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January 08 , 2008

Rewriting History

The Life and Times of Pandita Ramabai


In this classic study of Pandita Ramabai's life, Uma Chakravarti brings to light one of the foremost thinkers of nineteenth-century India and one of its earliest feminists. A scholar and an eloquent speaker, Ramabai was no stranger to controversy. Her critique of Brahminical patriarchy was in sharp contrast to Annie Besant, who championed the cause of Hindu society. And in an act seen by contemporary Hindu society as a betrayal not only of her religion but of her nation, Ramabaiherself a high-caste Hindu widowchose to convert to Christianity. Chakravarti's book stands out as one of the most important critiques of gender and power relations in colonial India, with particular emphasis on issues of class and caste.

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