Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The Scattered Leaves of My Life: An Indian Nationalist Remembers

The Scattered Leaves of My Life: An Indian Nationalist Remembers
By: Saraladebi Chaudhurani. Translated and edited with an introduction by Sikata Banerjee

demy octavo hb 195pp ISBN 978-81-88965-50-2, Rs 500 May 2011

Translated for the first time into English, this is the autobiography of Saraladebi Chaudhurani 1872-1945, one of the few women graduates of the University of Calcutta, singer, political activist and leader. Born into the distinguished literary family of Rabindranath Tagore who was her mother’s youngest brother, she was an editor of a prestigious journal. She is a controversial figure with some of her political ideas harping on male martial prowess, the warriors, who would take on the British Empire militarily, thus expunging charges of emasculation and subservience that gnawed at the selfworth of a conquered nation. Defying familial pressures and remaining single till 33, Sarala had an electrifying impact on Mahatma Gandhi who was attracted to her courage and brilliance. Shei organized the first women’s organization, the Bharat Stree Mahamandal which would bring women of all creed class and party together. Her autobiography weaves together the modern history of Bengal and of India.

Sikata Banerjee is associate professor, Department of Women’s Studies, University of Victoria, British Columbia.

Published by: Stree and Women Unlimited

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