Images of Women in Maharashtrian Literature and Religion

Edited by Anne Feldhaus

Subjects: Religion
Paperback : 9780791428382, 281 pages, March 1996
Hardcover : 9780791428375, 281 pages, March 1996

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Table of contents



Part I
Images of Women in Contemporary Marathi Literature

Woman and Goddess in the Poetry of P. S. Rege

Philip Engblom

Male Playwrights and Female Characters: Are Marathi Plays about Men or Women?

Mahadev L. Apte

Language and Power in Images of Indian Women

Janet A. Contursi

Stri Dalit Sahitya: The New Voice of Women Poets

Eleanor Zelliot

Part II
Women and Goddesses in Maharashtrian Religion

Sivaji's Mother

James W Laine

All the God's Wives

Günther D. Sontheimer

Goddess as Sister: The Case of Bhivai

Anne Feldhaus

In Quest of Saubhagya : The Roles and Goals of Women as Depicted in Marathi Stories of Votive Devotions

Mary McGee

Sati in the Maratha Country: An Historical Perspective

A. R. Kulkarni

Part III
Images of Women in Old Marathi Literature

Cakradhar and Women

S. G. Tulpule

Janabai and Kanhopatra: A Study of Two Women Sants

Sarah Sellergren

Women Saint-Poets' Conception of Liberation

Tara Bhavalkar

The Concept of Woman in the Poems of Tukaram

Irina Glushkova

About the Contributors



The essays investigate the images of women and femininity found in the traditions of the Marathi language region of India, Maharashtra, and how these images contradict the actualities of women's lives.

Anne Feldhaus is Professor in the Department of Religious Studies at Arizona State University.


"Many fine and illuminating never-before published translations from the Marathi (especially the poetry and folk epics) are provided in this book. Among South Asia scholars, Maharashtra is well-known to be one of India's most significant 'culture-producing' areas. That is to say, many influential movements and leaders have had their roots in this region. It is moreover a region of special significance to many of India's Hindus, because of its long resistance to Moghul and then to British rule during the seventeenth and earlier eighteenth centuries. Despite this significance, it has until recently been a surprisingly under-studied region, especially in Western countries. " — Nancy Auer Falk, Western Michigan University

"While focusing on one geographical and linguistic area of India, the book covers a range of approaches. The contributors cite either sound literary evidence or sociological facts to back their arguments. I do not read Marathi myself, but I found the translations of verses fresh and pleasant. " — Nalini Devdas, Carleton University

"We lack any sustained treatment of images of women in Maharashtra. The book will join other region-based studies on women that have already appeared (on Rajasthan, Tamilnadu, Bengal, etc. ) to provide a more nuanced understanding of literary images, women's rites and lore, and gender ideology in South Asia. " — Kathryn Hansen, National Endowment for the Humanities