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From the Seams of History: Essays on Indian Women

From the Seams of History: Essays on Indian Women



  • Dimensions:8.5'X5.5'
  • Edition:2001
  • Author:BHARATI RAY
  • Publisher:Oxford University Press, New Delhi
  • ISBN:0195644387
  • Cover Type:Paperback
  • Number of Pages:305(B & W Illus: 15)
  • About the Book:

    The ten essays in this book are drawn from a wide variety of disciplines and weave a complex pattern of the experience of women in India over the last hundred years. The book departs from traditional historiography which has given inadequate attention to women, and in this sense, From the Seams of History attempts to 'rewrite' history.

    Beginning with the debate on widow remarriage in Bengal and Haryana, the book moves on to examine how the new fashions in clothing of the Bengali 'gentlewomen' in the nineteenth century were tailored according to the values and anxieties of their dominant male counterparts. The argument of male domination is taken further in an essay demonstrating that male oppression of women in Indian society was in fact remarkably similar to that of the colonial masters. One piece describes the condition of the Bengali Muslim bhadramahila ('gentlewomen') and their outstanding contribution to women's education and literary activity. But the following points out that education largely reflected and reinforced the value system of the larger society. Subsequent essays concern the questioning of socially legitimized assumptions about the role of women, organized militancy among the pleasant women of Bihar, and the marginalization of women in the economic sphere.

    About the Author:

    Bharati Ray is a member of the Rajya Sabha, Parliament of India, and has taught history at Calcutta University. She was also Pro-Vice-Chancellor of the University from 1988 to 1995. She has recently co-edited From Independence Towards Freedom.

    Excerpts from Review:

    'Fascinating because of its freshness ...the book is a reader's delight.

    -Business Standard

    '...informative analysis of the evolution of a feminist consciousness in Bengal.'

    -The Hindu

    '...topic is of interest to all ...a good book.'

    -The Telegraph


    Acknowledgement ix
    Notes on Contributors xi
    Introduction 1
    1. Caste, Widow-remarriage and the Reform
    of Popular Culture in Colonial Bengal
    Sekhar Bandyopadhyay
    2. Popular Perceptions of Widow-remarriage
    in Haryana: Past and Present
    Prem Chowdhry
    3. Attired in Virtue: The Discourse on Shame
    (lajja) and Clothing of the Bhadramahila in
    Colonial Bengal
    Himani Bannerji
    4. The Early Muslim Bhadramahila: The Growth
    of Learning and Creativity, 1876 to 1939
    Sonia Nishat Amin
    5. Conformity and Rebellion: Girls' Schools
    in Calcutta
    Raka Ray
    6. The Freedom Movement and Feminist
    Consciousness in Bengal, 1905-1929
    Bharati Ray
    7. Women's Work in Bengal, 1880-1930:
    A Historical Analysis
    Mukul Mukherjee
    8. The Role of Women in Economic Activity:
    A Study of Women in Rice-Farming Systems
    in West Bengal
    Bahnisikha Ghosh
    Index 289
    Illustrations following page 172<1i>
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