Home and the World

Passion drives people everyday. Sometimes people are suddenly attacked by this emotion to where they will do anything to satisfy it. Passion can take someone as far as to killing someone or destroying one’s own life. This tragic result occurs in Home and the World. Trapped by the “purdah”, Bimala has seen little of the world. Oblivious to what is going on politically or socially, Bimala lives her life being a servant to her husband, Nikhil. He decides to release Bimala out into the world, wanting her to place her steadfast worship and allegiance somewhere else. Nikhil then introduces Bimala to the British way of life.

Through Learning mannerisms, reading and writing, and everyday knowledge, Bimala starts to rise up from her domestic existence. At this time Nikhil has a close friend, Sandip, come over and stay with his family. Sandip is a political revolutionary of the “Swadeshi” and dislikes the English ways amongst the Indian people. Sandip’s charisma and passion for stopping English influence sweeps Bimala off her feet. Because Bimala is swept away by passion she creates the circumstances of her tragedy. Nikhil shelters Bimala from the outside world, causing her to be oblivious.

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From an early age Bimala has been sheltered from everything around her. As a woman in India, she is not allowed to live her own life but must live it fully with her husband. Bimala is not given the same rights as a man in any way. Like every girl in India, she is not given the right to become a social impact in her society. Not only is she not able to make an impact but also is oblivious to what is occurring in the government or the society. Bimala states, “Men have their nests in the outside world, they little know the whole of what the household stands for”(25).

Bimala calls anything that is not in the house the “outside world” because she has never seen anything beyond the household. Bimala spends her days praising and being of service to Nikhil, instead of becoming someone for herself. After falling in love with Sandip, Bimala puts her mind to following him. As Nikhil lets Bimala go out into the real world she is engulfed by the passion of Sandip. Not taking a second to think of her own views she falls in love with his beliefs. The passion for Sandip drove Bimala to the point that she was going to follow him physically and mentally.

Bimala had suddenly been attacked by passion and did not listen to others. She says, “As soon as the Swadeshi storm reached my blood [I had to burn all my foreign clothes]”(27). She only listened to Sandip and his extremist views for the Swadeshi movement. Swept away by passion, Bimala steals for Sandip and the “cause”. The passion Bimala has for Sandip drives her to the point of no return. Without even realizing it till later, Bimala states, “The burden of the theft crushed my heart to dust”(144). She steals knowing that she is terribly wrong.

Not only does she steal, but she steals from her husband in order to support the cause. Bimala is so caught up in the passion for Sandip that she steals from loved ones not realizing the severity of this action. Putting Sandip on a pedestal, she becomes enthralled with the Swadeshi and the cause, making it her life. Forgetting everything that is around her, Bimala only has one true focus. The focus is not her life, but the Swadeshi movement and Sandip. Sandip in a sense almost becomes a religious character, praised by Bimala. Bimala does not have any control over her life.

She gives up her life for Sandip and his beliefs. She says, “When I hear Sandip’s words from this boy, I tremble all over”(154). As Bimala becomes entangled with the movement, she becomes more passionate then ever and almost fears for Sandip. The passion sweeps her off her feet leaving her with nothing, not even her life. Bimala is given a rude awakening when Sandip is driven out of the town. In the town many riots break out due to the boycott of English products. As the riots grow to incredible amounts, many of the Muslim people begin to blame Sandip. Shortly after, they throw him out of the town.

Bimala’s leader becomes nothing as he is banished. With Sandip, Bimala’s passion went with him. The passion of Bimala left her knocked down, with no one to help her. Bimala becomes devastated with no passion to consume her. Bimala’s attraction to Sandip was due to his masculinity. As Bimala became obsessed with Sandip she saw something in him that blew her away. Sandip had the passion to be a leader. He was filled with masculinity, which at the time was praised and uplifted. Nikhil had sheltered Bimala her whole life so all she saw was his miniscule amount of masculinity.

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