- Paperback: 204 pages
- Publisher: Oxford University Press; Edition edition (29 November 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0198079877
- ISBN-13: 978-0198079873
- Product Dimensions: 21.8 x 1.3 x 14.2 cm
- Average Customer Review: 6 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #53,917 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Antharjanam: Memoirs of A Namboodiri Woman: Memoirs of A Namboodiri Woman Translated From Malayalam By Indira Menon and Radh Paperback – 29 Nov 2011
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About the Author
Devaki Nilayamgode was raised in an orthodox Namboodiri home. Not formally educated, her language skills were shaped by the training that an antharjanam traditionally received at home. Indira Menon retired as Reader in English, Kamala Nehru College, University of Delhi. Radhika P. Menon is Associate Professor, Department of English, Fatima Mata National College, Kollam.
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Top customer reviews
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That aside, the book itself was an enjoyable read. Very easily, simply written, with no regrets or hatred for the way she was treated as an antharjanam. I quite enjoyed it, if only for the historic value. It paints a very vivid picture of kerala in those days.
Devaki Nilayamgode, a women born in 1930s in an high class, land owner, brahmin family. These families are called Namboodiri. There women are called Antharjanam (literal meaning: born inside). These women spent their life mostly inside an illam (big house) and has little to do with the outside world. Devaki grew up in the time of reform movement and got married into an open minded illam. This was the time when wearing a blouse was a taboo and seen as anti-traditional.
The book explores the life of such Antharjanams. The author, herself being an antharjanam, understands every aspect of their lives. As per wikipedia, Namboodiris migrated from Uttar Pradesh to Kerela in 1AD and was settled there by Lord Parshurama. I myself being a brahmin from Uttar Pradesh finds many similarities in the two cultures. However, there are more differences than similarities. For example, in namboodiries, women had no place in the family. They live, eat and sleep in the illam just like pets. There is story when authors mother asked for the medicine of her sick daughter (author's sister) and the males of the family laughed at the request. The sick girl died. I have never seen or heard about any such things in my family.
There are shocking stories that tells how males, having no money to feed their family, just disappear (walk away) leaving women and children behind without any food or money. Sometimes they will take loan against their houses and when these houses were confiscated by the lender, women becomes homeless.
The book gives a very good account of the namboodiri culture, talks about the cast system in the society, and the downfall of the sect. The good part is that author does does not judge anything. She just tells the stories. She neither complains not agrees to the traditions. Its up to the reader to agree or disagree.
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