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Bankim is widely regarded as the “father of modern novel in India.

” He was not the first to

write historical and social novels in Bengali, but he established the novel as a major literary
genre in India. Chattopadhyay, following the model of Ishwarchandra Gupta, began his literary
career as a writer of verse. He soon realized, however, that his talents lay in other directions,
and turned to fiction. His first attempt was a novel in Bengali submitted for a contest. He did
not win the prize, and the novelette was never published. His first fiction to appear in print
was Rajmohan's Wife. It was written in English and was probably a translation of the novelette
submitted for the contest. Durgeshnondini, his first Bengali romance and the first-ever novel
in Bengali, was published in 1865.

Bankim can be seen as one of the creators of Indian nationalism, who used devises such
as allegory and personification extensively to convey his ideas. Sri Aurobindo praised Bankim
for trying to create what was nothing short of “a language, a literature and a nation”. He also
claimed that “Bankim will rank among the Makers of Modern India”. Sri Aurobindo claimed
that Bankim not only fashioned a new language which could “combine the strength, dignity
or soft beauty of Sanskrit with the nerve and vigour of the vernacular,” but, what was more
important, practically invented “the religion of patriotism”. Bankim was able to do this by
giving the country “the vision of our Mother”.

Some critics, like Pramathnath Bishi, consider Chattopadhyay as the best novelist in
Bangla literature. They believe that few writers in world literature have excelled in both
philosophy and art as Bankim has done. They argue that in a colonized nation, Bankim could
not overlook politics. He was one of the first intellectuals who wrote in a British colony,
accepting and rejecting the status at the same time. Bishi also rejects the division of Bankim in
to "Bankim the artist" and "Bankim the moralist," saying that Bankim must be read as a whole,
and that the artist in Bankim cannot be understood unless he is understood as a moralist and
vice versa.

Bankim Chandra’s novels are considered exciting to read but structurally faulty. Serial
publication was partly responsible for imperfect integration of the various episodes. Evolution
of plot depends too frequently on chance or supernatural intervention, and characterization is
often subordinated to an overriding didactic purpose. His achievements, however, outweigh
these technical imperfections. To his contemporaries his voice was that of a prophet; his valiant
Hindu heroes aroused their patriotism and pride of race. In
him nationalism and Hinduism merged as one; and his creed was epitomized in
the song “Bande Mātaram” (“Hail to thee, Mother”)—from his novel Ānandamaṭh—which
later became the mantra (“hymn”) and slogan of Hindu India in its struggle for independence.

His first novel was 'Rajmohan's wife', written in English. He did not publish it in his
lifetime because he war not satisfied with it himself. We may call the work a crime story. The
story is eventful and the descriptions move quite fast. Even in this first work he laid stress on
the story element, conflicts of characters, courtship and love and the flow of events. None of
the three principal male characters Rajmohan, Madhab and Mathur and the female character
Matangini, have developed naturally. Yet in this novel, he made the beginning of his
astounding literary career and in this we find the seeds of a great novelist that was to come.

His second novel was 'Durgeshnandini' (1865). The publication of 'Durgeshnandini'

was an epoch making event in the history of Bengali literature. It brought in a new era in
language and ideas in Bengali literature. The denouement of "Durgeshnandini" is quite artistic.
“After finishing it, it will appear that it has not been finished” this opinion of Rabindra Nath
about the ending of a story in perfectly applicable to 'Durgeshnandini' and hence it is quite
successful work, from an artistic point of view.

'Kapalkundala' (1866) is a distinguished work of Bankim Chandra steeped with poetic

virtues. Since the main story is not long enough, the story of Motibibi appear rather irrelevant.
In this novel there is one hero and two heroines and the story relates the love and attraction
between them. No love was lost between the two heroines. Tb secondary heroine wished to
bring harm to the principal one It is a strange and beautiful story. Here the simple, home life
of an ordinary people might have been portrayed. Deep in the forest and away from human
habitation, in the outskirt of Saptagram, in the house of an ordinary Brahman family, the life
story of Kapalkundala with her companion Shyamasundari might have been made quite
exciting and thrilling, but it did not turn out in that way. The intention of the writer was to
arouse a aura of mystery and the marvelous in the mind of the reader. The character of
Nabakumar, the hero in virtually devoid of any personality. In the character of Kapalkundala,
the heroine, we discern the shadow of Shakuntala of Kalidasa. The novel is named after the
name of the heroine. The character of the Kapalik is bright and full of life, but in the end
Bankim Chandra did not do justice to him. Yet after finishing the story the reader has a feel in
that something has remained untold and that makes "Kapalkundala" artistically successful like
his previous novel "Durgeshnandini".

