Psycho-social Aspects of the Non-marital Relationships: A Comparative Study of Rabindranath Tagore’s and Gurdial Singh’s Selected Short Stories

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Mamta, Nakul Kundra


­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­The man-woman relationship is usually seen from the lens of the husband-wife relationship; however, it can have a non-marital side as well, which may be mediated and regulated by love, lust and/or friendship. Both, Rabindranath Tagore, the prominent pre-partition Nobel laureate writer from Bengal and Gurdial Singh, a renowned post-partition Sahitya Academy prize winning writer from Punjab, show a deep understanding of and an intense sensitivity towards various nuances of human relationships; they have delineated some subtleties of cultural, social, and psychological aspects of non-marital relationships between men and women in their short stories. This article focuses on the portrayal of such relationships in some selected short stories by Tagore and Gurdial Singh. Tagore views unrequited love as an ideal, quintessential, and celestial emotion, whereas Gurdial Singh portrays love as a victim of socio-cultural forces and projects it to be neither ideal nor spiritual. Gurdial Singh portrays lust to be a dominating emotion that leads to the exploitation and commodification of women, while Tagore does not let lust prevail against ethics and humanitarian values. Tagore depicts friendship as an idealized relationship with maturity and divinity. Gurdial Singh, on the other hand, touches on the poetic dimension of friendship and eventually shows how such a relationship between a man and a woman is viewed suspiciously in society.

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