In My Hands Today…

Rewriting History: Life and Times of Pandita Ramabai – Uma Chakravarti

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This work outlines the reconstruction of patriarchies in 19th-century Maharashtra through an exploration of the life, work and times of Pambita Ramabai, one of India’s earliest feminists.

It examines the manner in which the colonial state’s new institutional structures, caste contestations, class formation and nationalism transformed and reorganized gender relations.

It also explores the nature of the new agendas being set for women, how theses were received by them and in what ways and to what extent their consent to these reconstructed patriarchies was produced.

The author shows that while many women were ready to act as willing reproducers of caste, class and gender norms, there were others who witheld consent to the dominant model of patriarchy emerging in the 19th-century. She argues that certain processes in 19th-century Maharashtra created the conditions for a sharp critique of patriarchy to emerge