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Vasahatkalin Bharatatil Marathi Madhyamvargiya Striyanche ghargutee Baget (Marathi) or Family budgets, thrift and household management as reflected in the writings of middle class Maharashtrian women in colonial India. (English translation)

Anagol, Padma 2006. Vasahatkalin Bharatatil Marathi Madhyamvargiya Striyanche ghargutee Baget (Marathi) or Family budgets, thrift and household management as reflected in the writings of middle class Maharashtrian women in colonial India. (English translation). Marathi Samshodhan Patrika or Quarterly Journal of the Marathi Research Institute 53 (1) , pp. 23-32.

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Abstract

The paper looks at the significance of 'thrift' within the domestic economy and its relation to the colonial economy as reflected in the writings of middle class Maharashtrian women in nineteenth- and early twentieth- century India. 'Katkasar' (thrift) a Marathi phrase, broadly refers to the science of savings and retrenchment of costs within the domestic economy. This article demonstrates how and why the term 'katkasar' gained new meanings and validity for Indian women. The forging of the Indian middle classes took place against the backdrop of British rule in India. Although current scholarship focuses on economic hardships, particularly in the rural sector, little is said of the plight of the rising middle classes, who had to manage on a small salaried income and/or pensions and bore heavy burdens in the newly created capitalist economy of the nineteenth century. Often this involved not only looking after one's own nuclear family (if they accompanied the main breadwinner to the city from the hinterland) but also sending money back home for the maintenance of the extended family. An analysis of the writings on thrift in the women's press including journals, memoirs and petitions to the government reveals that middle class families were characterized by great financial insecurity rising from their sole dependence on service-professions in urban settings. Budgeting schedules also reveal women's anxieties over mounting debts through loans incurred in the nascent 'credit' economy, particularly to meet the expenses and dowry demands on their daughters' weddings. On a more positive note, these writings demonstrate the empowerment of women whereby through learning 'accounting' and efficient household management the urban Indian woman elevated her position from the more decorative role of a housewife to that of a 'home manager', responsible for the survival of the middle-classes.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: History, Archaeology and Religion
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PK Indo-Iranian
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN0441 Literary History
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 01:51
URI: http://orca-mwe.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/3885

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