Female Autobiographies

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CHAPTER THREE MAINSTREAM FEMALE AUTOBIOGRAPHIES Introduction: To counter the Orientals discourse, the native intellectuals reformed Hinduism and had a secular attitude towards women. Their reformists and liberal ideas towards women resulted into mainstream women's autobiographies from the early quarter of 20th century Maharashtra. The early women autobiographies are written by the wives or mother or daughters of public figures. Initially, the upper caste women express their devotion/Bhakti towards their husbands through their autobiographies. Still, they challenge religious dominance, patriarchy and gender discrimination through the victim’s perspective. They compose their ‘self’ in these discourses. Ramabai Ranade, the wife of Justice M.…show more content…
These two autobiographies reflect the ideology of two distinct social slabs of the mainstream society. Laxmibai Tilak, a Brahman woman, recollects the memories of her husband in the pre-independent period. She represents the upper caste women and their understandings of female discourse. Sunitabai Shinde, a Maratha caste woman, represents the Non-Brahmans' social scenario after the independence. Though these women belong to different time span and different slabs, their battlefields are same with little distinctions. Their life spans are different but they uphold the similar argument for the religion, caste and gender disparities. They reject patriarchy along with religious identity. But their gender identity becomes the part of their…show more content…
I Follow After, the English translation of the first three parts was first published in 1950. Born into a strict Brahman family, Lakshmibai is married off at the tender age of eleven and plunged into the tyrannical household of her father-in-law. When Lakshmi’s husband converts to Christianity, she is as if widowed. For five years she lives apart from him with her son Dattu. During this period she receives almost daily letters from a husband alternatively loving and angry, threatening one day to divorce her, the next begging her to join him with their child. Her love for Tilak wins at last, and she rejoins him, eventually converting to Christianity herself. This is a lively, eventful story, peopled with interesting characters, not the least of whom is Lakshmi's husband Narayan Waman Tilak. Whimsical and impulsive, he disappears for months at a time, leaving his wife to fend for herself. He is a gifted poet, and instrumental in Lakshmi's own forays into writing poetry. Generous to a fault, he lives the last years of his life as a Christian ascetic, loved- but often cheated- by all with whom he comes into contact.' (Tilak cover
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