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Volume 2 Issue 10

July 2016

Social Reform and the Gender Question: A Reading of Chathu Nair’s Meenakshi (1890) in the Context of the 19th Century Debate Over Nair Caste Marriage
Ms. Meenu B, 
Department of English, 
University of Hyderabad, 
Hyderabad, Telangana, India
In this paper, I attempt to read the early social reformist novel Chathu Nair’s Meenakshi (1890) in the context of the debates surrounding marriage and female education in the Nair caste during that period. Some of the early novels in Malayalam had something to say on the hotly debated issue of the time - i.e. whether the Nair way of life, especially its marriage and family norms were suited to the times or not. Chathu Nair’s Meenakshi has to be situated in the midst of these debates. In the debates involving the validity of the Nair customs and rituals, one can also see the influence of the Victorian norms of sexuality as well as that of the mainstream Hindu reform movements that were built around the images of “ideal women” like “Sita” and “Savitri”.
Early Indian Novels; Social Reform; Gender Question; Caste Reform; Female Education; Nair Caste Marriage.
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Progressive Publishers is a novice publishing enterprise located at Tranquebar, Tamilnadu, India. It primarily publishes university text-books for efficient English language learning and an online scholarly journal entitled Literary Quest. Its primary goal is to promote progressive, secular, socialist and egalitarian thoughts among academicians, researchers and students of English literature. Liberty, Equality, Fraternity and Social Justice are the ideals upon which the whole enterprise rests.