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

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