Vibrant Portraits
WOMAN IN INDIA by Mary Frances Billington Sri Satguru Publications, Delhi, 1989, 342 pp., 280
Sept-Oct 1989, volume 13, No 5

The reprinting of Mary Frances Billington’s book is a welcome addition to the literature of foreign travellers commenting on India. First published in 1895, Woman in India is a well-organized pastiche of women’s lives in the last few years of the 19th century. Her work is particularly interesting as it deals with a section of Indian society which was not readily accessible to most foreigners. In her introduction, the Marchioness of Dufferin and Ava pointed out that the book was of immediate relevance because of the growing interest in the ‘social conditions and the ”rights” of women all over the world.’ Nonetheless she reminded her readers that they should not ‘demand from it either finality or infallibility’ but rather enjoy its ‘varied and useful information in so succinct and agreeable a’ form’ (p. xiii).

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