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‘The speed king of Asia’ (p. 472) is not an honorific normally associated with the subject of this new biography by Ramachandra Guha, the Indian historian, cricket writer, and journalist. It was found in a letter from a British Quaker admirer of Gandhi who had accompanied the 64-year-old on his vigorous campaigning tour through southern India in support of rights for Harijans
In 1899 the Straits Chinese physician and community leader Lim Boon Keng made the case that female education was beneficial to the community as a whole: ‘Keep your women in a low, ignorant and servile state, and in time you will become a low, ignorant and servile people – male and female!’ (p.
The subject of sati – more commonly known to Anglophone readers as ‘suttee’, a term which was used by 18th- and 19th-century writers to signify the self-immolation of Hindu widows on the funeral pyres of their husbands (1) – has long been of interest to historians.
Historians with an interest in personal and public memory know a great deal about the challenges entailed in attempting to document the affective contours of past and present lives.
In this innovative and interesting study, Antoinette Burton raises questions and extends the parameters of discussion in relation to a number of key issues that concern the relationship between women, the home and colonial modernity in twentieth century colonial India.