A Lifetime Of Indira GoswamiDecember 23, 2011 No Comments
The freedom to define ourselves as individuals, rather than by our relationships with men, is a global feature of feminism.
Indira Goswami, who died this week, was an activist and writer who took that notion seriously. Widowed as a young woman, Goswami lived amongst other young widows in an Assam ashram; she wrote her first, groundbreaking book based on her personal experience and observations at the Ashram.
In Goswami’s eulogy in The Hindu, Sangeeta Barooah Pisharoty said:
- Living in an ashram, a young Goswami saw what widowhood meshed in poverty made of Hindu women. They had no say, no right, to seek pleasure, bodily or otherwise. The experience shook Goswami deeply, and she picked up her pen to write “Nilakantha Bajra.”
Goswami’s skilled and empathetic account of the socially-imposed isolation of widows, combined with poverty, marked the beginning of a distinctive body of work. Spending much of her career as a Delhi-based academic, Assam-born Goswami wrote on the subjects of feminism, domestic and animal rights, as well as her own life. She served as a successful mediator between the Indian government and separatist group the United Liberation Front of Assam.
She came across as a woman who embraced life; in fashion and words she was bold, honest and unique. A woman who could comfortably show emotion and a cool head, when circumstances called for it.
Brave, human and brilliant. Goswami’s work has impacted her country, and her readers across the world.
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