foil for the accurate definition and a clear understanding of the other which is present on the opposite realm. Traditional Greek distinctiveness has been developed through "binary oppositions, primary ones being Greek/barbarian, then free/slave and male/female" (Stevovic, 2015).
Nevertheless in ancient literature the gender roles are assigned to the power positions instead of a person of specific gender, "For example, femininity is not necessarily attributed to a female, but more often, to the person who is seen as submissive. The same logic is used also for masculinity, but it is attributed to the person in the dominant role. Women who accept the 'masculine' modus of behavior and thinking, and that develops a certain 'male gaze' (in the Lacanian sense), often end up losing their identities as females"(Stevovic, 2015). This also refers to the Eastern symbol of Yin and Yang. "That Taoist symbol reminds us there's a little black in the white. Much of existence resides beyond polarizing opposition - the grey is where many play" (Beres, 2017). The aforementioned symbol reflects the presence of oppositional binaries in our personalities and our transformation into androgynous identities.
The debate on androgynous characteristics grabbed the attention of all the noted scholars, critics and writers. Coleridge claimed, over a century ago, that the "great mind is androgynous" (Farwell, 1975, p. 433). Androgyny remained a debatable topic and also grabbed the attention of the twentieth-century writers. Virginia Woolf worked on the theme of androgyny and made it an epicentral topic in her works. In A Room of One's Own (1929), "she fashioned it into a critical tool that has earned the interest of many modern scholars" (Farwell, 1975, p. 433).
In Pakistani literature in English, The Heart Divided (1957) manifests feminism as its auctorial discourse. Mumtaz Shahnawaz' empathetic attitude towards the Eastern women by raising their stature and giving them knowledge and education, proves her discourse androgynous with a dominance of feminist element. The author, as a feminist, highlights all the Eastern women's issues from domestic domains to their struggle of independence where they participate equally with men. Shahnawaz presents the evolution of female characters, generating masculine characteristics while preserving their own physiognomies.The important aspect of androgyny is that it preserves the essentials of both genders, male and female, and they are not crippled. So in The Heart Divided too both characters male and female transform into androgynous beings with the dominance of sometimes masculine characteristics and sometimes feminine ones. They also appear fluid and not static.
In order to investigate the androgynous discourse of Mumtaz Shahnawaz for the representation of masculine, feminine and feminist gendered discourse I have employed the most relevant authors of feminist literary criticism. I also focused on Elizabeth Grosz' Bodies and Knowledge: Feminism and the Crisis of Reason (1993) to elaborate gender specific icons. Toril Moi differentiates between the three terms: feminine, female and feminist: 'female' is a biological construct and "this label does not say anything at all about the nature of that writing" (Moi, 1989, p. 115). According to her, 'feminist' writing takes "a discernible anti-patriarchal and anti-sexist position" and a 'feminine' writing is one "which seems to be marginalized (repressed, silenced) by the ruling, social / linguistic order" (Moi, 1989, p. 115). Ropers-Huilman and Winters emphasize, "Feminism focuses on injustices as they have historically developed and currently exist in our society" (Ropers- Huilman and Winters, 2011, p. 668).
For Judith Butler, though, even the biological sex is determined. The production of sex is understood as "the effect of the apparatus of cultural construction designated by gender" (Butler, 1990, p. 11). It also proved useful to focus on Luce Irigaray (1985) for the sexual position(ing) of the text and expansion of gender differentiation and gender identities. This research investigated the androgynous discourse of Mumtaz Shahnawaz. In order to describe masculine - feminine stereotypes I have applied the theories of Julia Kristeva (1986) and Donna Haraway (1998) for the gendered discourse and power relationship.
