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|Number of Pages||246 Pages|
Many books have been written about Indian women during the early part of the twentieth century but we have few accounts by women themselves. Shudha Mazumdar's A Pattern of Life vividly portrays the life and attitudes of a Bengali woman living through the first three decades of the century. Shudha Ghosh (b. 1898) was the daughter of a wealthy, Europeanized Zamindar. The family owned vast estates in east and west Bengal and despite the Westernized attire and life-style of the father was careful to maintain its status within the community. Ceremonies were performed in an appropriate manner, marriages were arranged with careful attention to detail and the father's influence on Shudha was carefully monitored. In all aspects of socialization, Shudha grew up between two cultures. Her mother stressed the traditional culture, her father the Western. The mother’s victory was an arranged marriage for Shudha when she was aged thirteen, the father’s victory came later – when Shudha, as a married woman with two sons, wrote and published short stories, joined and became an active member of a number of social service organizations and, finally, served as the Indian delegate to the International Labour Organization.
There is little about Shudha Mazumdar's life that has not been commented on in A Pattern of Life. She is a woman with great talent for observation and an eye for the amusing and the absurd. When she was still a young girl her father presented her with a diary and so began a life-long habit. While her main concern was her personal life, she has commented at length on family affairs and on the growing nationalist mood of the country.
This book provides new insights into Indian family life, the role of women in modern India and the potential of Indian women for social change.