Can a book be scholastic AND heart-wrenching at the same time? This one is.
I came across Ms. Oldenburg's work while working on a project on the interrelation of the Indian woman's safety and Economic independence, in Grad school.
I love her work for the following reasons:
1. She has extensive bibliography and citations to establish credibility of the statements in the book. It is easy and effortless to read historical work knowing that there is veracity and not just folk-lore in the stories told. This helps readers form a healthy relationship with the issue and gives the society tools to work on an issue in a balanced, effective way.
Those who have done research work on subjects pertaining to India know just how frustrating/close to impossible it is to get cited work - esp. if you are physically not located in India. Most professional publications even, do not feel the need to cite sources. For e.g., you can search on a topic of social interest or the work of an NGO in India and a myriad of results will mushroom regurgitating the same info without any credit to the original source.
2. Not only is her work inundated perfectly, she is capable of juggling objectivity, compassion and empathy in one clean shot in this book. I read a few pages on Goolge books before I bought it. And I am glad I did. It will be something I will pass on to all the children in my family, male and female.
It is to blame current situations, but difficult to decipher the profound impact of several decades of slavery. A slavery of paying unreal taxes - for 100s of years - that robbed an entire nation of its prosperity.
If anyone has doubts about just how damaging the British were to India, they should read this book. It tells a horrific story of indirectly perpetrated crimes with evidential support.
3. The author does not draw any inferences for the user. She presents the facts, a million details that explain what shaped the Indian woman's story, leading to her present day position in modern India.
25,000 a year killed - and counting.
Ms. Oldenburg, you have to write more!!!
If you are looking for other commendable works in Indian Feminism, I also highly recommend Pramila Jaypal's Pilgrimage to India Pilgrimage to India: A Woman Revisits Her Homeland (Adventura Series)