The East, particularly Pakistan has shown restrictions towards LGBTs, Lesbians, gays, bisexuals and trans-genders, and it is in fact a taboo. All other identities as lesbian, gay and bisexual people develop their relationships secretly. Pakistan's Penal Code is a mixture of 1860s Anglo-Saxon Colonial law as well as Islamic law of Zia-ul-Haq's reign, which strictly punishes lesbians, gays and bisexuals. But with all these, there existed no law to benefit trans-genders. In 2009, Supreme Court of Pakistan ruled in favor of the civil rights of transgendered citizens. This law is also developed much after The Heart Divided (Shahnawaz, 1957)so the approach of Mumtaz Shahnawaz to androgyny is only psychological, hidden and not apparent.
In The Heart Divided (Shahnawaz, 1957) three generations appear in which the first plays a major role in the background to maintain its traditional and cultural norms by showing disapproval to the changing trends of society. The second generation has to unwillingly follow the decided norms by the first generation but the third generation particularly females evolve from their submissive, passive status to the commanding and active one. They adopt the masculine characteristics with the feminine ones and transform into androgynous beings.
Sheikh Jamaluddin and Mehrunnissa Begum are the representatives of the second generation. After achieving his higher Western education, Jamaluddin appears open-minded to allow his daughters to participate in certain outdoor activities, which were considered the male domain, whereas his wife Mehrunnissa wants her daughters specially Zohra to be "more lady-like and decorous in her behavior" (Shahnawaz, 1957, p. 1). Shahnawaz highlights the feminine characteristics which are admired and adopted in the East and it is not acceptable to deviate from them. Thornham quotes de Beauvoir's notion of the role of society in 'making' a woman, "One is not born, but rather becomes, a woman,' she writes. 'No biological, psychological, or economic fate determines the figure that the human female presents in society; it is civilization as a whole that produces this creature, intermediate between male and eunuch, which is described as feminine' (Thornham 29).
Mehrunnissa appears as the representative of the patriarchal Eastern society to make her daughters learn to live within the restricted boundaries of the Eastern traditions, "mind you, keep sitting in the car and don't enter into conversation with shop-keepers" (Shahnawaz, 1957, p. 2). In The Heart Divided, "Mehrunnissa Begum is presented as a patriarchal woman, she has already internalized the patriarchy and wants her daughter to be "more lady-like and decorous in her behavior", therefore reinforcing the patriarchy" (Jajja, 2012).
The Heart Divided (1957) captures the time period of strife and turmoil of the independence movement of the sub-continent before 1947 when female characters started evolving themselves through their active participation in the freedom movement and adopted masculine characteristics. "Gendered identities are both chosen and ascribed, yet those identities are constructed within various cultural contexts that define what it means to be women and men" (Winters, 2011, p. 669).
The very first sentence of the text, The Heart Divided, confirms, "In later years, Zohra often wondered when the change in her life began. The change, that had led her, a young Muslim girl, born and bred behind the purdah, to a life of independence and adventure" (Shahnawaz, 1957, p. 1). But the fact is, "Woman is always associated with passivity in philosophy" (Cixous, 1997, p. 64). Zohra gradually gets inclined towards the life of independence and adventure which requires the liberty and courage associated only with male gender.
Bennett quotes Warner and Davis who arealso convinced that "historical periods of terrible strife, bloodshed, and suffering give birth to female warriors" (Bennett, 1993, p. 13). TheHeart Divided depicts the era of the independence movement of the subcontinent, before 1947, where women played their role in the liberation movement in the front lines like men and they gradually developed masculine characteristics which also influenced their personal lives. Previously, the daughters of Jamaluddin were used to of living in a submissive way according to the Eastern societal norms, possessing and demonstrating merely feminine characteristics. Gradually, they start taking the decisions of their lives independently demonstrating the emergence of masculine characteristics. The transformation from submissive to the dominating position and from passive to active brings a positive revolution in their personal lives.
