Memoirs of an Indian Woman

Memoirs of an Indian Woman

Memoirs of an Indian Woman

Memoirs of an Indian Woman

Synopsis

This vivid memoir recounts the experience of Shudha Mazumdar, a woman born at the turn of the century to Indian parents whose ideas on child rearing differed greatly. Her father, a wealthy Europeanized Zamindar, tried to instill Western values, while Shudha's mother emphasized the traditional, even going as far as arranging a marriage for her daughter when she was thirteen. Although true to Indian traditions, Shudha eventually manifested her father's influence by becoming a published writer, by becoming a member of a number of social service organizations, and by serving as the Indian Delegate to the International Labour Organization.

Excerpt

I first met Shudha Mazumdar in 1970 when I was doing research on Jogendro Chandra Ghose (1842-1902), the leader of the Indian Positivist Society. Ghose had lived in Kidderpore, a suburb of Calcutta, and when I went in search of his private papers I located the Mohun Chund mansion where he had lived. Ghose's descendants, who occupied the mansion at that time, told me that Mrs. Shudha Mazumdar was "the family historian." When I went to see her at her home on Robinson Street, she shared with me a few pamphlets written by Jogendro and some photographs of the mansion as it looked in the early part of this century, and she helped me locate Jogendro's direct descendants. As we became better acquainted, Shudha showed me copies of her published work and, eventually, her unpublished memoirs.

Shudha Mazumdar had translated the Ramayana (published first by Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan in 1953 and in its second edition by Orient Longman Ltd in 1958), and a few of her essays and short stories had been published in magazines. I read through the materials she gave me, and we talked over tea. No one who has met this lady "with a twinkle in her eyes" can resist her for long; she is an irrepressible raconteur. Before long, I was urging Shudha Mazumdar to tell me more about her life. In response, she opened a cabinet and handed me a manuscript of over five hundred pages. She had first thought about writing her memoirs when Roy North, then an editor with Orient Longman in Calcutta, urged her to do so. In 1960 Shudha Mazumdar began work on a manuscript. The result was a . . .

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