Profile: Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
- June 4, 2021
By Mehar Dhillon
Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni embeds within her work the subtleties and complexities of what it is like to be a woman, or to identify as one, in a patriarchal society. This patriarchal society erases the experiences of women and fills the void with an objectified version of a woman, as constructed by the male gaze. Women no longer remain people, but concepts and fantasies. She deploys her skill as a writer to restore these forgotten female voices.
Illustration: Narendra Pardhi
This prolific writer was born in Kolkata, India. She pursued higher studies in the United States and received a Master’s degree in English from the Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio, and a PhD from the University of California, Berkeley.
Her novel, The Forest of Enchantments, is a retelling of the Ramayana but through the eyes of Sita. The story of Sita has always been a subset of the main story of the male protagonists. Such storytelling makes it impossible to accurately depict and explore Sita’s uniquely female experiences and essentially hides her voice. Divakaruni manages to unearth Sita’s voice and pen it down in The Forest of Enchantments, thus adding more...