She defied traditional caste norms by accepting an offer of marriage from a non-Brahman Brahmo Bengali lawyer, Bipin Behari Das, but he died within two years of their marriage, leaving her with an infant daughter, Manorama. She came into contact with Christian missionaries but had no intention of becoming a Christian until much later in while she was in England, much to the dismay of Hindus back home. She was not wholly accepting of Christianity at this stage.
She was not willing to substitute one form of patriarchy with another. She proved to be a thorn in the flesh of Anglicans when she questioned such basic tenets as the Trinity , miracles, the divinity of Christ, and the resurrection. What is extraordinary is that Ramabai was able to make an impression in the strongly male-dominated public discourse of her time.
It was overgrown with jungle in which a number of savages were wandering about. A lawyer or even a teacher earns three or four times this salary. The book was originally planned during my six-week stay in as a visiting scholar at the University of Adelaide, when I started translating the chapter on women in my spare time. Bombay Presidency , British India. As a result, hundreds of Red people immediately died of overexertion and ill treatment. In our own country we see a variety of skin colors every day—some of our countrymen are fair-skinned, some shiny black, some are wheatish, some pale and hazel-eyed, and some present such a mixture as to defy all these categories, as we all know.
Her highly persuasive books, both in the vernacular and in English, established her as one of the important voices of the era. The fact that she wrote Stri Dharma Niti Morals for women, in order to finance her trip to England where her hope of studying medicine never materialized testifies that her reforming zeal preceded her attraction to Christianity.
In this book she urges women to educate themselves and transform their lives, citing mythological examples of Hindu womanhood. The High Caste Hindu Woman is a trenchant feminist critique of a Brahmanical patriarchy that accords its women a low position.
United Stateschi Lokasthiti ani Pravasavritta The Peoples of the United States , is an account of her visit to the United States , and it reflects her feminist concerns whilst contrasting freedoms in the United States and colonial India. A Testimony of Our Inexhaustible Treasure , her last public discourse, was a pamphlet narrating a spiritual odyssey that culminated in her final acceptance of the Christian faith. The last decade of her life was spent translating the Bible into Marathi and producing Greek-Marathi and Greek-Hebrew lexicons.
Ramabai put teaching into practice. It was her early disappointment with her own community that made her turn to England and the United States to solicit help for her work among women.
Pandita Ramabai's American Encounter. The Peoples of the United States () . Pandita Ramabai, edited by Translated and edited by Meera. Vijay Prashad Pandita Ramabai's American Encounter: The Peoples of the United States (). Translated and Edited by Meera Kosambi. Bloomington.
Realizing the importance of education for empowering women, she ran a number of vocational programs. Sharada Sadan Home of Learning , initially a home for high-caste child widows but later for destitute women and children of all castes, provided training and education. Although the school was initially secular in orientation, it gradually became explicitly Christian.
There were allegations of conversions at Sharada Sadan, which caused a major rift between Ramabai and Hindu social reformers; although Ramabai was exonerated, the rift remained. The fact that Ramabai's commitment to Christianity coexisted with her conscious attempt to declare herself a Hindu and Indian in public discourses, continues to puzzle Hindus and Christians who would like to categorize her neatly.
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Translated and Edited by Meera Kosambi. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, Joshi went to India, but died tragically of tuberculosis the following year.
Her family followed her request that her remains be sent to the US for burial. After her lecture in Philadelphia, Ramabai toured the US for almost three years, moving from one end of the country to the other, promoting her famous book The High-Caste Hindu Woman The book uncovered the routine oppressions faced by the high-caste Hindu woman, some of its sanctioned by the holy books and translated into everyday life. The book had an enormous impact on certain sections of the US, and in December of the year of its publication, a group of people in Boston created a Ramabai Association.
The Association planned to raise consciousness of the condition of the high-caste Hindu woman and raise money to set up a school for them in India. While she traveled the US and met a range of people, Ramabai began to fashion a narrative of her journey.
Upon her return to India, she published her reflections of the United States in Marathi. The book, thanks to the substantial labors of Meera Kosambi, now comes to us in English, over a century later. Written for an audience with little knowledge of the United States, Ramabai offers a comprehensive summary of life in the United States in the manner of Tocqueville - her interest is not only in the United States, but also in what a discussion of equality in the United States could show about inequality elsewhere.
It is no wonder that the sight of this land also fills the heart of a proud but enslaved person with joy, allows him to forget his sorry state for a brief while and be immersed in the heavenly happiness of freedom; and makes him earnestly wish that all the people in all the countries of the world would acquire such a system of government, such liberty, equality and fraternity.