Ashapurna Devi


In her trilogy, Pratham Pratisruti, Subarnalata, and Bakul Katha, Ashapurna Devi traces the progression of the feminist movement from colonial to post- colonial India. Anita Ghosh in Feminism In Indian Writings In English,  edited by Amar Nath Prasad.

Covers of Ashapurna Devi’s books (click to see larger version). The books to the right and left are Pratham Pratisruti, (available in English translation,torrent of  the 1971 movie)  the book in the middle is Bakul Katha (Bakul’s Story).  From right to left there is an evolution in the blouse, from the heavily Victorian influenced version with a brooch on a little girl (a look complete with ribbons for the hair) to the retention of the frill in the blouse to the pared down completely Indian version familiar from the 1950s on.

Of the books themselves, chronologically Pratham Pratisruti is the earlier book, a kind of awakening of feminist conciousness whilst Bakul Katha is a critique of a detached kind of feminism in post colonial India (rough summing up).


They are never the most popular but my favourite posts either are historical or have to do with literature.  I haven’t read much of Ashapurna Devi at all thanks to the few translations but I felt drawn to her when composing this post.  The trilogy made me reflect on my own family, from a grandmother married at 15 and unhappy throughout her life at her curtailed education and us, the moderns who take it for granted.  As it should be.

About Anu M

A potted history of Indian clothing and fashion.
This entry was posted in Authors, Bengal, Colonial, Early 20th Century, Feminism, Indian Dress, Novels, Sari Blouse and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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