By Rekha Pande (eds.)
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What an honor! The professors were friendly, we were often invited to their homes, where we had coffee and discussions. It was a glorious period of intellectual stimulation for me. This background helped me to develop a critical attitude to what I read. Moving to Delhi to do my master’s degree in economics, we had very distinguished teachers and that was the period when India went in for planning the ﬁve year plans. I have felt strongly that women’s studies students should have a strong background in social sciences because we must understand social structures and social ideologies to make sense of women’s position in society.
In many houses, I saw women carrying even the plough on their shoulders for lack of help in hiring bullocks in the absence of male family members. My deep concern with agriculture in India on which I wrote some articles to emphasize the criticality of agriculture to India’s development earned me the sobriquet of “agricultural fundamentalist” by the Delhi policy-makers. S. Swaminathan Foundation asked me to edit some papers, I added some new ones on gender and food security. My own intuitive feeling buttressed by reading convinced me of the need to revive this sector with state support for improving soil, water, technology and markets.
New Words became part of my new feminist world. I went to poetry readings and talks by novelists and historians there. I found books to assign in my Clark courses there. I began to seek out women’s bookstores everywhere I went – in Toronto, Amsterdam, London and Dublin. And, when Ximena needed support, I would ﬁnd it at New Words. Ximena Bunster and I had ofﬁces across the hall from each other at Clark, and we had become friends through women’s studies and our shared interest in (and opposition to) Latin American military dictatorships.
A Journey into Women’s Studies: Crossing Interdisciplinary Boundaries by Rekha Pande (eds.)