In 1873 Bankim Chandra published his "Jugalanguriya". This is his smallest novel.
Insurmountable obstacles in the way of a child-love and with the help of the magical powers
of a sage, the removal of those obstacles, s the central plot of the story. The story revolves
around a pair of rings, hence the title, "Jugalanguriya" (A pair of rings).

And the other novels are “Chandrashekhar” , "Rajani" , "Anandamath" , "Debi

Chowdhurani", "Sitaram" etc.

He had the gift and the foresight in those times, to envision the Modern India that we
live in today and reveal it to others through his profound and purposeful allegorical writing.
This revelation found its beginnings in Rajmohan’s Wife.

Rajmohan’s Wife is infact argued to be an allegory of modern India, of the kind of

society that can rise out of the debris of an older, broken social order and of the new, albeit
stunted, possibilities available to it under colonialism.

To explicate this allegory, Rajmohan’s Wife provides a backdrop a traditional Indian

society and all its complex ideological, political, social, and cultural aspects. He then places
the protagonist of the story, Matangini, who is the flesh and blood equivalent of Bankim’s
vision of Modern India in her courage, strength, spirit and righteousness, against the limiting,
unjust and socially judgmental society of old India. This contrast beautifully illustrates the
differences between confining, patriarchal Indian society of that day and age and the newly
emergent, liberating Modern Indian society of the kind that Bankim envisions.

Theme of the Novel:

Bankim Chandra’s Rajmohan’s Wife was first Indian English novel in Indian writing.
It is also the first Bengali novel. The novel is first serialized in 1864 but it didn’t appear as a
book until 1935. Rajmohan’s wife has unique theme love romance of the woman protagonist
named Matangini Who is bold, beautiful and passionate woman.

In the first chapter she is shown as a typical woman who is with Kanak her neighbor.
She is feared of getting late, she covered her face with sari, She was so afraid because of without
taking her husband's permission, she went for carrying water. She always afraid of her husband
at this time Bankim Chandra drawn Matangini as a meak,humbie and a typical village woman
who does all household chores. When she stepped outside she is always in veils herself. That
indicates the tradition of the women culture. Matangini follows all social rules, customs and
tradition as a woman of Rajmohan's wife. She loves Madhav her brother-in-law-in-law. She
fully accepted in front of him. She dared to save Madhav from the hand of dacoit. Love can
conquer fear. She pined for Madhav because she loved him very much. The whole novel
revolved around Matangini's wish for Madhav. She endures her husband's torment for going to
meet Madhav at midnight. What a romance through secret journey! It is nothing but love. She
did as much as could Madhav’s life. At last she became bold and fearless and emerged as brave
and independent woman. The novel based on its theme love and romance.

Each character is much more than the portrayal or representation of an individual. That
the characters are individuals cannot be disputed, but their collective features and how these
features reflect the spirit of their age and society will be more important. Viewed in this light,
the characters become embodiments of social conditions and ideological configurations. They
are not merely individual moral agents, but carriers of larger socio-cultural thematic baggage.

The time in which this novel was set in was characterized by its struggle for national
existence which sets culture moving and opens to it the doors of creation. That much of
Bankim’s life and certainly most of his writing was employed in the creation of such a national
culture is now hard to dispute.

At the heart of such a culturalist-allegorical reading of the novel is, of course,

Matangini, the heroine of Rajmohan’s Wife. We see her first in opening pages of the novel as
an eighteen-year old “perfect flower of beauty”.

