Bengali Women

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University of Chicago Press, Feb 15, 2010 - Social Science - 232 pages
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Drawing on personal experiences and interviews with others, Roy explores the frustrations and rewards in the lives of Hindu Bengali women in upper and upper-middle class families in India. Roy traces the psychological dimensions of these women as they play their specific roles, including daughter, wife, mother, and sister-in-law.

In a new Afterword, Roy discusses changes in Bengali society and culture over the last two decades which have direct bearings on women's lives: divorce and the breakup of the joint family, education, increasing Westernization via television and women's magazines, and the erosion of traditional religious practices.
 

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Manisha Roy - Social Science - 2010 - 232 pages
Drawing on personal experiences and interviews with others, Roy explores the frustrations and rewards in the lives of Hindu Bengali women in upper and
upper-middle class families in India. Roy traces the psychological dimensions of these women as they play their specific roles, including daughter, wife, mother, and sister-in-law. In a new Afterword, Roy discusses changes in Bengali society and culture over the last two decades which have direct bearings on women's lives: divorce and the breakup of the joint family, education, increasing Westernization via television and women's magazines, and the erosion of traditional religious practices. 

Contents

I
2
II
18
III
74
IV
126
V
150
VI
174
VII
182
VIII
188
IX
208
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Page ix - being constantly satisfied with her alone." Her son is even to respect her more than his father. " The teacher is ten times more venerable than a sub-teacher, the father a hundred times more than the teacher, but the mother a thousand times more than the father.
Page 6 - The lowest point in the life of Hindu society in Bengal was reached by the end of the eighteenth century . . . Polygamy and proliferation of ritualism and ostentatious worshipping went hand-in-hand with the utter degradation of women, especially in the institution of kulinism. Kulinism. an innovation introduced by the orthodox Brahmans, was a device to maintain the purity and rigid boundary of the upper castes through strict endogamy and a rule of commensality.
Page 7 - ... immolation were of a voluntary character; for a great prestige came to be attached to such sacrifices as in the case of the Japanese hara-kiri. It was as if Hindu society tried to hold aloft its banner of purity by relegating that responsibility to the keeping of this noble, but completely misguided, band of heroic women. While the latter burned themselves to death, the rest of society wallowed in abuses and degradation which choked the life of the individual from all directions, unless he secured...
Page 13 - When a bride joins her husband's family she becomes a member of his lineage for most purposes — ritual, economic, and legal. But she also retains some affiliation with her original lineage and some rights in it.

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