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book stall – Why I am not a Hindu Woman

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book stall – Why I am not a Hindu Woman

book stall – Why I am not a Hindu Woman




Why I am not a Hindu Woman is a topical book by academic Wandana Sonalkar.

She has had a most unusual life. Her family left India for Singapore in 1953 when

she was barely one year old. Her father was the manager of an Indian bank there,

she lived in a spacious bungalow. She had a troubled childhood because her father,

she calls him a benevolent patriarch, had a relationship with another lady, leaving her mother quite sad.

Wandana studied in Cambridge in the early 1970s, became a Marxist, then married Tulsi Parab,

a very talented and prominent poet but from a very different social background.

 She taught for many years in Dr Ambedkar Marathwada university in Aurangabad and

then was professor of women’s and gender studied in TISS.

 She is the translator of books, most notably Memoirs of a Dalit Communist.

The Many Worlds of R.B. More.

 She dwells a lot on the numerous injustices embedded in Hinduism. That is relevant.

She has a rare advantage of seeing from close quarters upper class, upper caste life,

life in Cambridge and then life with writer Tulsi Parab who grew up in the Irani chawl in the mill district.

She also closely knew much of dalit life and the injustice the people suffered.

She could have provided more rare insights.

book stall –  I found very little in the book about her Cambridge days. Then the sudden transition to life in a rural area..

Many people with such education tend to become somewhat elitist. It is to her credit that

she identified so quickly with an entirely different world.

She moved almost straight from Cambridge to Sangamer, a tehsil town in Ahmednagar

district where she taught in a college with a liberal Brahmin principal M.V. Kaundinya.

Her neighbor in the quarters in the university campus was Rao Saheb Kasbe ,

who later became a leading intellectual. His maternal uncle Daya Pawar had by then published

the first dalit autobiography in Marathi.

Tulsi Parab was influenced by Marxism, the chawl in which he had lived had families from

all over the state belonging to different castes but not a single dalit family.

Tulsi had been a supporter of Dalit Panthers and its founders Namdeo Dhasal

and Raja Dhale were once his close friends.

 In Aurangabad she encountered a very unusual man, a clerk in a government department,

who made it a mission to help with surgery women whose husbands had cut off their

noses reminding one of the tale from the Ramayana.



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