Matangini’s carefully drawn portrait is a unique contribution of the traditional and the
radically new. It uses several elements from both classical and folk forms. Several of the
images used are taken from long-standing literary conventions. The description of Matangini
may be typical in certain respects, but her actions are not. She’s an entirely new kind of
heroine, someone who is not timid and weak, but strong and spirited. She carries the plot
forward with her own kinetic energy and though thwarted, does not end up entirely defeated.

Matangini is not just Rajmohan’s wife, but the “spirit” or personification of modern
India itself. This is an emergent, hesitant, yet strong-willed and attractive India. It is not the
India of villages or the old India of feudal times. This India has been born near the capital,
Calcutta, and is full of new possibilities. But, this beautiful and powerfully drawn image of
India is also shown as burdened by sorrow and anxiety. It is neither free nor happy, but its
energies and powers are under the control of an unworthy husband. No wonder, the very first
chapter begins with a temptation and a transgression. Matangini, who has been forbidden from
going to fetch water from the river, is cajoled by Kanak into doing so. Matangini, thus, crosses
the threshold, thereby exposing herself to Madhav, her brother-in-law, and setting the plot in
motion. Once Matangini has stepped “over the bar,” she can never return to her “designated
first world” but must make the “irretrievable choice of making the other world [her] permanent
home”. The defining features of modern India are thus its energy, its adventurousness, its
unwillingness to be confined by tradition, and its desire to break free. The restlessness, vitality,
charm, and drive of an emerging society are thus embodied in Matangini.


The next chapter is symmetrical to the first in that it introduces us to two male
characters, one of whom is clearly a foil to the other. The older man, Mathur, is crude, vulgar,
and corpulent. Tall, stout, dark, “he had something positively unattractive about him”. Almost
bald, his fat body oozes out of his Dacca muslin shirt; he has a gold amulet, a gold chain, gold
studs on his shirt, and wears rings on all the fingers of his hands. This is the picture of a corrupt
and unscrupulous man, the villain of the novel. He is described as “an exceedingly apt scholar
in the science of chicane, fraud and torture”. It is not surprising that it is he who wishes to steal
the will from Madhav and who later imprisons Matangini in his cellar, “determined to gratify
at once both revenge and lust”.

The other man, the hero of the novel, is Madhav, “a remarkably handsome young man
of about twenty-two”. Madhav is from Calcutta, an English educated, progressive zamindar, in
total contrast to Mathur. What Madhav lacks, though, is Matangini’s energy and vitality: “His
clear placid complexion had turned a little dull either through want of exercise or too much
comfort”. We will remember that Mathur’s complexion has been described as “dull and dark”
earlier. Thus, both men are dull, a quality which signifies tamas or lethargy, ignorance,
sloth. Matangini, in contrast, is full of lustrous power and charm. Clearly, the shakti or the
energy that both men wish to possess, she is seen as the person who can give value, meaning,
and direction to the lives of these indolent men.

Both Mathur and Madhav represent different kinds of social privilege and prestige.
Bankim is implying that unless the privileged are yoked in the service of society, they lack
direction or purpose. Their lives are wasted in idle self-indulgence, or worse, in wickedness
and fraud. Yet, Bankim is quick to contrast the attitudes of the two cousins to
Matangini. While Mathur regards her merely as a sexual object, a potential conquest, Madhav
admonishes him against prattling about “a respectable woman passing along the road” . Sexual
mores are thus of great importance in the novel; the chaste, the respectable, the self-regulating
are seen as virtuous, while those who are sexually predatory or transgressive are not forgiven.
This is in keeping with Bankim’s larger view of Dharma, but also creates a tension between
the desired and the forbidden.


The latter is described as “the very image of Death” when he is first seen in the
novel. By now, we already know that the marriage is a failure. It is, in fact, clear through the
novel that the two do not seem to have any sexual relations, though Rajmohan is the very
embodiment of jealousy. Rajmohan is shown as a cruel, brutish man of enormous strength but
of a warped moral sense. In chapter three he shouts at his wife, “I’ll kick you to death”. His
utter lack of consideration for Matangini is one aspect of his personality; the other is that he is
willing to rob is own benefactor. Perhaps, it is that ingratitude that decisively turns Matangini
away from him. Rajmohan is frequently angry and abusive with Matangini; there is a deep
frustration in him in not being able to possess what by right is his. He is the unhappy husband
who chafes bitterly at not being worthy of his wife’s acceptance.

