Identity Crisis: An Analysis of Manju Kapur’s Female Characters in Custody

  • Anita, Dr. Ritu Sharma


Manju Kapur deals with the issues pertaining to women in her novels. As the image of women in Indian English Literature has changed during the last few decades, Manju Kapur has presented her educated andconscious women protagonists in Custody, who are not satisfied with their lives. Education, changing values, economic empowerment, social reforms, inspirational person, are some of the factors which make the women intellectual and ambitious. Such factors inspire the women to live per as their own wish. Shagun and Ishita, the protagonists of the novel,feel that their individuality and identity is restricted by traditional norms and customs.Their family members create obstacles in their way of freedom and individuality, they are oppressed and feel identity crisis. In her novel CustodyManju Kapur delineates the predicament of Shagun and Ishita who are identity conscious feel that their identity is also denied by theirown family members. But, both struggle hard in a traditional society to achieve their ambitions. Shagun’s desire of modeling career is not encouraged before and after marriage. Ishita, the other protagonist of the novel also faces the problems in her married life due to her infertility. As she is rejected by her husband and in-laws, it raises the question of identity in her mind. Ishita creates her own way out to overcome from this situation.The aim of the research paper is to explore the conditions which become hurdle in their progress and identity and how they struggle to achieve their goals.How educated conscious women in Indian traditional society search their own path for identity and empower themselves denouncing the conventional norms of society is also analyzed in the paper.  Manju Kapur has exhibited the reality of Indian society in Custody, where a woman is considered only a caretaker of children, husband and family. She is not treated as human being but only a procreating machine. Nobody thinks about her desires. But modern women, Shagun and Ishita defy the norms of society to achieve their own identity and empower themselves.