This book chronicles travel writings of Bengali women in colonial India and explores the intersections of power, indigeneity, and the representations of the ‘self’ and the ‘other’ in these writings. It documents the transgressive histories of these women who stepped out to create emancipatory identities for themselves.
The book brings together a selection of travelogues from various Bengali women and their journeys to the West, the Aryavarta, and Japan. These writings challenge stereotypes of the 'circumscribed native woman’ and explore the complex personal and socio-political histories of women in colonial India. Reading these from a feminist, postcolonial perspective, the volume highlights how these women from different castes, class and ages confront the changing realities of their lives in colonial India in the backdrop of the independence movement and the second world war. The author draws attention to the personal histories of these women, which informed their views on education, womanhood, marriage, female autonomy, family, and politics in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Engaging and insightful, this volume will be of interest to students and researchers of literature and history, gender and culture studies, and for general readers interested in women and travel writing.
Table of Contents
List of Maps. Foreword. Preface. Acknowledgements. Section I: Westward Travels 1. Sunity Devee 2. Krishnabhabini Das 3. Jagatmohini Chaudhuri 4. Abala Bose 5. Durgabati Ghose Section II: Travels in Aryavarta 6. Prasannamayee Devi 7. Nanibala Ghosh 8. Hemlata Devi 9. Subodhkumari Majumdar 10. Shanta Devi Section III: Japan as a Site of Travel 11. Hariprabha Takeda 12. Abala Bose 13. Saroj Nalini Dutt 14. Charubala Mitra 15. Shanta Devi. Conclusion Bibliography. Index.
Jayati Gupta has spent her career teaching in Departments of English at the erstwhile Presidency College, Lady Brabourne College, University of Calcutta, and West Bengal State University among others. She was awarded the Tagore National Fellowship for Cultural Research (2015–2017) by the Ministry of Culture, Government of India. She is currently Visiting Professor at Adamas University, Kolkata.
Her recent publications include ‘An Interview with Kalyani Thakur Charal’ and ‘The Aesthetics of Dalit Literature: a Case Study’ in Dalit Text: Aesthetics and Politics Re-imagined, and ‘Creating Spaces and Identities: a Hundred Years of American Travel Writing’, in Essays on American Literature and Art: Multiple Perspectives. She also translated stories from Bengali to English for a collection of partition narratives.