As India became a British colony and Queen Victoria declared herself Empress of India in 1876, the ensuing cultural interaction ensured that British literature, Victorian magazines, travelogues and even memsahibs’ album culture became replete with the Indian colony as a topic of interest. Emulating the imperial aspect, my research investigates the role of Victorian print culture and late nineteenth century Indian writing in an analysis of the establishment of subject-object relations between British women and native Indian women in the Victorian era, through a heretofore unstudied gaze.
Previous scholarship has explored the memsahib’s presence in the Indian colony and her efforts to make meaning of her existence in a foreign culture, especially as a self-constructed Western, colonial saviour to the native woman. But in reconstructing the memsahib’s history and struggles, the two-way relationship between her and the native woman remains widely unexplored. My project will focus on unearthing writing that unravels the feminine relationship that both the memsahib and the Indian woman shared as observed in travelogues and album cultures, periodicals and novels, focusing on how the two mapped out their existence as women in the colony in relation to each other through these interactions.
University of Warwick
Award Date: 30 Sep 2019
University of Mumbai
Award Date: 1 Jul 2017