Devaki Jain – On Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay

DSC_0574Day 2 of Dhvani began with a session by Devaki Jain on Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay’s memoirs, Inner Recesses Outer Spaces, which was interspersed with her memories of Kamaladevi as a close friend. Even while she is a little known figure, and only vaguely remembered for her role in the freedom movement, Kamaladevi made leaps and bounds at a very young age. Devaki Jain emphasised her importance during the 1930s and ‘40s – she was the only woman who contributed to the Fundamental Rights, in the clause concerning equal franchise, and this was while she was serving a term in prison. Devaki Jain also told the audience that it was Kamaladevi who exhorted Gandhi to bring women into the public sphere during the freedom movement, rather than keeping them in the silent satyagraha. Kamaladevi was also involved in the creatioDSC_0580n of a strong feminist movement in India. She was internationally recognised in her early 20s, and constantly challenged the Western notion of ‘Eastern’ women. Through this, she united many Eastern feminists across national borders, who criticised Western women for focusing only on the danger that fascism posed to women, all the while ignoring their own complicity in colonisation.

Devaki Jain encouraged the audience to celebrate important female figures in the contemporary world during their lifetime, and regretted the fact that influential women are often only recognised after their deaths – in her words, “women are killed for their ideologies and actions” while they are alive.

dhvaniReport by: Esther Moraes
Photography: Sissi Hamann

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One response to “Devaki Jain – On Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay

  1. Pingback: Dhvani: Conversations and Performances on Women, Writing & Freedom | Barefoot Philosophers·

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