Jul 29, 2011


I picked up the book "Makers of modern India" more because of the fact it was compiled by Ramachandra Guha. My interests were mainly to see who he picked, out of my respect for his works, than to learn anything new. In all arrogance, I thought I would know all of them, at the least by name.

What a shocker that I had not heard of Tarabai Shinde. And what a shame I have read Mary Wallstonecraft but not Tarabai. The writings are fiery, even in translation. The words mocking, flowing, intelligent..

I can't help but admire her comments on Guru's which more than a century later still holds good.

"He sits there as the women come to take darshan and prays on very different beads. He picks out some specially who are young and freshly nubile, and there he sits, meditating and repeating to himself, this one's nice, that one's pretty! Not a word about your Shiva or Hari, they're all forgotten! The only name on his lips is the girl's who looks like the milkmaid Radha."

Here is another gem..

"When Krishna got Arjuna to disguise himself as a big holy man and steal Subhadra away, the Yadavas sons said to each other 'A holy man's carried Aunty off!' But do you ever hear of the aunty carrying off the holy man?"

She has some scathing comments for Rama too..

How could I have possibly not heard of her book "A comparison of Men and Women."

Here is to another monsoon evening read!

July 29, 2011