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Antharjanam: Memoirs of a Namboodiri Woman

Price : $26.75
ISBN # : 9780198074168
Author : Devaki Nilayamgode
pages: 204
Edition : Hardcover
Volumes : 1
Publisher : Oxford University Press
Published : 2011

Ending the silence of centuries and written without embellishments, this is the first full-length memoirs of a Namboodiri woman. The opening section of this volume is about growing up in an orthodox and affluent Namboodiri household in the early decades of the 20th century situated in erstwhile Malabar. Its focus is very deliberately women and young girls.

In the enormous Pakavoor Illam, their hours filled with sombre routine chores of ritual baths and plain clothes, no flowers or jewellery, left to the care of maids, and deprived of parental love, young Namboodiri girls grew up detached from their more privileged brothers. Illness, the rare visits of traders, beautiful Nair cousins and doctors enlivened an otherwise unbearably dreary life. Told without a trace of self-pity, Devaki Nilayamgode's work is a remarkable feat in personal and social history. The detailed Introduction by J. Devika helps set the context of the work.

Later narratives in the book record the winds of change that brought radical ideas into these dim interiors. The memoirs unfold a variety of experiences that range from changing agricultural practices, indigenous systems of anti-snake-venom treatment, and escoteric patterns of medical practice to the gradual erosion of the community's wealth and unquestioned social power.

Features Reveals the inside story of a largely insular community Includes a comprehensive Introduction

Devaki Nilayamgode (b. 1928) was raised in an orthodox Namboodiri home. Not formally educated, her language skills were part of the training that an antharjanam traditionally received at home.

This book was added to South Asia bookstore on Monday 13 June, 2011.

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