Some poisonous prejudices against women are that they are not as productive as men; they show stereotypical behaviour; they are unwilling to relocate and face challenges, and so on. All these myths are shattered by reading even within the first nine stories in this anthology: Janaki Ammal, from Kerala, was the first woman Oriental Barbour Scholar and D.Sc (1934), a botanist and a pioneer! Then is the story of B Vijayalakshmi’s heroic struggle against cancer of her stomach and abdomen, to carry out research in high-energy physics. Another pioneer is Asima Chatterjee, the first woman to receive a D.Sc. from any Indian University (Calcutta). Her work on ayurvedic drugs is the story of untiring and path-breaking research which led to the development of the anti-epilepsy drug, Ayush-56, which is patented and sold even today. Anandibai Joshi’s, Mumbai of 1865, is a story of struggle against the confusing marital complex- being educated and discouraged by the same person, her reformist-husband. Who can say that women fear controversy, if only you read the story of Iravati Karve, who was the pioneer in advocating statistical studies based on caste divisions – a theory that is controversial even now. Bearing testimony to the stolid undeterred labour of women, Anna Mani is a beacon of a physicist from CV Raman’s lab. Her thesis did not get her a degree in physics for some bureaucratic reason, causing her to shift her field to meteorology subsequently becoming Deputy Director General of the Indian Meteorological Department.
Sunday, April 26, 2009
Shubashree's review of Lilavati's Daughters
Posted by Abi. Posted at 12:58 PM