Vimal Balasubrahmanyan
Profiles in Female Poverty: A Study of Five Poor Working Women in Kerala by Leela Gulati Hindustan Publishing Corporation, Delhi, 1981, 1982, 180 pp., 55.00
March-April 1982, volume 6, No 5

Profiles in Female Poverty is part of the series ‘Studies in Sociology and Social Anthropology’ edited by Prof M.N. Srinivas. I have no idea if the other titles in this series adopt an approach similar to the book under review. My impression from this book is that a wider readership could be reached if more academic studies were written in the evocative style which is a striking feature of Leela Gulati’s book. The five women portrayed, belonging to the poorest of the poor in Kerala, come alive in these pages. I’d like to say I found it an un-put-downable book, but that would not be entirely true—simply because, as one reads of the tremendous hardships endured quite cheer¬fully by these women, one has to put the book aside awhile and let the iron enter one’s soul before reading on. The author explains in her introduction her method of selecting each of the women studied and how a close rap¬port was built up before the research commenced.

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