Destruction of Old Order: Rise of the Servant Class:

Bangshibadan Ghose, the progenitor of clan to which Mathur and Madhav belong is a
menial servant to begin with. His rise signifies the destruction of the old order of pre-colonial
India and the rise of an intermediate class under colonial rule. The manner of Bangshibadan’s
elevation is typical of Bankim’s narrative strategy. When the zaminder dies, his young wife,
Karunamayee, takes the servant as her lover. Again, the woman becomes the embodiment of
power and wealth; by attaining Karunamayee, Bangshibadan comes to possess the fortune,
which is now in contention. The split in the elite that I mentioned earlier is evident in the
contrary dispositions of two of Bangshibadan’s sons. Ramakanta, the elder son, is industrious
and hardworking, but closed to English education and modernity. His son, Mathur, thus comes
to represent a corrupt and dying tradition. The other son, Ramkanai, though indolent and
extravagant, educates his son Madhav in Calcutta. What is implied is that the rightful heir to
the “e/state” that is India ought to be someone who combines the industry of Ramakanta and
the education of Madhav; only such a person can be the worthy partner of Matangini and
“husband” the modern nation. The third son, Rajgopal, dying childless, has bequeathed his
property to Madhav, the worthier of his two nephews. It is this will, which legalizes the
bequeath, that Mathur is after. If Matangini represents the future of India, Ramgopal’s will
represents its past. Who should inherit the legacy of the past and direct the future of the
country—this is the question at the heart of the novel. Madhav’s offer to help Rajmohan is yet
another instance of the responsible elite trying to fulfil its duties to the underclass, but in this
case, it is Rajmohan who rejects Madhav’s offer. Matangini intervenes to insure that the past
does not entirely miscarry. She saves Madhav, but cannot consummate her love for him. The
ideal combination of the past, present, and future is not to be. But though the experiment fails,
it does highlight some choices before the nation.
Fight for Modern India:

It is clear that Matangini is the object of desire; whoever wins her affection will be the
real winner in the novel. The struggle is for modern India—to whom will it belong? The
contenders are not just the asuric or demonic Mathur and the daivicor angelic Madhav, but the
man who is her husband, Rajmohan.

Domestic Violence and Polygamy:

Novelist depicted the rural rituals and social customs of East-Bengali's life. When
Matangini returned from Matangini’s home a furious husband Rajmohan attacked on her, she
was severely bitten up. She feared of unbearable torment of her husband, even she can't get
stepped outside of home without taking her husband's permission. She was really in
confinement. In the writer's period beating of women was usual in his time. As soon as
Matangini saw her husband she was fearing and trembling of that demon called husband.
Mathur married to Tara, she was affable and nice woman, yet Mathur married another woman
called Champak at that time many man had two wives. That is not big issue in that time. It
caused many problems in their marriage life. So it was in existence in writer side.

Significance of the novel:

Rajmohan's wife is a representation of East-Bengal middle class life. Bankim Chandra

wrote this novel for showing us the description of the 19th century's scenario of the Bengal's
middle class family's story, customs, rituals, superstitions and belief etc. This type of social
novel would surely affects on the various kinds of people of his times. The novel depicts
various aspects of the life. It shows how to behave, talk, live? Sometimes reader feels
themselves in the novel this type of the description, he had depicted in the novel. We find an
early about helplessness and claustrophobia of women in compatible a marriage that was going
to be re current concern of India fiction for many years to come. Bankim within the family
among upper-caste Bengali's in the 19th century. Novelist has focused on woman of courage,
who knows how to resonate, stands, steadily and stern in front of her husband. He showed to
reader that types of people were there in that period of time. Beating of woman, domestic
violence towards women this types of social evils he would like to free from befitting part of
life of the society. Bankim Chandra depicted to show the East-Bengal's life.

