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Faces of the Feminine: In Ancient, Medieval, and Modern India

Faces of the Feminine: In Ancient, Medieval, and Modern India
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Item Code: IDF951
Author: Edited by: MANDAKRANTA BOSE
Publisher: Oxford University Press, New Delhi
Language: English
Edition: 2002
ISBN: 0195650859
Pages: 371
Cover: Hardcover
Other Details: 9.8" X 6.3"
About the Book:

This book offers a variety of Scholarly studies in the idea, situation, and definition-including the self-definition-of women in Indian society, from the earliest historical period up to the present day. Both in its rage of topics and depth of research, this volume creates a sustained focus that is not presently available in the literature on women in India.

Faces of the Feminine in Ancient, Medieval, and Modern India comprises 25 essays contributed by a diverse mix of Indian, Canadian, American, and British women scholars, most of whom have lives or for extended periods. Arranged chronologically, these groundbreaking essays set aside the myths and prejudices that often clutter discussions about women in India. Part I, which is dedicated to the ancient period, defines women's positions as depicted in texts of sacred law, considers subordinated women in major Hindu epics, describes women's role in ritual and their understanding of religion, and examines the patriarchal organization of women's lives in Buddhism. Part II begins with an essay on Tantra, a major force in medieval India which influenced both Hinduism and Buddhism and placed women at the centre of its sacred rites.

Other essays in Part II look at the life and legends of a medieval woman saint poet, the portrayal of a Hindu goddess in medieval Bengal, and the role of women from Mughal harems in decision making. Part III describes the colonial perception of Indian women in the late nineteenth century and shows how women's perceptions of themselves have been expressed through their art and writing as well as through their political action in the twentieth century.

Providing informed and balanced analysis of extensive primary source material, this book will be an essential resource for students of women's lives in India.

About the Author:

Mandakranta Bose is Director of the Centre for Indian and South Asia Research, and Lecturer in Classical, Near Eastern, and Religious Studies at the University of British Columbia.

CONTENTS
Contributorsxix
Part I:Visions of Virtue3
1A Controversy over a Verse on the Remarriage of Hindu Women Krishna Datta7
2Sati: The Event and the Ideology Mandakranta Bose21
3Satyavati: The Matriarch of the Mahabharata Jayatri Ghosh33
4Usable Women: The Tales of Amba and Madhavi Madhusraba Dasgupta48
5Anasuya: a Pativrata with Panache56
6"The Wildering Gloom": Women's Place in Buddhist History Chapla Verma 69
7The Goddess, Women, and Their Rituals in Hinduism Samjukta Gombrich Gupta87
Part II:Women and Power107
8The Goddess-Woman Equation in Sakta Tantras Madhu Khanna109
9Women's Wealth and Worship: Female patronage of Hinduism, Jainism, and Buddhism in Medieval Tamilnadu
Leslie Orr
10The Goddess-Woman Nexus in Popular Religious Practice:
The Cult of Manasa
Manasi Dasgupta and Mandakranta Bose
11 Mirabai in the Academy and the Politics of Identity Nancy Martin-Kershaw 162
12Candravati Ramayana: Feminizing the Rama-Tale
Nabaneeta Dev Sen
183
13Women Saints in Medieval Maharashtra
Eleanor Zelliot
192
14Powers behind the Throne: Women in Early Mughal Politics
Mriducchanda Palit
201
Part III:Emerging Voices213
15For Our Native Sisters: The Wesleyan Ladies' Auxiliary in India
Sarika P. Bose
219
16Flora Annie Steel: A Voice for Indian Women?
Karyn Huenemann
234
17Exploring Tradition and Change among Women in Marathi Culture
Suma Chitnis
251
18The Construction of Gender in History and Religion: The Sikh Case
Doris R. Jakobsh
270
19 Postcolonial Identity as Feminist Fantasy: A Study of Tamil Women's Short Fiction on Dowry
Matilda Gabrielpillai
287
20Eroticism and the Woman Writer in Bengali Culture
Nabaneeta Dev Sen
297
21Women in Radical Movements in Bengal in the 1940s:
The Story of the Mahila Atmaraksa Samiti
(Women's Self-Defense League)
Tripti Chaudhuri
304
22The Feminist Movement in West Bengal: From the
Eighties to the Nineties
Maitreyi Chatterjee
322
Index335

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