One of the main missions of Vaidehi, among the most compelling Kannada women writers of our times is the retrieval of the woman’s voice from the past. That suppressed past which gains a voice in the present, even while it continues to exist in more nuanced textures. Alegalalli Antaranga is a compilation of Vaidehi’s short stories written over the last three decades. In the 80-odd short stories, spread into six collections, Vaidehi steers clear of jingoistic announcements of feminist positions, but presents the perspective of a woman as it affected her, from the politics of everyday life. Therefore, the stories mostly capture the woman’s real world, her real experiences, and the various aspects of self-fashioning, without taking overt, ideological stances. Vaidehi is one of the most unusual voices we have in Kannada today. So unusual that she is among the pioneers who enriched the world of Kannada literature; not only with a forceful picturization of the women of her own community; a village in Dakshina Kannada, but also opened up a new worldview with a refreshingly new spoken language.
December 2006, volume 30, No 12