Feminist Review 65 (1):127-144 (2000)

Nineteenth-century Bengal was a period of change, conflict and accommodation both among the bhadralok – literally translated to mean the gentle folk, the middle classes – as well as between them and the British rulers. The world view of the bhadralok and its search for a new paradigm had its material basis in changes in existing land relations, the emergence of the market and of urban spaces as well as the spread of education and literacy. Often changes in familial patterns, new roles for girls and women, their education and introduction to wider society, reflected developments in Britain. As the colonial encounter brought about a range of changes in a rapidly evolving social, economic and geographic scenario, it is important to try and understand inter-personal dynamics and at the level of individual consciousnesses. Women started reflecting and writing about their lives by the middle of the last century; the preferred form was the journal or diary. Several wrote many years later, often in widowhood. Monica Chanda was one such woman: the only daughter of Sarala and J.N. Gupta, a member of the Indian Civil Service, she was persuaded, at the age of 70, to write about her childhood, a period of her life she loved reminiscing about to her children and grandchildren. Life in the districts, her mother's role as civil service wife par excellence, early schooling and its later denial are evocatively sketched in this brief memoir. The present article will deal with constructions of a post-Victorian Indo-Anglian girlhood as perceived by Monica, using extensive quotations from the unpublished text. It will also try to trace the symbiotic relationship with the British Raj – viewed often with mixed feelings by the colonized.
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DOI 10.1080/014177800406976
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Bengali Women.Susan Lewandowski & Manisha Roy - 1977 - Journal of the American Oriental Society 97 (3):411.

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