Returning the ‘gaze’
Colonial encounters in Indian women’s English writings in late nineteenth-century western India
in Gendered transactions
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This chapter presents a scrutiny of the literary works written in English in the late nineteenth century by two educated Indian Christian women of Brahmin origin. These literary works are Ratanbai: A Sketch of a Bombay High Caste Hindu Young Wife written by Shevantibai Nikambe and Saguna: A Story of Native Christian Life written by Krupabai Satthianadhan. The novel by Shevantibai projects the social reform issue of the oppression of high-caste Hindu widows, which had become by the second half of the nineteenth century a widely discussed subject. Colonial India in the late nineteenth century saw the gradual emergence of the first generation of western-educated Indian women. Satthianadhan's Saguna takes a radical stand in its critique of patriarchal practices prevalent in Hindu society. Saguna suggests that Christianity provides a 'modernising' and liberating solution to gender oppression, while at the same time raising questions about the Indian Christian's identity.

Gendered transactions

The white woman in colonial India, c. 1820–1930


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