Victorian Style & Problems of Language:

It is noticeable that Bankim Chandra followed the style &. pattern of Victorian age
literature. He gave his female characters a unique distinction especially to heroin - A story and
firm characteristics that is purely found any Victorian novel. Matangini is braver than the hero
himself, Madhav, She confessed her love for her sister's husband; surely women are courageous
and determined in Bankim Chandra's novel than men. Most men are corrupt and loose
characters and women are sufferer. Whatever reality Bankim shows and sympathizes with
woman's fate and miseries, he is not bold to give justice to woman but the character of
Matangini stands alone and shines in spite of her disappearance in to cruel fate and even the
attitude of other characters like Kanak and Tara can't be forgotten for its beautiful examples of
early Indian English novel. The problems of language were it seems while Rajmohan was
speaking in the old English. "Deceive me not, canst thou? "Thou", this type of words was not
expected from modern man. In the speech but the novel has substance and it has many more
things to remember of Matangini the heroin of the novel.

Englishness in the Novel:

In Rajmohan's wife: The first Indian English novel written by Bankim Chandra
Chatterjee who has written it in the English language rather than Bengali Language. In
Rajmohan's wife, Madhav got English education in Calcutta city. Some two or three English
books work scattered over the couch and one of them Madhav held in his hand... 'The English
books are obviously signifiers of more civilized way of life.' In most of Bankim's Bangla novels
the English man is either the abductor or the adversary. In Rajmohan's wife the wife man is
described positive and stabilized function. This ambivalence towards English literature and
what it stood for continued through 19th century and later. Meanwhile, the word 'education'
had to come to be synonymous with English education. The study of English literature
comprised a major part.

The mood of the novel changed very fast within the span of its pages.
Domestic disharmony, legal intrigue, criminal conspiracy, passionate but forbidden love is
shifting scenes. Matangini's solitary journey in the dark night through forest, water, storm and
lightning, redolent with literary echoes of Radha'stryst with Krishna in vaishnav poetry when
she braved the elements to meet Krishna secretly. Same way Matangini ran to meet Madhav
secretly for informing him about robbery plan. Where Matangini’s her long hair face to avoid
detection in the moon night. In the rootedness in a recognizable literally culture we catch a
glimpse of what Bankim would be able to achieve when he would no longer be inhibited by
the anxiety of tailoring his sensibility to suit the cloth of English idioms and metaphors.

Bankim Chandra Chatterjee has written this social novel and depicted East-Bengal's
upper caste kulin Brahmins story which has the theme of love and romance thrown light on
women's situation in this social novel.

An Outline of the Novel’s Plot:

The brief description of plot and dramatis personae with intricate relations among them
is as follows. The very first chapter begins with gossip between two women: the older Kanak
and the younger Matangini. The latter is forbidden from going to fetch water from river, but
she has been tempted by Kanak into doing so. No wonder, the opening scene is marked by
desire, temptation and transgression, thereby setting the plot in motion. In the next chapter, we
are introduced to two men: the older man Mathur is crude, vulgar, corrupt, unscrupulous and
turns out to be the villain of the novel. Possessed with a tall, stout, dull and dark complexion,
“he had something positively unattractive about him” . He wears a gold amulet, a thick gold
chain, gold studs on his shirt, and gold rings on all the five fingers of his hands. This is the
picture of a corrupt Mathur whose crudity may be attributed to his half-baked village education.
We are told that his father condemned an English School saying that it was not only useless,
but positively dangerous.
The younger man, Madhav, the hero of the novel, is positively refined as a result of his
English education he received in Calcutta. Madhav’s father was attracted to the city of Calcutta
by its luxury and promises. Madhav took advantage of the city culture and exposed himself to
the new liberal humanist ethos of English education. In total contrast to Mathur, Madhav is a
progressive Zamindar. But he lacks in the vitality and energy represented by Matangini. “His
clear placid complexion had turned a little dull either through want of exercise or too much
comfort” . What is common in both the characters is that they are dull, a quality which signifies
tamas or lethargy, ignorance and sloth. Both at the same time descended from a zamindar
ancestor who appropriated money through dubious means to rise in society.

