Sitas Daughters: Coming Out of Purdah: The Rajput Women of Khalapur Revisited by Leigh Minturn

Sitas Daughters: Coming Out of Purdah: The Rajput Women of Khalapur Revisited

byLeigh Minturn, Swaran Kapoor

Paperback | September 1, 1995

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Sita's Daughters vividly recounts the dramatic changes in role and status experienced by Rajput caste women in the Indian village Khalapur between 1955 and 1975. In the 20 years between her now-classic original field study and her follow-up with the same families, Leigh Minturn witnessed asignificant decline in the women's observance of a complex system of customs collectively called purdah, which includes the wearing of veils, silence in the presence of senior men and women, the adoption of subservient postures when speaking to men, and the separation of husbands and wives. Herinterviews with mothers- and daughters-in-law reveal how changes in purdah customs and religious traditions have allowed them increased access to education and health facilities, control of finances, and autonomy inside and mobility outside of their husbands' households. This work is unprecedentedin its depth, scope, and exposition of the intimate details of the lives of Indian women. Minturn's return to her original subjects allowed her to observe firsthand the changes that had transpired during the interim, resulting in the only Indian village field study to span two generations. Havingwon the trust and confidence of her subjects, the author poignantly conveys their individuality, along with their stories of heroism, loyalty, infidelity, rape, incest, theft, and even murder. With even-handedness and detailed scholarship, Minturn makes use of methods such as systematic sampling andstructured interviewing that are effective in capturing the richness of Indian village life, though they are uncommon in anthropological studies. The wide range of issues addressed here will be of interest to students and researchers in women's studies, South Asian studies, anthropology, andcross-cultural psychology, as well as to interested laypersons.

About The Author

Leigh Minturn is a professor of psychology at the University of Colorado, Boulder. She is co-author of two other books: Mothers of Six Cultures: Antecedents of Child Rearing (with W.W. Lambert, 1964) and The Rajputs of Khalapur, India (with J.T. Hitchcock, 1966).

Details & Specs

Title:Sitas Daughters: Coming Out of Purdah: The Rajput Women of Khalapur RevisitedFormat:PaperbackDimensions:392 pages, 9.25 × 6.06 × 0.94 inPublished:September 1, 1995Publisher:Oxford University Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195080351

ISBN - 13:9780195080353

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Table of Contents

PART I: Constancy and Change1. The Khalapur Rajputs: 1955-1975PART II: Two Villages: Parent's Haven, Husband's Prison2. Marriage: From Daughter to Wife3. Purdah: Respect-Avoidance, Dominance-Submission4. Changing TimesPART III: Economy5. Land and Dowry6. Domestic Economy: Chores, Chuulus, Cash, and ClothingPART IV: Religion7. The Pantheon: One Divinity with Many Names8. Ritual and RecreationPART V: Women's Nature9. Women's Nature: Honor and Shakti10. Widows: Rand, Sati, BhaktaniPART VI: Health and Education11. Family Planning and Child Health12. Socialization13. EducationPART VII: Sum and Substance14. Sita's Daughters: A Profile15. Towards Equality

From Our Editors

Sita's Daughters vividly recounts the dramatic changes in role and status experienced by Rhajput cast women in the Indian village of Khalapur between 1955 and 1975. In the 20 years between her now-classic original field study and her follow-up with the same families, Leigh Minturn witnessed a significant decline in the women's observance of a complex system of customs collectively called purdah, which includes the wearing of veils, silence in the presence of senior men and women, the adoption of subservient postures when speaking to men, and the separation of husbands and wives. This work is unprecedented in its depth, scope, and exposition of the intimate details of the lives of Indian women.

Editorial Reviews

"[A]llows Western readers to hear some feisty female voices from North India....Minturn's book... contributes valuable substance to a growing body of literature on Indian women's ideas about their own lives." -- History of Religions