One of the earliest actresses of 19th-century Public Theatre in Bengal, Binodini Dasi was also a powerful writer with a voice of her own. Her autobiographical writings, "Amar Katha" (1912) and "Amar Abhinetri Jiban" (1924-25), along with her poetry, speak of a woman who wanted much more than contemporary society was willing to grant her. A founder member of the first actor-owned theatre, Binodini was never allowed to forget her prostitute origins or her status as a mistress to patrons of theatre. Rimli Bhattacharya's analytical introduction to this volume examines the world of theatre in 19th-century Bengal, and locates the pressures and misfortunes which drove Binodini to seek release and legitimacy in the world of theatre, in an attempt to escape the stigma of her birth. Binodini's writings stand out from women's writing in Bengal because she was not a "gentlewoman" and had little formal education. Yet in her writings she dared to articulate her many unanswered questions, her fears and desires, in a way that few public figures would dare to do even today.
Publisher: Kali for Women
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