Overview: Amachya Ayushyatil Kahi Athawani by Ramabai Ranade
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Amachya Ayushyatil Kahi Athawani is a book of reminiscences by Ramabai Ranade, published in 1910 in Marathi and translated into English as Ranade : His Wife’s Reminiscences by Kusumvati Deshpande. Although she does speak a little about her childhood, a major portion of her autobiography deals with the life which began at the age of eleven when she got married to the well known scholar, jurist and social reformer Mahadev Govind Ranade.
She was born on January 25, 1862 in the family of Kurlekars of the village Deorashtra in the district of Satara. It was a well-known aristocratic family. Her mother was the daughter of Raghupantbhau Karmarkar, physician to the chief of Miraj. Ramabai remembers her mother as ‘a friend and a loving comrade’ who was very hard-working, reserved and full of endurance.
Ramabai’s own family was an orthodox where women, not even daughters were allowed to enter the front part of the house and come into the presence of the father. Singing, playing, reading and writing anything was not allowed. In the eighteen seventies the social environment in Maharashtra was such that the parents were eager to get their daughters married at the age of nine or ten. Keeping pace with the tradition, Ramabai also got married in December1873 at the age of eleven to Mahadev Govind Ranade. By that time Ranade was thirty two and a widower, had already established a phenomenal reputation at the university of Bombay and was in Judicial Service. His name had also become known throughout Maharashtra for his success in rousing the people to a consciousness of their own rights and duties.
After he lost his first wife, Ranade wanted, in keeping with his commitments to the ideals of the social reform movement, to marry a widow. His ...
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I end with the words of Mahatma Gandhi for Ramabai :
“………………….. Ramabai Ranade was a true friend and helpmate of her illustrious husband, Justice Ranade. After his death she chose as her life-work one of her husband’s activities, the uplift of Indian womanhood. Ramabai threw herself heart and soul into the Seva Sadan ……. The result is that the Seva Sadan has become an institution without a second of its kind throughout India ……… “”
(The Life-work of Ramabai Ranade,219)
Ranade Ramabai. Ranade:His Wife’s. Reminiscences. Trans. Deshpande Kusumvati. Publications Division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Govt. of India, 1963.
Tharu J. Susie, Lalita Ke. Women Writing in India Volume –II: The Twentieth Century. The Feminist Press at the City University of New York, 1993.
Vidwans Shriniwas Madhav. ‘The Life-work of Ramabai Ranade’.