About the Book:
Cornelia Sorabji (1866-1854) was a pioneer woman lawyer of Indian whose formative years coincided with high noon of the British Empire. She occupies a significant place in Indian History, as the Played a crucial role in trying to open up to legal profession to women much before they were formally allowed to plead before the courts of law. This detailed biography uses rich and Hitherto unused data to illustrate a remarkable individual who has remained neglected in studies on India's transition to modernity and also in the historiography of women and gender.
A Parsee and daughter of a convert to Christianity, Sorabji was the first woman to study law at Oxford, the second Indian woman barrister, and among the early Indian women barrister, and among the early Indian women to practice at the Calcutta High Court. She was also appointed to a senior office the British Indian government to protect the interests of the purdahnashins, the women in purdah who owned property. Despite her accomplishments, she failed to develop a critique of the Empire, and by opposing Indian nationalist politics in the Gandhian era, she placed herself on the wrong side of history.
With considerable skill and insightful analysis, the author has succeeded in disentangling Cornelia Sorabji form the established stereotypes in nationalist and feminist studies. She also relates Sorabji's life to the complexities of gender issues in colonial India, and raises questions about the significance of her life from the perspective of emancipatory politics of gender.
The book, which recognizes the urgent need to locate gender issues at the intersection of gender, class, and racial politics, will be of use to general as well as specialist readers of women's History and biographical studies. It will also interest those wishing to explore the complex working of colonialism in moulding the lives of the colonized
About the Author:
Suparna Gooptu holds a D.phil. from Oxford University. She is currently Reader and Head of the Department of History, University of Calcutta. She is also the Director of Calcutta University's Gandhian Studies Centre.
|List of Illustrations||ix|
|Cornelia Sorabji's Life at a Glance||xiii|
|Sorabji Family Tree||xx|
|PART: MAKING OF A 'DIFFERENT' INDIAN WOMAN
Formative Years: 1866-89
|The Oxford Days: 1889-93|
|PART II: IN COLONIAL PROFESSIONS
The Roving Practitioner of Law: 1893-1904
|In Colonial Bureaucracy||93|
|At the Calcutta High Court||131|
|PART III: IN SEARCH FOR AN ALTERNATIVE PUBLIC SPACE
The Bengal League of Social Service for Women, Katherine Mayo and Cornelia
|The Political Self||181|