Women, Education and Reform in 19th Century Indian Texts Introduction How do the four main female characters in our 19th century Indian texts—Rashsundari Devi (Amar Jiban), Bimala (Home and the World), and Kalyani and Shanti (Anandamath)—advocate, personify, or reflect the need for, or benefits of, the various reforms for women in their lives? One interesting way in which to answer this question is to discuss the role that education plays in the lives of each of these women, with special emphasis on how education serves to both liberate these women from, and further subordinate them to, patriarchy. This essay argues that, in each of the texts, education is a two-pronged force: a force for reform, and a force for patriarchy. Each of the...The end:
.....less carries a love of the ‘Great Lord’ into the end of her life, blissfully aware that the ‘Great Lord’ is the pillar and guarantor of the patriarchal and phallic system that is responsible for turning Indian women into slaves. Even when education has the power to undo this aspect of Indian life, as in The Home and the World, it is ultimately dispensed by men. Thus is it fair to conclude that, at least in the nineteenth century, there is simple no escape from male-defined and male-dominated ways of life in India. References Chatterji, Bankim. Anandamath. New Delhi: Orient Paperbacks, 1992. Devi, Rashsundari. Amar Jiban. New Delhi: Kali for Women, 1999. Tagore, Rabindranath. The Home and the World. Whitefish, MT: Kessinger Publishing, 2004.