Reinvigorating Memories, Cultural Attitudes and the Practice of Mothering : A Reading of Jerry Pinto’s Em and the Big Hoom through the Gender Lens.

Representations have the power to influence cultures and shape our imaginations accordingly. Over the years, representations pertaining to the domain of motherhood in India, have made us believe in the self – negating, sacrificing and giving nature of mothers. Experiential aspects of being a mother have been neglected for long and it has now become crucial to address those concerns along with the gendered expectations embroiled within the practice of mothering.

This research article makes an attempt to analyze how the recognition of the experiential aspects of being a mother is important along with the multidimensional understanding of the practice of mothering and disability. The present study highlights the need for construction of empathetic spaces to facilitate the growth and nurturance aspect of mothers.

Keywords – Mothering, Gender, Disability, Empathetic spaces.

The biological aspect of giving birth to a child by a woman, is made so synonyms with the overall ethics of care and the necessary investments required of them in the proper growth process of a child, that the difference between the two is hardly reflected upon. Moreover, association of sacrificing, self – negating and guilt inducing aspects with the practice of mothering, do not leave much scope for understanding that this practice has eventually become highly gendered. Researchers associated with the maternal feminist scholarship across the globe, have realized how cautiously this paradigm needs to be dealt with, as both the “enabling” aspects of being a mother and the “constraining” aspects are embedded within the same relationship (qtd. in Interrogating Motherhood xii). In the words of Jasodhara Bagchi – “placing motherhood under the gender lens may look like a harsh rejection of elements of human nature that are dear to …

Gurpreet Kaur Saini, Assistant Professor, Department of English, Sri Guru Nanak Dev Khalsa College, University of Delhi, New Delhi-110005

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