Rani Lakshmi Bai is an iconic figure of the nationalist movement in India. Her fight against the imperialist power has a significant place in the cultural and feminist history of South Asia. She is considered not only a heroine, and a great warrior, but also a protector of her people in Jhansi. Her pictures on horseback, with her son tied to her back and a sword in one hanRani Lakshmi Bai is an iconic figure of the nationalist movement in India. Her fight against the imperialist power has a significant place in the cultural and feminist history of South Asia. She is considered not only a heroine, and a great warrior, but also a protector of her people in Jhansi. Her pictures on horseback, with her son tied to her back and a sword in one hand, represent her as an embodiment of feminine power or Shakti. This book uses fictional, cinematic and popular representations of the Rani to analyze the convergence of colonial and postcolonial literary, historical, sexual and cultural imperatives in the figure of this legendary woman. This book also extends the discussion to what constitutes the gendered subaltern historical archive. By analyzing a range of literary and cinematic texts produced between 1857 and 2007, it tries to understand the various agendas that are at stake in the use of the Rani as a figure of nationalist Indian history and imperial British narrative. There is also an attempt to compare representations of the Rani in both these contexts. EndorsementsThe author brilliantly reveals how the rule of colonial and postcolonial difference forecloses the possibility of archival or historical ‘settling’ of the figure of the Indian woman. This is an essential reading for anyone interested in the ‘woman question’, one that resonates in both historical and contemporary debates of representation and politics. — Inderpal Grewal, Yale UniversitySingh provides a compelling genealogy of production under colonial conditions that works its way through an impressive array of archives and genres from the aesthetic experiments of both British and Indian cultural producers, to the more recuperative cultural efforts of postcolonial feminists and/or historians. — Anjali Arondekar, University of California, Santa CruzIt is one of the first works in the arena of South Asian Studies to provide a feminist account of a rebellion against empire; a theme totally unique and much needed in explicating India’s complex relationship to Britain. Moreover, the author’s intellectual gambit of bypassing numerous routine, historico-political accounts that are regurgitated to bolster colonial and/or postcolonial theses is noteworthy. — Gita Rajan, Fairfield UniversityIt is a rebellious book, in its own way. Eschewing the ‘historical’ Rani of Jhansi, in favor of the Rani of literature, fable, folk history, film, and rumor, Singh undertakes an extraordinary engagement with this pivotal figure of the politics and aesthetics of the ‘colonial encounter.’ The book takes as central motifs the sexual configurations of ‘India’ through the metaphor of the Rani. —Christian Lee Novetzke, University of Washington...
|Title||:||The Rani of Jhansi: Gender, History, and Fable in India|
|Number of Pages||:||202 Pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
The Rani of Jhansi: Gender, History, and Fable in India Reviews
A great account of the Rani of Jhansi, in which the woman as many women are portrayed as numerous functions but none individual. For the British she was not only foe but a sexual conquest and yet always defeated. For Indians she was a mother figure for the nation and a goddess. All of which even into the 21st century most women have to ascribe to. Whether it's "domestic goddess" in household work, "diva" for the music or acting profession or any similar. As well that many women are seen as maternal, mothering and indeed quite a few women boast that their greatest accomplishment is child rearing over any other consideration. Other books termed "coming of age" (in the heterosexual sense)will have the male protagonist highlight his sexual encounters with some female or females depending on the author. In films from the 1920s onwards to modern times have a "wonderful" family man meet a crisis and come to grips, literally and figuratively, with a "mysterious woman" who turns his so called blissful life upside down. Meaning there will be much sexually charged situations where the "poor" man finds himself tempted, succumbs and eventually in most cases frees himself from this "seductress" and reunites with his very understanding wife and family. Mind you in the case of Rani Jhansi none of this will happen for the India patriots as she is a mother...and well for a lot of people mothers simply don't do that. She is too busy being in love with motherhood and sacrifices for her children, or in the Rani's case children here being India as a whole. What unites both cultures is that the Rani died. Altho' some folk tales have it that she is not dead and will come back, as in the case with many patriotic tales in other countries, the return. As it is the Rani dies, leaves nothing behind of herself, merely speculation. She has an honorable death, as is fitting with a queen, whether foe or hero. As an actual person she wouldn't be able to live up to either ideals. But just who is she? As with women in history she is: someone's daughter, some fellow's sister, somebody's wife and a mother to so and so. Which means there is some guy behind the decisions a woman makes. Save her father's legacy perhaps or her husband's reputation maybe? Could she not have stood up herself and said "Right this is what I'm doing!"? How can we tell? She only became rani because of her marriage and only took notice of because the son (adopted or otherwise) was too young to do it himself. A woman in any kind of title is a dangerous woman. There are many questions from critics of can she do it because of whom she is seen to be? She is betrayed by her body for monthly bleeding, by the heavy weight on her chest of breasts and the bitter divisions of her attention. If she is married which comes first? The people she governs over (whether queen or politician), her husband and children (if she has any and if not people will want to know why not!!!) but certainly herself must come a distant third or somewhere very far down the line. If she tries to bring herself forward then she is unsuitable for her job. She is either egotistical (which is a huge no-no for women as they are very self sacrificing as they embody from birth mothering instincts) or she has some other kind of mental imbalance brought on by wildly fluctuating hormones (to make you think of 19th century hysteria sufferers). Again though who was the rani? She was by dint of immortal words to a page all of these things and more than likely none of these things as most women are. Not only does she hold many facets of character she also had more than one name. Born Manikarnika and became Lakshmi Bai or (Lakshmibai)she was in one wife, mother, queen and leader and seen to be seductress, prostitute, harlot and the embodiment of evil for men. She was all of these things and none of these things, she was a woman. However, what does it mean to be a woman? Can it be easily assessed by the sexual organs you are born with and then fitted into the role of your relationship status of daughter, sister, lover/prostitute, wife, mother and grandmother? We have found human nature is not that straight forward, whether or not we all accept it or not, but the outside and sometimes inside sexual organs you are given at birth doesn't make the man or woman. The highly provocative term "real men" no longer subscribes, entirely, to men that are heterosexual, or rather seen and made to feel heterosexual. But some people still require "labels" as it makes for easier understanding of the world. That limits understanding and limits self. According to the author of this book Mahasweta Devi has her a rebel only ( I say according as I haven't read Ms. Devi's book). Rebel to lead an army and rebel in the term of feminist, however, Harleen Singh points out that leaves the Rani asexual. Well there isn't anything wrong with a woman focusing entirely on the greater need than her own personal need. As with most prominent figures in history we shall never know the real person behind the lore, not even if she had left something in her own hand, as Oscar Wilde said "Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth." This applies to women to or rather what is perceived as men and women.It is a very interesting book and is highly recommended.
What is the essence of being a woman? I believe that "being a mother" is simply an understatement. There is more to a woman than bearing offspring. This book empowers women from all walks of life. Frankly it reminds me of Spivak's theories of the gendered subaltern. The patriarchal culture of Indian and of their British colonists are not enough to subvert the Rani. She is a strong and independent woman capable of breaking stereotypes. She is what we should strive to become. I'm quite impressed. This was a really great read. Please take the time to read this!
I very much enjoyed reading Harleen Singh's book of the Rani of Jhansi. I was very interested in the Rani's depiction by the British, not that I expected anything different from them, and how she is perceived in India. I have always wanted to read more about the Rani and hope to read other books about her in future. I also hope that Harleen Singh will also write more in future as I very much enjoyed her style of writing.