Women and Literature: B Bhageerathy Amma

Translated by J Devika

[ this is an earlier version of the translation that appeared in my book Her-Self, published by Stree/Samya, Kolkata, 2005, For a fuller, annotated version, please refer the book]

Bhageeraty Amma (1890- 1938) was one of the most vocal advocates of an active, informed and disciplined domestic role for women in early 20th century Kerala. She was well-known as the editor of The Mahila, one of the longest-lived Women’s magazines of the period. She was known to be a powerful public speaker, and was one of the women considered for membership in the Shree Mulam Praja Sabha in 1927 (Malayala Manorama, 23 June 1927). Her major work, Stree (1925) described in detail her vision of ‘active’ domesticity as opposed to the traditional passive wifely devotion and was dedicated to “the womenfolk of Keralam”. Vijnanaprakasham was another work. The following article was a speech she made at the fifth annual meeting of the literary assembly, the Kerala Sahitya Parishat. Her presence at the Parishat meetings did make a difference: in the meeting at Ernakulam, she argued against the practice of holding a separate women’s meeting, pointing out that it was tantamount to segregating women, and that the decision that women should not be made speakers in men’s literary meetings was misguided (The Mahila 12 (4,5) 1932: 58). Her essays on modern Womanhood, which appeared in The Mahila were collected in a book, Sahityaramam. Continue reading “Women and Literature: B Bhageerathy Amma”

The Libber: K Saraswathi Amma

 

That was a short trip from Kottayam to Thiruvananthapuram. Still, Vilasini was scared to travel alone. However, it is shabby to show one’s fear and nervousness, isn’t it? She wasn’t just a schoolgirl anymore, for sure. Two whole years had passed since she’d got into a women’s college as a fully grown woman. And now, was about to join the Honours class. Continue reading “The Libber: K Saraswathi Amma”