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Manzoor Ahmad Wani


This research paper attempts to explore the novel Difficult Daughters of Manju Kapur published in 1998, which fetched her Commonwealth Prize in Eurasia Section, with the view to study tradition versus modernity. Further the research shows how Manju Kapur depicts the clash between tradition and modernity in her works through her characters and how her debut novel Difficult Daughters discloses life of Indian middle class women who fight for their basic rights for education, search for identity and survival. The novel opens with the honest speech of the narrator, Virmati’s daughter Ida, a childless divorcee, who undertakes a journey to know her mother’s past. The name Ida implies a new state of consciousness, a fresh beginning. Through Ida’s conscious decision to be different from her mother we are introduced to the question of defiance and generation gap. Every new generation seeks to defy its predecessor, and fight against the anxiety of influence, Virmati challenged Kasturi’s ideology, Ida could not accept Virmati’s. Although Virmati’s case may be representative up to a point yet she could not live up to it fully. It is true that she represents the spirit of “New Woman”. The story begins with Ida’s narration about her mother Virmati who has passed away. Ida recalls her mother’s sayings what she had said before her death that there should not be any shor-shaar and her eyes, heart, kidneys and other useful organs should be donated. But here Ida observes all rituals contrary to her mother wish. So, in the beginning of the novel we see conflict of tradition and modernity. Later we see Ida’s relatives at her birth place welcomes her and she tries fully to know every aspect of her mother’s life. Now relatives disclose about the life of Virmati and highlight even the minutest things about her. Virmati, a young woman born in Amritsar into an austere Punjabi family. The family comprises of Lala Diwan Chand who has two sons Suraj Prakash and Chander Prakash. Suraj is married to Kasturi and Chander Prakash is married to Lajwanti. Basically the story is of three generations- Kasturi (the mother of Virmati), Virmati (the main protagonist), and Ida (the daughter of Virmati). The third generation is the protagonist of the novel. So, present research work seeks to study the concerns of Indian middle class women trapped between tradition and modernity. All the protagonists of Manju Kapur’s novels namely, Virmati in Difficult Daughters, Astha in A Married Woman, Nisha in Home, Nina in the Immigrant and Shagun in Custody revolt against tradition and seek to fulfill their desire of freedom following modernity.

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How to Cite
Manzoor Ahmad Wani. (2022). TRADITION VERSUS MODERNITY IN MANJU KAPUR’S DEBUT NOVEL, DIFFICULT DAUGHTERS. Galaxy International Interdisciplinary Research Journal, 10(2), 177–181. Retrieved from


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