Parineeta

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Parineeta (Bengali: পরিণীতা Porinita) is a 1914 Bengali language novella written by Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay and is set in Calcutta, India during the early part of the 20th century. It is a novel of social protest which explores issues of that time period related to class and religion. The word Parineeta is translated in English as married woman. The literal meaning comes from Bengali (Sanskrit) word "পরিণয/परिणय/Parinay" - "marriage". Parineeta takes place at the turn of the 20th century during the Bengal Renaissance. The story centers around a poor thirteen-year-old orphan girl, Lalita, who lives with the family of her uncle Gurucharan. Gurucharan has five daughters and the expense of paying for each dowry has impoverished him. He is forced to take a loan from his neighbor, Nabin Roy. Roy's son Shekhar, is a twenty-five-year-old successful lawyer who is close friends with Lalita. While she is infatuated with him, the differences in wealth and class (and later religion) preclude marriage (as Swagato Ganguly states in the introduction to the 2005 English translation, "child marriages were the norm during much of Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay's life time...and did not attract any penalties from the law at the time of Parineeta's publication in 1914", pp.v-vi). Shekhar is nonetheless jealous of Girin, a student who is the uncle of Lalita's friend, Charubala (her mother's cousin). Girin, Charubala and the rest of their family are Brahmos and Girin exerts a great deal of influence over Lalita's family. Girin helps Gurucharan repay the loan to Nabin Roy. He also convinces Gurucharan to convert himself and his family from Hinduism to Brahmoism as it forbade the giving of dowry in a marriage (a move which so enrages Nabin Roy that he builds a wall between the two houses). As a triangle develops between Girin, Shekhar, and Lalita, tragedy ensues in the wake of a number of misunderstandings. Parineeta has been adapted to film a number of times: