May You Be the Mother of a Hundred Sons: A Journey Among the Women of India

Elisabeth Bumiller, Author
Elisabeth Bumiller, Author Random House (NY) $19.95 (306p) ISBN 978-0-394-56391-6
Reviewed on: 05/01/1990
Release date: 05/01/1990
The overall powerlessness of Indian women to control any aspect of their lives became clear to Washington Post reporter Bumiller when she investigated incidents of ``bride burning'' (husbands setting fire to their wives and making it look accidental) and sati , wherein a widow immolates herself on her husband's funeral pyre. Based on her four-year residence in India, this perceptive, alert travelogue considers the prevalent custom of arranged marriage, India's scattered, budding feminist movement, population control, female infanticide, and the legacy of Indira Gandhi, a nonfeminist who ``largely ignored those of her own gender.'' Bumiller's shifting portrait gallery includes impoverished village women who start producing babies at age 14, Calcutta painters and poets, a New Delhi policewoman, and Bombay actresses who lead a ``schizophrenic'' existence as they personify traditional morality on celluloid while leading Hollywood-style love lives off-camera. Photos. (May)
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