“Goynar Baksho” or “A box of jewelleries” was or still is one of the most prized possessions of Indian women. In a man’s world being the sole owner of some jewellery was their only strength and point of attention. So this same” box of jewelry was the central character of the Shieshendu Mukhopadhyay novel (later portrayed on screen by Aparna Sen).The story depicted the lives of three women. Pishima (aunt) as per ancient customs was married off at 11 and was widowed at 12. Till the last day of her life she had to perform rigorous Hindu rituals such as wearing a white sari, eating vegetarian and remaining behind the curtain her happiness, wishes, physical and mental necessities was buried under orthodox Hindu customs. All she could boast of was her box of jewellery, for which she believed she was adored at her maternal place.
Next comes Somlata, her nephew’s wife. She was too married at a tender age and later came to know that the source of income of her in law’s household was selling the antiques they could save from their Zamindari lost during the partition. She coaxed her husband to start a business and later joined in, a decision quite rebellious at that time. Though she faced lots of obstacles she finally managed to earn a steady amount of money to run the household.
And finally it was Chaitali, her daughter and a naxalite. She had absolutely no interest in the” yellow metal“ and later handed it over to her fellow comrades. She was an independent young woman, wasn’t really fond of the bourgeois and believed in gender equality and secularism.
“Goynar Baksho” is a beautiful tale about women trying to break the shackles of the so called male dominated society and stepping forward. It emphasizes on their emotions, the bonding they share, their expectations from the other sex and their deepest secrets. To sum it up Anis Nin rightly said:
“I, with a deeper instinct, choose a man who compels my strength, who makes enormous demands on me, who does not doubt my courage, or my toughness, who does not believe me naïve or innocent, who has the courage to treat me like a woman.”