ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Articles By Indrani Sen

Resisting Patriarchy

The autobiography, The Memoirs of Haimabati Sen, is valuable for the light it throws on women's lives in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This memoir of an unusual woman maps the nuances, the twists and turns of the immeasurably long journey of a woman in 19th century rural East Bengal from becoming a child-widow at the age of 10 to finally becoming a doctor. It also reveals the complex and contradictory relations within the family, the diverse forms of gendered oppressions, the negotiations and struggles against patriarchal tendencies in society, as well as the contradictions and even compromises within the forms of negotiation.

Inscribing the Rani of Jhansi in Colonial 'Mutiny' Fiction

This paper scrutinises four, little-known, 19th century "Mutiny" novels, illuminating their fascinating diversities, as well as the politics of representation. It reveals how some of these texts cast the rani of Jhansi as cruel and licentious, situating her role in the Rebellion within contemporary colonial stereotypes. However, two unusual novels, Philip Meadows Taylor's Seeta (1872) and Michael White's lesser-known Lachmi Bai, Rani of Jhansi (1901), interestingly enough, drew upon the paradigm of the warrior-woman and projected her as a fearless freedom fighter in a manner that surprisingly fed into later Indian nationalist iconography.

Looking through the Purdah

Purdah: An Anthology by Eunice de Souza; Oxford University Press, New Delhi; 2004; pp 552, Rs 595 (hardback). INDRANI SEN One feature of colonial India was debates pertaining to gendered social practices like child-marriage, polygamy, female infanticide, oppressive high-caste widowhood and purdah. Purdah or female seclusion, observed by upper caste/class Hindus and Muslims was the practice of keeping women hidden behind the veil, away from public gaze. Of course, unlike many other reform issues, purdah could not be addressed through legislation but only through debate and discussion. While progressive Indian and western thinkers urged its gradual removal, conservative sections argued for its continuation. It is against this backdrop of intense and sometimes bitter debate and discussion on purdah in colonial India that one must approach the volume under review.