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Rebels, Wives, Saints

Designing Selves and Nations in Colonial Times

In Rebels, Wives, Saints, acclaimed scholar Tanika Sarkar continues her revolutionary scholarship on women, religion, and nationhood in colonial Bengal. The colonial universe Sarkar describes in Rebels, Wives, Saints centers around symbols of women as both defiled and deified, exemplified in the idea of woman as widow and woman as goddess. The nation, Sarkar explains, is imagined as a woman-goddess within a country comprising plural cultural traditions. Sarkar also broadens the discussion to consider male reformers who battle Hindu conservatives, a Hindu novelist who idealizes nationalism as a means for overcoming Muslim influence, male-dominant social norms, and theatre and censorship.

Throughout the book, Sarkar deploys her trademark focus on small, specific, emotional defining moments in order to arrive at a larger, compelling picture that reveals how people actually feel and experience life in Bengal.

356 pages | 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 | © 2009

Asian Studies: Southeast Asia and Australia

Gender and Sexuality

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Table of Contents

1  Holy ’Fire Eaters’" Why Widow Immolation Became an Issue in Colonial Bengal
2  Caste, Sect, and Hagiography: The Balakdashis of Early Modern Bengal
3  Wicked Widows: Law and Faith in Nineteenth-Century Public Sphere Debates
4  Performing Power and Troublesome Plays: The Early Public Theatre in Colonial Bengal
5  The Birth of a Goddess:  Bankimchandra Chattopadhyaya’s Anandamath
6  Questioning Nationalism: The Difficult Writings of Rabindranath Tagore
7  The Child and the World: Rabindranath Tagore’s Ideas on Education
8  Tribals in Colonial Bengal: Jitu Santal’s Rebellion in Malda

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