Chapter

The Bengal League of Social Service for Women, Katherine Mayo and Cornelia

Suparna Gooptu

in Cornelia Sorabji

Published in print August 2006 | ISBN: 9780195678345
Published online October 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199080380 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195678345.003.0007
The Bengal League of Social Service for Women, Katherine Mayo and Cornelia

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While engaged in the struggle to establish herself in the legal profession at Calcutta High Court, Cornelia Sorabji did not forsake her connection and association with the purdahnashins. She helped with the drafting of the National Council of Women of India's (NCWI) constitution and rendered a significant service in implementing its programme. Cornelia's desire for social service remained unfulfilled in many ways. This was partly because of her association with the book Mother India by Katherine Mayo, which provoked deep nationalist resentment and was widely condemned as a ‘remarkably wicked book slandering the whole Indian people...’. Cornelia shared many of Mayo's perceptions on issues relating to women, children, and animals in India. Cornelia's Bengal League of Social Service for Women became a victim of the nationalist tirade against her. The tension between Cornelia's political vision and that of the nationalists in twentieth-century India, and the process of her political marginalization, ultimately deprived her of the space she had striven so hard to create by working amongst the purdahnashins.

Keywords: Cornelia Sorabji; Katherine Mayo; Bengal League of Social Service for Women; Mother India; purdahnashins; National Council of Women of India; nationalists

Chapter.  5839 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Literature

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