The courage to accept and appreciate the Western manners openly, is absent in the character of Mehrunnissa (wife of Jamaluddin) so she is portrayed by Shahnawaz as "secretly amused"(Shahnawaz, 1957, p. 5) by the Western imported etiquettes. Her character displays more feminine and less masculine characteristics which mirrors the patriarchal Eastern society where women eagerly accept the status of Other. Grosz illustrates the feminine characteristics, "Female characteristics are considered aberrations of the male norm" (Grosz, 1993, p. 203). The perfection, domination, decision power appear as the key features of masculine gender in a male dominant Eastern society where men are free to take decisions of the lives of their subordinated women. The West keeps influencing the opposite realm, the East and Jamaluddin appears as the embodiment of the Western culture due to his foreign qualification," He still had a secret admiration for the West" (Shahnawaz, 1957, p. 5).
Resultantly, in a male dominant society, the feminine characteristics of Mehrunnissa could not create a strong impact on her daughters. Furthermore, the revolutionary environment of the era, before 1947, and the influence of Jamaluddin collectively generated androgynous characteristics in his daughters. Bold decision making and the efforts to possess an independent life appear as the key features of their personalities.
Shahnawaz portrays a specific Eastern living style which was quite common at that time, "two different worlds, one a man's world reflecting in its myriad activities all the rush and turmoil of the world outside, and the other, a serene and sheltered domain, a woman's world where none, but the closest of male relatives, could enter and where clothes and food and children were the chief interest and the main topic of conversation"(Shahnawaz, 1957, p. 10).
This was a common practice which was followed because it was a tradition for generations. The old generation wanted to preserve these norms while the newer ones tried to bring a change in these existing trends,
"Easterners do not have a stable self, they therefore require powerful and assertive authority figures as well as very rigid societal norms and tight social networks that allow them to cope with their uncertainties that arise from their comparative lack of internal control which is often rooted in metaphysical beliefs which frequently arise from irrational worldviews"(Chakkarath, 2010, p. 23).
Zohra, Jamaluddin's second daughter, appears as the most androgynous character. So, I have focused in this research on the evolution of her character. She liked to live a life of her own choice and possessed more masculine traits than the feminine ones. Whenever she looked in her surroundings she always admired those ladies who were confident and authoritative as in the case of Surrayya, "Zohra admired the way in which she walked, erected and self-possessed" (Shahnawaz, 1957, p. 7). Erection is the symbol of masculine power as Schredl quotes Freud, "All elongated objects, such as sticks, tree-trunks and umbrellas (the opening of these last being comparable to an erection) may stand for the male organ - as well as all long, sharp weapons, such as knives, daggers and pikes" (Schredl, 2008, p. 44) .
Zohra not only admired her masculine traits but following her she also wanted to become like her, "She did not wish to appear timid and full of fear before the girls, especially before Surrayya" (Shahnawaz, 1957, p. 9). Zohra was having her own perspective to live her life and she was always dreaming of a life when "she would feel as free as a bird" (Shahnawaz, 1957, p. 9). She wanted to fully enjoy all those pleasures which life may offer to both men and women. "Such diverse pleasures can be experienced, enjoyed even, because one transgresses, moves "out of one's place". For many of us, that movement requires pushing against oppressive boundaries set by race, sex, and class domination" (hooks, 1989, p. 15).
A time comes when Zohra is asked to participate in a college debate competition which is strictly opposed by her grandfather with absolute rejection and scorn,
"Is that what an English education has done to you? ... How dare she have the audacity? We are proud of the seclusion of our women. I warn you Jamal, for some time I have been noticing the fact that your daughters, especially Zohra, are becoming too fond of these new-fangled ways. I will not have any daughter of my house going about in public with her face uncovered. Not as long as I am alive"(Shahnawaz, 1957, p. 73).
But from this incident Zohra learns to say 'no' and she becomes more determined to live her life according to her own choice. "When Bob Marley sings, "We refuse to be what you want us to be, we are what we are, and that's the way it's going to be", that space of refusal, where one can say no to the colonizer, no to the down press or, is located in the margins" (hooks, 1989, p. 19). Zohra also started refusing to all those who ever tried to overpower her.
