May You Be the Mother of a Hundred Sons: A Journey Among the Women of India

By Elisabeth Bumiller

"The such a lot stimulating and thought-provoking ebook on India in an extended time..Bumiller has made India new and instant again."
THE WASHINGTON put up publication WORLD
In a chronicle wealthy in range, aspect, and empathy, Elisabeth Bumiller illuminates the various women's lives she shared--from prosperous sophisticates in New Delhi, to villagers within the dusty northern plains, to motion picture stars in Bombay, intellectuals in Calcutta, and medical examiners within the south--and the contradictions she encountered, in the course of her 3 and a part years in India as a reporter for THE WASHINGTON publish. of their interesting, and sometimes tragic tales, Bumiller came upon a power even in powerlessness, and a universality that increases questions for girls all over the world.

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If the supply is hard, “the baby will be dragged forth in indifferent sections—a leg or an arm torn off at a time. ” Sixty years later, Indians nonetheless revile Katherine Mayo, even if, apparently, there was an American radical feminist reinterpretation of her paintings. Mary Daly, in her 1978 publication, Gyn/Ecology, wrote that Mayo “shows an knowing of the location which extra recognized students fullyyt lack. Her paintings is, within the specified feel of the note, extraordinary. ” Mayo, in her personal approach, used to be a feminist, and even though her observations usually demonstrate extra approximately her than approximately India, some of the stipulations she suggested nonetheless exist. Village dais, notwithstanding now not approximately so malevolent as Mayo defined, have helped to maintain India’s maternal mortality fee one of many optimum on this planet, even supposing the Indian executive has tried, with combined good fortune, to coach the dais to renounce risky scientific practices they've got for millions of years. while I went to a gathering of dais equipped by way of govt medical examiners in a tribal quarter of the western Indian country of Gujarat, I realized that a lot of them nonetheless push at the mother’s abdominal in the course of exertions, risking rupture of the uterus, and reduce the baby’s umbilical wire with an previous knife or a stone. at the wound they usually placed cow dung, which they think is an antiseptic. Katherine Mayo, as egregious as her perspectives have been, held a definite fascination for me. She had performed, finally, what i used to be attempting to do. there's little written approximately her, yet one line in her access in awesome American ladies 1607–1950 says very much: “Katherine Mayo’s ethical indignation on the sexual exploitation of ladies had lengthy been an unrecognized main issue of her personal lifestyles, an anxiousness she may perhaps confront brazenly simply in writing approximately remote places and alien cultures. ” She got here to India for less than 3 months, relied commonly on British govt data and met no girls leaders of the nationalist move. Her higher failure, after all, used to be the shortcoming of stability she displayed in making judgments a few society that was once much less developed—and held varied values—than her personal. yet how does an interloper degree India? while one assesses the government’s village healthiness care method, may still India be admonished for insufficient amenities and the inability of medications at its clinics, or should still it's praised for no less than growing an intensive rural future health care community? the place does one strike the stability among feedback of a five-thousand-year-old civilization and forty-year-old state consistently liable to disintegrating into non secular and ethnic violence, and admiration that it has at the very least remained a democracy, if in simple terms by itself phrases, at a time while one neighbor, Pakistan, has regularly been an army dictatorship and one other, Nepal, a monarchy? For Katherine Mayo, those questions have been effortless. She judged India through rigorous Western criteria, disregarding these sooner than who had “swathed the spot in euphemisms. ” I launched into my very own trip with open eyes, and in my encounters alongside the way in which i attempted to appreciate ahead of I judged.

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