In their article, “Exploring the Margins of Kotha Culture: Reconstructing a Courtesan’s life in Neelum Saran Gour’s Requiem in Raga Janki,” Chhandita Das and Priyanka Tripathi discuss the invisible challenges in life of a famous courtesan Janki Bai Ilahabadi through close analysis of Neelum Saran Gour’s 2018 novel, Requiem in Raga Janki. In this novel, Janki belongs to the infamous kotha but she never fails to seek her subjectivity. This marginal place of Janaki’s belonging will be discussed by appropriating and the theoretical framework of Indian feminist Lata Singh’s (2007) for whom courtesans have been represented as “‘other’ in history” (1677). Other than Singh, bell hooks’ ‘margin as a space of radical openness’ (Yearning 228), Veena Oldenburg’s spectacular scholarship on courtesans’ in ‘Lifestyle as Resistance’ (1990) will be synthesized to deconstruct the social hierarchy. Although baijis or tawaifs in India possess rich artistic heritage but surprisingly enough they have been often in a questionable space wherein their individual and social integrity has been compromised. Gour attempts to rewrite life of a courtesan from Allahabad and in the process creates an alternative discourse or understanding of a courtesan’s life through Janki, matron, yes! not patron of Indian classical music and tradition.
and Tripathi, Priyanka.
"Exploring the Margins of Kotha Culture : Reconstructing a Courtesan’s life in Neelum Saran Gour’s Requiem in Raga Janki."
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