In the Eastern society, where females were kept secluded, to adopt such masculine traits were never appreciated. This fact is also described by Surrayya when she admits, "Who take to new ways, must pay the price" (Shahnawaz, 1957, p. 14). But Zohra was so quick in adopting the new trends carrying the masculine characteristics which were a taboo for the females in the strict Eastern traditional system. She was "proud and willful and rather spoilt by her father" (Shahnawaz, 1957, p. 15) and was taking advantage of the opportunities which her parents provided her. But she was gradually changing her position. Her mother's slap triggers her reaction and "from being the accused, she became the accuser" (Shahnawaz, 1957, p. 17). Zohra gains power with the passage of time and gradually transforms into androgynous being by adopting the masculine characteristics. She, however, was carrying both characteristics in her personality.
"The validity of one approach is not asserted at the expense of the other; they must both exist in a creative tension for the artist to express the full spectrum of human experience" (Farwell, 1975, p. 445). In the beginning Zohra herself was unaware of this transformation and she did not know where all her decisions and reactions were taking her, "She took her first step towards a free and independent life, but she did not know it then" (Shahnawaz, 1957, p. 17). But later, Zohra's realization of her skills encourages her to take further bold decisions and she becomes fearless. Her gradual transformation exhibits her masculine characteristics and she appears as an androgynous character. Farwell argues, "If one is a man, still the woman part of the brain must have effect; and a woman also must have intercourse with the man in her" (Farwell, 1975, p. 447).
The circumstances, particularly the death of grandfather, made it easier for Zohra to replace her feminine characteristics with the masculine ones. "At last, the purdah was being lifted completely, and through the half-open door, she could see the enchanting vistas of life and was more impatient than ever to step out into the world that called to her" (Shahnawaz, 1957, pp. 180-181). Zohra's adoption of androgynous characteristics and their manifestation is further elaborated by Farwell,
"The mind thus is not forced into a rigid stereotype but is allowed to roam the spectrum of experience and perception. The female side of the soul which has intercourse with the male side will not be boxed in by conventions which force it to respond in only one way; rather, by experiencing that which is opposite but complementary the female side of the soul will be qualified by its complement"(Farwell, 1975, p. 447).
Zohra's active participation in the freedom movement is subdued due the imposed restrictions from her father. Her anxious desire to participate in the freedom movement replaces with her parents' desire to get married and settle down. Zohra articulates her passionate aspiration, "Give me a life of adventure, just sitting at home and looking after babies doesn't appeal to me" (Shahnawaz, 1957, p. 182). Her logical and rational behavior proves the presence of masculine characteristics in her personality.
The transformation in Zohra's behavior created a rift in her relationships with her family members, "She went about the house these days proud and silent. Almost an alien in her own family ... Only her eyes were like storm-clouded skies, flashing with alternative light and shadow and long after the thought of them haunted all who had seen her then" (Shahnawaz, 1957, p. 214). Her description manifests the combination of masculine and feminine characteristics. Rognstad quotes Annis Patt for this dual combination, "androgynies is a delightful interchange between qualities usually set in opposition to one another" (Rognstad, 2012, p. 29). Zohra appears as the most androgynous person in the text. It's not only her description but also her actions which clarify her androgynous transformation.
Her strong protest again the discriminatory behavior with the females of the family appears in the text, "All this humbug about the woman's place being in the home! I tell you, it's getting on my nerves" (Shahnawaz, 1957, p. 239). Gradually she moves towards the rebellion from the existing social norms.
Whenever Zohra faces resistance in participating in social and educational activities, it results in creating violence in her personality, "Anthropology has shown that the social order is sacrificial, but sacrifice orders violence, binds it, tames it. Refusal of the social order exposes one to the risk that the so called good substance, once it is unchained, will explode, without curbs, without law or right, to become an absolute arbitrariness" (Kristeva, 1981, p. 210).
