Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Road Less Travelled: The Life and Writings of Vinodinee Neelkanth

The Road Less Travelled: The Life and Writings of Vinodinee Neelkanth
Biographical Sketch by Aparna Basu and Shailaja Kalelkar Parikh
demy octavo pb 336pp ISBN 81-85604-71-1 Rs 375 March 2009

A pioneer who was an early emancipated woman, Vinodinee Neelkanth (1907-1987) lived her life according to her own beliefs and convictions. As early as 1929 she won a scholarship to do a Masters at the University of Michigan. Born into a leading reformist family of Gujarat, she made bold and unconventional choices in her life. She began writing in 1928, her essays becoming milestones in Gujarati literature. Her short stories and novel focused mainly on women. Most of her journalistic writings aimed at encouraging women to speak up for themselves. As she strove to give women a sense of identity, she may be regarded a s precursor of feminist literature in Gujarat.
Part I offers a brief biography; Part II consists of translations of selected pieces of her writings from all genres, giving an insight into the social changes that was taking place and that Vinodinee supported. This book is a path-breaking collection on women’s status in early twentieth-century Gujarat.

Aparna Basu retired as professor of history, University of Delhi and was President, All India Women’s Conference. Shailaja Kalelkar Parikh was formerly a lecturer in political science and journalism and is a freelance writer.

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