As the story reveals, the marriage between Rajmohan and Matangini is a failure. We
also come to know that Madhav and Matangini loved each other from their childhood, but they
could not materialize their love. As a matter of fact, her sister, Hemangini, was given the
marriage with Madhav.

Rajmohan is described as “the very image of death” . He is truly an embodiment of

jealousy. He is shown as cruel, brutish man of enormous strength but lacks any moral sense.
He is very unkind and bears inhuman attitude towards his wife. Though poor, Matangini has a
loving heart and brave personality. By the help of her sister, Matangini arranges an employment
for her husband in Madhav’s estate. But the inconsiderate and immoral Rajmohan, along-with-
with a gang of robbers, attempts to rob his own benefactor. It is this ingratitude and unfaithful
personality of Rajmohan, which turns Matangini away from him. As a result there is complete
disruption of family life for both of them.

Matangini has been portrayed as the heroine as the case in Victorian novels. She is
brave and passionate. In one of the many memorable scenes, Matangini takes up an
adventurous journey in the dark-night through forest, water, storm and lightening, which is
comparable to Radha’s tryst with Krisna to meet him secretly. This solitary, heroic journey
signifies two purposes: brave Matangini, very honestly, wants to save Madhav from robbery,
and she also intends to confirm her childhood love for him. Though Matangini fails to her love,
she at last saves Madhav. But after this act, Matangini puts herself in trouble. Apprehending a
death like danger from Rajmohan, Matangini again takes another plight to hide herself from
the wrath of her brutal husband. This time she does not feel confident to go to her sister’s house.
By the help of Kanaka and Suki’s mother, she hides herself in Mathur’s house. For the
convenience of bringing in main plot of the tale, that is legality of land ownership, let’s leave
the fate of Matangini in Mathur’s house for a moment.

The theme of land, ownership and legality of land is at the center of

Bankimchandra’s Rajmohan’s wife. It is necessary to unveil the feudal past in the novel which
controls the narrative and decides the fate of main characters. The Zamindar system which is
inter-woven in the story is as follows. Bangshibadan happens to be the Zamindar of East
Bengal. He inherits his fortune at Radhaganj. He is blessed with three sons. The eldest son,
Ramakanta, is industrious and hardworking. His only son, Mathur, represents a corrupt and
dying tradition. The second son of Bangshibadan, Ramakanai, is indolent and extravagant. His
son Madhav gets right education in Calcutta and aptly proves to be the right heir to the estate
at Radhaganj. Ramgopal, the third son, who died early and childless, bequeaths his property to
Madhav, the worthier of his two nephews. It is this will that Mathur is after. Returning to
Mathur Ghose’s house, where Matangini had taken shelter, it comes to knowledge that the
former had devised all plans to collect the property will from Madhav. The narrative, at this
moment, unfolds the legal intrigue, criminal conspiracy and dark incarceration in dungeons,
which formed a part of colonial life of nineteenth century. Both Matangini and Madhav were
put in dark dungeon by Mathur and they were made to suffer. It is Tara, Mathur’s first wife,
who came in rescue and saved the hero and heroine from the death like situation.

The abrupt ending of the novel informs that Mathur commits suicide in the same
“godown-mahal”, where he has kept Madhav as a prisoner. Matangini was sent to her father’s
house, and there, “she died an early death”. The Sardar of the dacoities successfully escaped.
But Rajmohan and his criminal companion were implicated and ultimately convicted. Tara, the
first and faithful wife of Mathur plays an important role in the novel. She represents the best
of residual culture. It is likely that she will serve a constructive cause in the building of the new

Psychological analysis of characters:

The novel provides detail description of everyday activities during the time of novelist.
Novelist brings the idea regarding suppression of women in the hands of demonic men. In the
beginning he shows devilish character of Rajmohan through the words of Matangini. She is not
allowed to go out of the house and fetch water. Though Matangini has fear, she later vociferates
her need for freedom. Kanak, her friend encourages going and fetching water. On returning to
home her veil is removed due to wind. She requests her friend not to reveal about the removal
of veil to Rajmohan because he will accuse and slap her for such incident. This reminds Jung’s
idea that “ Skepticism and scientific conviction exist in him side by side with old fashioned
prejudices, outdated habits of thought and feeling, obstinate misinterpretation and blind

Matangini returns home and sees Rajmohan waiting in the kitchen for her arrival. He
pours water in the ground which is fetched by her. He scolds her for moving out without his
permission. Matangini replies that she is his wife and needs no one’s permission to do her
activities. She expresses that she has freedom to do whatever she wants. Novelist brings how
women long for freedom in male dominated society “Even when she marries, she will preserve
some illusion of freedom, despite her ostensible act of submission to the archetype of marriage”

Bankim brings the idea of wife as soul supporter to husband through the character
Matangini. She requests Hemangini for Rajmohan’s employment. Madhav, Hema‟s husband
gives respect to his wife’s words and gives the position of Zamindari to Rajmohan. He has
capacity to understand his wife’s feelings. So he is more concerned about his wife’s emotions
and feelings. This shows lovable relationship between them “Man’s knowledge (Logos) then
encounters woman’s relatedness (Eros) and their union is represented as that symbolic ritual of
sacred marriage”. Rajmohan’s intension is also makes a plot to usurp the property document
from Madhav. “As a clinician one encounters a variety of shadow phenomena which include
envy, aggression, greed laziness and jealousy” .

Matangini overhears the plan of Rajmohan and decides to give caution to Madhav so
she starts journey towards his home. She overcomes many hurdles on her way. Dacoits searches
her but she escapes from them in detective way of submerging her body in the pond. She is
also frightened by roaring of wild animals in the forest but she doesn’t gives importance to all
those sounds. Though she is fragile in the beginning of the novel, she losses her feminine nature
to safeguard Madhav. “The concept of animus on other hand is often used to minimize a
woman’s accomplishments-- even by women themselves „she just has good animus‟. Someone
will say meaning that she has lost a lot of her femininity” .She reaches Madhav’s home and
intimates the issue to her sister and servant- maid. They are stunned on hearing the news.
Matangini’s behavior shows her civilized nature. She feels awkward to enter into Madhav’s
bedroom and inform issue so she requests her sister to convey news to him. Madhav is shocked
on hearing the news; he arranges security to safeguard his documents. Though he doesn’t
believe Matangini in the beginning, he accepts her as his saviour after seeing robbers. His
respect towards her words which safeguards his property.

“The guide he mentions is presumably his analyst. Yet he does not see himself as a
patient who is being traced by a doctor but as an important spectator whose opinion is
respected”. Madhav’s knowledge and lack of egoistical attitude makes him to respect the words
of Matangini. Matangini’s departure makes Madhav to think about his love for her in past days.
She returns home and sees Rajmohan is waiting for her. He enquires about her visit to home.
She refuses in the beginning but later accepts courageously that she only informs his plan to
and safeguards him. “He added „did you or did you not go to Madhav Ghose’s home this
night?‟ „Yes I did,‟ she said, suddenly excited beyond herself by the sound of the name, „I did
– to save him from robbery you had planned” . She also advices being a partner in robbery is
illegal according to law and conscience. On hearing such words, Rajmohan tries to kill her. He
is interrupted by dacoit and they accuse him for revealing the plan to Madhav. Rajmohan says
his wife is the reason for collapse in the plan so he wants to kill her wife but they couldn’t find
her in that place. Next day morning Kanak sees Matangini sitting near the pond. She goes and
enquires about reason for her sadness. Matangini narrates all incidents that happened in the
previous day. Kanak as a friend wants to help Matangini so she sends her to Mathur Ghose‟s
home. There everyone invites her except Champak who is the second wife of Mathur.
“Champak liked not that it should be under the auspices of her rival that the stranger should
obtain a footing in household” .Mathur gives more importance to Champak because she
satisfies his sexual desire that shows his lusty behavior. He couldn’t reject her idea about
Matangini’s arrival so he consoles her and exposes his inability to live life without her presence.
This shows a sense of anima in him “So a man who behaves in a very masculine way (his
persona) would have a very feminine anima” .Rajmohan finds his wife and takes her to home