Zohra's efforts and eagerness to participate in outdoor political and educational activities manifests itself at different occasions. So "all the frustrations and longings of a girl behind the purdah, aching to take a citizen's part in the happenings of the world, were poured forth in a voice so full of feeling that all, who heard her, were visibly affected" (Shahnawaz, 1957, p. 243).
Her active participation in the debate competition at college level received a lot of appreciation of the audience but being a part of the Eastern social system where men are masters of the lives of women, her concentration was only on "her father's proud face and her brother's encouraging smile" (Shahnawaz, 1957, p. 243). The approval and admiration from the male members of her family were the actual source of inspiration for her.
"The difficulty presented by this logic of integrating the second sex into a value system experienced as foreign and therefore counter invested is how to avoid the centralization of power, how to detach women from it, and how then to proceed, through their critical, differential, and autonomous interventions, to render decision-making institutions more flexible" (Kristeva, 1981, p. 208).
The efforts had started to give status to women by the male members of Jamaluddin family.
Zohra's efforts soon become successful and she starts getting the admiration of others. And "she was greatly admired both for her beauty and her brain" (Shahnawaz, 1957, p. 253). Zohra's personality displays the possession of both beauty and brain which symbolize feminine and masculine characteristics respectively:
"Men are able to dominate knowledge paradigms because women take on the function of representing the body, the irrational, the natural, or other epistemologically devalued binary terms. By positioning women as the body, they can project themselves and their products as disembodied, pure, and uncontaminated" (Grosz, 1993, p. 209).
The presence of masculine and feminine characteristics in Zohra transform her into androgynous being where sometimes masculine and sometimes feminine characteristics dominate but she appears as Woolf remarked, a "woman-manly or man-womanly" (Woolf, 1929, p. 104). Zohra is proud to claim, "We've done away with all that zenana business" (Shahnawaz, 1957, p. 253). Their family has started accepting masculine ways of living also for the females. But this transformation is sometimes not easily acceptable for the society and they try to find out negative elements in it as Rajindar asks bitterly from Zohra, "Have you become a social butterfly" (Shahnawaz, 1957, p. 255)? Zohra is already aware of these false allegations which always become the fate of women. So in another case she wants her family to realize this reality and standby the side of such suffering women, "But that always happens, it's the woman who suffers! Then it is up to us to stand by our own sex" (Shahnawaz, 1957, p. 276).
Zohra's courage never fades and she always manifests iconoclastic ideas. She expresses her desire to set her career on priority basis instead of getting married, "she was determined to be independent" (Shahnawaz, 1957, p. 309). Her refusal to marry a man of her parents' choice also brings forth her revolutionary step. In Eastern social system the girls had to marry wherever their family decides and it was unspeakable and a taboo to select a person of their own choice. Hooks clarifies the status of woman as, "I am located in the margin. I make a definite distinction between that marginality which is imposed by oppressive structures and that marginality one chooses as site of resistance - as location of radical openness and possibility" (hooks, 1989, p. 21) [sic].
In Eastern literary representations it was considered as madness if a woman starts adopting those traits which are normally practiced by male members of society. But Zohra was not going to step back from what she had decided. The fact proves that "oppression does not necessarily erase all the practices of a culture that precedes it, the traces of the practices that are left do not retain their original meaning but change through their interaction with the practices of the oppressive system" (On, 1993, p. 94).The external pressure of society was making her more firm in taking decisions of her life. The wars in the external environment are not the only cause to transform characters into androgynous beings. It can be a war with the existing traditions and societal norms as in the case of Zohra.
