Journal of Arts & Ideas, no. 20-21 (March 1991) p. 49.


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Women Writing in India

D Susie Tharu

Susie Tharu studied at King's College, Budo, and then at Makerere University Colkge in Uganda. There she was involved, first marginally and later more closely, in the Ugandan Independence Movement. She worked for a national daily and was an active member of the controversial university students' drama troupe (later banned) that staged the first productions of Brecht, Ngugi Wfl Thiongo and Wok Soyinka. In contrast her years at Somerville College, Oxford, in the late 1960s seemed uneventful.

She taught English Literature in the Humanities Departments of the JJT at Delhi and Kanpur. Since 1973 she is teaching at the Central Institute of English andForeign Languages.Hyderabad. This in tumrelates directly with her mere political activities especially concerning women's issues.

She is widely published in journals and anthologies. H^rThe Sense of Performance: Studies in the Post-Artaud Theatre, (Arnold Hienemann, Delhi, 1982), is based on her doctoral thesis and is an attempt to analyse the language of performance in Beckett, Brecht

and Genet using aphenomenology of embodiment and perception. She is a co-author of Stree Shakti Sanghatana's Manaku Teliyani Mana Charitralu, translated as We Were Making History (Kali, Delhi.1988! Zed, London, 1988). This is a book based on the oral histories of women in the Telengana movement. The first volume of a collection of women's literature, co-edited with Lalita K., Women Writing in India: 600 B.C. to the Early Twentieth Century is scheduled for release. A second volume, The Twentieth Century, is in press.

She is a founder member of Anveshi, a centre for research on women. Current research, broadly in the area of cultural history/theory, takes into account specific struggles around women's education, the medicalization of their bodies, the reconstruction of motherhood, ths fictional schemes of literary texts and the nation, and includes them in a study of the modes in which gender has been articulated and. institutionalized in India over the past 150 years.

What I want to do really is not so much to present any ideas I might have as to share with you some of the problems that emerge in the area I am working in now. I want to pose them as problems in order to seek your help in elaborating them as problems as well as in seeking some kind of solutions to them. I'm doing this because some of these areas are very sticky and riven through with so many different dimensions that it is often almost impossible to collate them well. Let me tell you what I am going to do and why I have chosen to do it. Over the past year or so I've been involved with a project collecting women's writing,


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