Advertisement

Did the Bengali Woman Have a Girlhood? A Study of Colonialism, Education, and the Evolution of the Girl Child in Nineteenth-Century Bengal

  • Asha Islam Nayeem
Chapter

Abstract

In the cultural context of the modernisation of Bengal, the concept of the social construction of childhood is a useful analytical tool. This is particularly the case when studying the effect of the western education system on Bengali girls. The transition from traditionalism to modernity impacted the life of girls through the introduction of an education system in which the curriculum was based on a designated infanthood and a designated girlhood. The stratification of age groups for different levels of education was a concept absent in the indigenous mode. As steps were taken to extend mass education across gender and class lines, childhood itself lasted longer as enlightened patriarchs allowed their female wards to remain in school until the end of the primary or secondary stage.

Bibliography

Primary Sources

    National Archives, Bangladesh

    1. Government of Eastern Bengal and Assam Education Proceedings (A), File No. E-349 for April 1908, nos. 125–143Google Scholar
    2. Proceedings of the Lieutenant-Governor of Eastern Bengal and Assam in the Education Department, Assam Secretariat (Sylhet Proceedings) Education A Proceedings, File No. E-946 of 1909, nos. 1–8Google Scholar
    3. Indian Education Policy, Bengal Education Proceedings (A) for the month of June 1904, File 10-0/16, nos. 50–51Google Scholar
    4. Enclosure No. 1, Recommendations of the Female Education Committee, Education Department (A) Proceedings, Assam Secretariat (Sylhet Proceedings), File No. E-946 of 1909, April 1910, nos. 1–8Google Scholar

Printed Sources

  1. First Quinquennial Report, 1891–1892 to 1896–1897, Review of Education in Bengal (Calcutta: Bengal Secretariat Book Depot, 1918, West Bengal Secretariat Library (VII 67, West Bengal Secretariat))Google Scholar
  2. Government of Bengal, Ninth Quinquennial Review on the Progress of Education for the years 1932–37, by A. K. Chanda, I.E.S., Superintendent (Government Printing, Bengal Government Press, Alipore, Bengal, 1939). Copy in West Bengal State ArchivesGoogle Scholar
  3. Report of the Indian Education Commission Appointed by the Resolution of the Government of India dated 3rd February 1882 (Calcutta: Printed by the Superintendent of Government Printing, India, 1883)Google Scholar
  4. Resolution No. 1028 T.G., dated the 10th June, 1907, by the Government of Bengal, 4th edition (Calcutta: Bengal Secretariat Book Depot, 1908). Copy in The National Archives of IndiaGoogle Scholar
  5. Sarkar, Tanika, Words to Win: The Making of Amar Jiban—A Modern Autobiography (Delhi: Kali for Women, 1999)Google Scholar
  6. Sen, Haimabati, The Memoirs of Dr. Haimabati Sen: From Child Widow to Lady Doctor. Edited by Geraldine Forbes and translated by Tapan Raychaudhuri (New Delhi: Roli Books, 2000)Google Scholar

Secondary Sources

  1. Amin, Sonia Nishat, The World of Muslim Women in Colonial Bengal, 1876–1939 (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1996)Google Scholar
  2. Ariѐs, Philippe, L’ Enfant et la vie familial sous l’ ancient régime (Paris: Plon, 1960). Translated into English by Robert Baldick as Centuries of Childhood: A Social History of Family Life (New York: Vintage Books, 1962).Google Scholar
  3. Banglapedia (Dhaka: 2006).Google Scholar
  4. Dyhouse, Carol, Girls Growing Up in Late Victorian and Edwardian England (London, Routledge, 1981)Google Scholar
  5. Gelles, Richard J. and Ann Levine (eds.), Sociology: An Introduction, 5th Edition (New York: McGraw-Hill Inc., 1995)Google Scholar
  6. Islam, Mustafa Nurul, Samayikpatre Jiban O Janamat, 1901–1930 [Life and Public Opinion in Periodicals] (Dhaka: Bangla Academy, 1977)Google Scholar
  7. Kishwar, Madhu, ‘The Daughters of Aryavarta’ in Sumit Sarkar and Tanika Sarkar (eds.), Women and Social Reform in Modern India: A Reader, vol. 1 (New Delhi: Permanent Black, 2007), 298–340Google Scholar
  8. Merton, Robert K., Social Theory and Social Structure (New York: Free Press, 1968)Google Scholar
  9. Purvis, June, A History of Women’s Education in England (Milton Keynes: Open University, 1991)Google Scholar
  10. Purvis, June, ‘Using Primary Sources When Researching Women’s History from a Feminist Perspective’, Women’s History Review, 1, no. 2 (1992), 273–306CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Ray, Bharati (ed.), Shekaler Narishiksha: Bamabodhini Patrika [Women’s Education in Yester Years: The Bamabodhini Journal] (Calcutta University: Women’s Studies Research Centre, 1994).Google Scholar
  12. Sanderson, Michael, Education, Economic Change and Society in England: 1780–1870, 2nd ed. (Cambridge University Press, 1995).Google Scholar
  13. Shahidullah, Kazi, Patshalas Into Schools: The Development of Indigenous Elementary Education in Bengal, 1854–1905 (Calcutta: Firma KLM Private Limited, 1987)Google Scholar
  14. Sumit Sarkar and Tanika Sarkar (eds.), Women and Social Reform in Modern India: A Reader, vol. 1 (New Delhi: Permanent Black, 2007)Google Scholar
  15. Woodhall, Maureen, ‘Investment in Women: A Reappraisal of the Concept of Human Capital’, International Review of Education, 19, 1 (1973), Special Issue: The Education of Women, UNESCO Institute for Education, 9–29Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Asha Islam Nayeem
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of HistoryUniversity of DhakaDhakaBangladesh

Personalised recommendations