From Myths to Markets (Essays on Gender)

Item Code: NAI218
Author: Kumkum Sangari and Uma Chakravarti
Publisher: Indian Institute of Advanced Study and Manohar Publishers and Distributors
Language: English
Edition: 2001
ISBN: 8185952604
Pages: 423
Cover: Hardcover
Other Details 9.0 inch x 5.5 inch
Weight 680 gm
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About the book

As the essays in this volume show, feminist writing has opened up ways of questioning and reinterpreting not only social life but also academic disciplines. The essays, themselves drawn from various disciplines and regions, explore epics, oral traditions, folksongs, puranic myths, proverbs. Women’s letters, autobiographies, tribal practices, field-based information and archival sources in new and provocative ways. They bring out a range of patriarchal configurations of social reform, of work and family, the gendering of consumption, the relationship between state formations, caste and class stratification, colonial educational policies, new development paradigms and transformations in gender relations. In the Introduction, the editors locate these essays, not only in wider contexts, both past and present, but, more significantly, within the profounder problematic of patterns of persistence and change within patriarchies on the subcontinent. This as yet under explored Problematic they argue has the capacity to change many conventional notions of periodisation and historical transition.


About the author

Uma Chakravarti teaches history at Miranda House, Delhi University. She has worked on both ancient and modern India, and written on issue of caste, labour and gender. Among her published works are Social Dimensions of Early Buddhism and Rewriting History: The Life and Times of Pandita Ramabai.

Kumkum Sangari teaches English at Indraprastha College, Delhi University, and is at present a fellow at the Centre for Contemporary Studies, Nehru Memorial Museum and Library. She has written on British, American and Indian literature, on critical theory and on gender issues such as labour, law, widow immolation. Among her published and edited works area Politics of the Possible: Essays in Gender, History, Narrative, Colonial English and Recasting Women: Essays in Colonial History: For the past who decades, both Uma Chakravarti and Kumkum Sangari have been active in women’s issues and democratic rights.



This book has grown out a seminar on Women’s Studies held at the Indian Institute of Advanced Study at Shimla in September 1993. It carries many of the papers presented at the seminar but for reasons of space we were unable to include all the presentations, including our own. The volume was delayed for several reasons such as waiting for revisions and attempting to bring the essays in line with the Institute’s style-sheet. Eventually, to avoid further delays, we dropped the bibliography and modifications some of the references supplied still do not contain all the information required and omissions are indicated in square brackets. Needless to say all this also extended our editorial labours. We are grateful to the I.I.A.S., Professor J.S. Grewal and Professor Mrinal Miri and especially to its publishing department and Mr. N.K. Maini for their co-operation.

Diacritical marks have been used throughout in the first four essays on ancient and medieval India but only when needed to maintain the sense of the word or phrase in subsequent essays. As a consequence, there are some variations in spelling too.




Preface vii
Part I  
Decentering a Patriarchal Myth: Bhisham Sahni's Madhavi 3
Pankaj K.Singh and Jaidev  
The King's Household: Structure and Space in the Sastric Tradition 18
Kumkum Roy  
Women and the 'Domestic' in Tamil Folk Songs 39
Vijaya Ramaswamy  
Divine Family and World Maintenance: Ganesa in the Bengal Puranas 56
Kunal Chakrabarti  
Part II  
A Book of Her Own. A Life of Her Own: Autobiography of a Nineteenth 85
Century Women  
Tanika Sarkar  
Realities and Reflections: Personal Narratives of two Women from 125
Nineteenth-century Maharashtra  
Meera Kosambi  
Women's Education in the Madras Presidency: issue of Class 161
and Patriarchy  
Padmini Swaminathan  
Gender and the Logic of Brahminism: Periyar and the Polities 198
of the Female Body  
Part III  
Transitory Residents, Invisible Workers: Rethinking Locality and 237
Incorporation in a Rajasthan Village  
Rajni Palriwala  
Ideology, Culture and Hierarchy: Expenditure consumption 274
Patterns in Rural Households  
Prem Chowdhry  
Gender in Neo-Classical Economics: A Conceptual Overview 312
Ritu Dewan  
Analysing Women's Work Under Patriarchy 321
Nirmala Banerjee  
Part IV  
Patriarchy and State Systems in North-East India: A Historical 341
and Critical Perspective  
Aparna Mahanta  
Women's Empowerment: Paradigms and Paradoxes 368
Jasodhara Bagghi  
Interrogating Psychology: Some Feminist Issues and Implications 380
Notes on Contributors 395

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