This major study of village women's lives demonstrates the many creative strategies women use to cope with the dual stresses of poverty and patriarchy. Focusing in particular on village farmers, the author has explored the 'grassroots reality' of women's lives in her ancestral village, Masure, on the Konkan coast of western India.
Of major significance are the case studies where village women reveal a variety of strategies for dealing with male dominance.
While showing how the women may subvert, transcend or compromise with the rigid prescriptions for their lives, the study also reveals both the considerable wastage of women's creativity and intelligence and the reserves of strength, compassion and dignity of the women interviewed. The book also explores the historical and socio-economic context and shows the ravages of bad planning, corruption and ecological devastation in a formerly rich agricultural region.
A powerful portrayal of village life, Of Woman Caste furthers our understanding of the complexities which village women face in maintaining the balance between traditional expectations and current realities.