Mathur is a juxtaposition of love and lust. His humanity makes him to allow Matangini
to stay in his home. He understands the situation of homeless woman. Though he is lusty, he
also has some humanity in him. He is an amalgam positive and negative. “They argue naively
that such an assumption implies the existence of two subjects or two personalities within the
same individual” . Meanwhile Madhav thinks about his love affair and cries during night. He
finds someone behind the tree so he moves there. He is hijacked by group of people. Mathur’s
super ego questions him when he kidnapped his brother and Matangini which is seen through
his abnormal behavior. Tara starts to question her husband’s abnormal behavior. Mathur rejects
her question that shows women nature of being soul comforter for her husband, though he has
no love for her. Tara discloses her husband’s attitude of thinking her as an unimportant person
in his life. She gives him hope that she will serve as a soul supporter for all his problems “Tara
might love her husband, she was too pure-minded herself to sympathize with his crooked
policy. Tara felt sorely grieved as well as disappointed”. Her husband doesn’t share anything
to her so she plans to find a problem. She follows her husband and rescues kidnapped Madhav
and Matangini. She reveals truth to the police. They go in search of Mathur but he hangs
himself. Matangini also files complaint about Rajmohan’s partnership in robbery so he is
arrested and thrown into the prison “Since every feeling after attaining a certain strength,
releases physical innervations, thus becoming an affect”. Through these incidents Bankim
proves that women are both physically and psychologically strong. Women serve as negative
energy for men’s illegal activities and prejudiced thoughts. “As a naturalistic writer, Bankim
has put out all the codes and taboos of that society in which he portrays the contemporary life
where characters like Matangini are setting out to challenge the established codes and ethics”.

Through this novel Bankim portrays the nineteenth century Indian society. This novel
also serves as a warning for readers that they must face the punishment when they indulge in
illegal activities. This idea is expressed through death of Mathur and imprisonment of
Rajmohan. He also portrays women as a peak of courage and they are ready to face any obstacle
to safeguard their life and society. “The character of Matangini stands alone and shines in spite
of her disappearance in to cruel fate and even the attitude of other characters like Kanak and
Tara can’t be forgotten its beautiful examples of early Indian English novel”. This novel can
be revised Deconstruction.

Poetic justice in literature, as we know, is the just distribution of rewards and

penalties. A deviation is noticed in the novels which are pictures of the real world where justice
rarely prevails. In Rajmohan’s Wife, we find that the criminals are punished. But the British
legal system is powerless to redeem Matangini. When in the last chapter, all the characters
meet their deserts according to the conventions of British Victorian novels, Matangini poses
an ethical problem for the author. She cannot return to the conjugal space again after dislocation
from Rajmohan through an emotionally sanctioned but socially unforgivable act. Interestingly,
as it turns out, for the author, sending her back to her parent’s house is not a solution. The
novelist tells us that “she died an early death”. With the death of Matangini, our hope to get a
new India is postponed, but not lost altogether. Her union with Madhav is impossible, though
both personally and ideologically, they constitute the basis of the new India, that is to come.

Another interesting observation in the novel we discover is that the colonial power is
seen as benign. The English magistrate, who is explained as the “shrewd and restlessly active
Irishman” delivered justice by punishing Mathur. He could not escape by bribing the police
and finally committed suicide. The novel ends with a note of self-reflexivity by the author, but
with the abrupt ending which seems to be unconvincing at the end: “As to Madhav, Champak
and the rest, some are dead, and the others will die. Throwing this flood of light on their past
and future history, I bid you, good reader, FAREWELL”.

In spite of adverse comments given by critics on the first Indian English novel, writing
it off as “a false start”, or “no sign of genius”, the novel gains “immediate readership” and
elevates the humdrum life of the middle classes to heroic proportions. As Prema Nandakumar
observes, “it transcended the linguistic barrier”.