The Views of Indian Culture Portrayed in A Stench of Kerosene by Amrita Pritam

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The Views of Indian Culture Portrayed in A Stench of Kerosene by Amrita Pritam

'A Stench of Kerosene' written by Amrita Pritam, portrays the consequences of the strong influence of Indian culture in a village, which destroys a couple's marriage. Manak and Guleri have been happily married for eight years.

The story opens to give the reader an insight into Guleri's homesickness. "Whenever Guleri was home-sick she would take her husband, Manak and they would go up to the top of the hill. 'She would see the homes of Chamba (her home village) twinkling in the sunlight and would come back, her heart glowing with pride'. This passage illustrates a happy couple in love, turning to each other for comfort.
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Guleri worked hard and 'went about her daily chores; fed the cattle, cooked food for the parents-in-law and then sat back'. Once a year she would be allowed to attend with some girls who lived nearby her village harvest festival. 'Once every year, there was a harvest festival when the girls would have new clothes made for the occasion. Their duppatas would have been dyed, starched and sprinkled with mica to make them glisten. They would buy glass bangles and silver ear-rings'. It was customary for the girls to prepare for such a valued event in their lives. This shows that the girl's lives are normally bleak and dull. This festive event allows them to experience some of happiness. It was as if they are an untouchable excite of girls experiencing happiness, but only for a 'few days'.

As Guleri had nothing else exciting to look forward to in her life she would 'count the days to the harvest festival'. This was to motivate herself by giving her worth waking up for. Guleri and other woman like her would be expected to carryout their 'daily chores for their mother-in-law as she would be the most dominant of the household'. It is customary in the Indian culture for the son, to live with his mother, even when he is married. In contrast, in the western world where woman are given equal rights compared to men, as they are educated,
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