Documenting the Role of an Institution
Meenakshi Thapan
------------- by Meena Bhargava Oxford University Press, New Delhi, 2006, 169 pp., 450
April 2006, volume 30, No 4

This book is about the history of a women’s college and about aspects of the women’s movement in the nationalist period. It is also a book about dreams, aspirations and desires, among young women who sought higher education, their fathers and elders who allowed them to do so, the stalwarts at the forefront of women’s education in India, both women and men, and about colonialism and its legacy, in the curriculum it bequeathed women’s education, in its zeal for civilizing and modernizing the submissive and passive native. The authors provide a fascinating account of the history of Indraprastha College for Women in Delhi and take into consideration the role of colonialists, nationalists and social reformers, and the women’s movement in fostering education for women in modern India. Indraprastha College was the bastion of women’s education in an otherwise arid educational landscape that simply overlooked education for women. It began as a school in 1904, a fact perhaps unknown outside college walls, and was established as the first college for undergraduate education for women in 1924.

Continue reading this review