Her feminine characteristics gradually decreased and the masculine traits start overpowering her personality as it is also accepted by her sister, Sughra, "In the case of Zohra, however, she felt that a headstrong girl like her should not be coerced in any way, or the results would be disastrous" (Shahnawaz, 1957, p. 313). Zohra's personality reflects logical, strong and decisive characteristics instead of being emotional, weak or submissive. Zohra's father Sheikh Jamaluddin also realized her determination. In the Eastern patriarchal system she rebels to come out of the confined walls for women by her decision of setting a career. Kristeva rightly argues about the stereotypical Eastern living standards for women, "The exploitation of woman is still too great and the traditional prejudices against them too violent for one to able to envision this phenomenon with sufficient distance" (Kristeva, 1981, p. 209).
It was a time period of agitation and turmoil when both Muslims and Hindus were striving hard for the independence of their homeland. Their efforts also made them realize that independence is also required in their personal lives. Jamaluddin also realized the same efforts of his three children not only at collective level but also at the personal one, "It's a period of transition you know, and it's affecting many households" (Shahnawaz, 1957, p.332).
The independent movement was generating woman warriors, who were fighting not only for freedom of their country but also for personal independence from the masculine dominance and feminine submissiveness, "Outwardly quiet and eventful for the two sisters, but slowly, yet surely, an invisible transformation was taking place and their life was changing with a rapidity that they could not perceive because of the general change and the swift movement of events around them" (Shahnawaz, 1957, p. 333).
Zohra gives another shock to her parents by declaring that she is appointed as a lecturer in her own college. It was again a taboo in the Eastern conservative system that an unmarried girl had to leave her house to earn her livings. Only male members could use their education to earn and not the females.
In the stereotypical Eastern system it is not only one family who influences in taking decision but the whole society is involved. Zohra also looks at others in her surroundings and "to Zohra's surprise her friends and relations took it remarkably well and many of them even complimented her on her brave decision" (Shahnawaz, 1957, p. 336). The transformation which started from Zohra also involves her acquaintances and she starts getting admiration from society. Her courageous step not only brings for her economic stability rather she also uses her skills for the betterment of educational system and young girls' rights. Julia Kristeva describes the Eastern situations,
"This can be clearly seen in the East, where women promoted to decision-making positions suddenly obtain the economic as well as the narcissistic advantages refused them for thousands of years and become the pillars of the existing governments, guardians of the status quo, the most zealous protectors of the established order. This identification by women with the very power structures previously considered as frustrating, oppressive, or inaccessible has often been used in modern times by totalitarian regimes"(Kristeva, 1981, pp. 207-208).
Bravery, courage and determination appear as the basic characteristics of Zohra's personality. She not only took the bold decision but also moved ahead leaving her family behind.
Shahnawaz's portrayal of Jamaluddin's character is symbolic of transformation and he also encourages his children to transform their personalities and also surroundings. The support of male characters inspires female characters to adopt masculine traits and they transform themselves into androgynous beings. Zohra also realizes the fact, without naming it, that she has transformed into androgynous being, "Her girlhood had been strongly influenced by the national movement of 1930 and patriotic fervor had become a part of her being" (Shahnawaz, 1957, p. 436).
This research concludes that in The Heart Divided Mumtaz Shahnawaz successfully presents her androgynous perspective through the evolution of female characters. Her presentation of androgyny is psychological, hidden and not apparent due to the Eastern patriarchal traditional system of 1957. Shahnawaz successfully proves that the transformation of identities into androgynous beings makes it easier for them to move out from the determined boundaries. The stereotypical concept of masculine and feminine potentials cannot fulfill the need of 'great minds' as Coleridge also perceived and they need something more than this. Androgyny helps a person to act according to the need of the situation despite the fact whether masculine characteristics overpower or the feminine one rather they are complementary to each other so they co-exist.
In our society, wherever we find out the examples of androgyny the success level increases and when males and females remain confined to their own shells they become unable to understand the opposite realm and their own understanding of Self remains incomplete.
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|Publication:||Journal of Pakistan Vision|
|Date:||Jun 20, 2019|
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