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HE stands for SHE


IT'S A man's world and one of the greatest challenges facing development thinkers, activists, , the judiciary and all those involved in the governance of the country is the welfare, the status and the rights of woman and female child in India. A distinctive feature of the movement for women rights in India is that it has not segregated itself from the other struggles be it the civil disobedience movement which won India her freedom, class struggles, campaign for total literacy, or the struggle for Dalit and tribal freedom for India.

"Early Women's Writing in Orissa, a Lost Tradition", from 1898 to 1950 edited by Sachidanand Mohanty deals with the subject with the focus on Oriya women. Based on archival research, this fascinating book brings together many of the neglected writings of Oriya women of the late 19th and early 20th Centuries.

But why he chose to write on Oriya? "I have encountered many writings describing the sufferings of Maharashtrian women but nothing has been done for Orissa. They are being neglected forsometime," says Mohanty.

"And my main focus is on a period when writing on women issues dealt not only with questions of gender identity but also with cultural, political and ideological issues of their times," he continues.

The book deals with the development of women from pre to post independence, how female education came to state and all the facts are from the archives and family collection of Mohanty. Though the book contains different forms of short stories, poems, essays, travel writings, novels and letters yet by articulating and advancing the personal in the public and by imbuing the personal with the social and political these literary domestics transcended their limitations and became the precursors of a tradition. And like any other author Mohanty too hopes that people should read the book and women should recognise those areas, which are not been taken care of till now.

"Most books are neglected because they deal with the collective emancipation of men and women and I hope that history will not repeat in this case as the book inspire to learn from our past and move forward," he says. This professor of social sciences originally from Hyderabad want women to change the stereotypes afflicting the society and bring more men into action for their rights.

BHAWNA SATSANGI

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