24 June, 2021

Polished Into Gold

A pioneering Indian feminist writes about her formative influences, determination to succeed and her innermost experiences

Polished Into Gold

She calls herself one of India’s ‘before midnight’ children. Devaki Jain—economist, feminist, author—was old enough at 14 to experience the exhilaration of Ind­e­­pendence and grow up in an India that was still defining herself. Her memoir, The Brass Notebook, captures the optimism and idealism of those years.

Jain began her distingui­shed career as lecturer in Delhi’s Miranda House, but went on to do what she loved best, res­earch. Considered a pioneer in India of ‘feminist economics’ that brings a gender perspective to the discipline, Jain founded the Institute of Social Studies Trust and Development Alter­natives for Women for a New Era.

This memoir gives us insight into Jain’s life, her parents, the chances she had to travel (94 countries in 50 years), the frien­dships she forged (Gloria Stei­nem being one), and the choices she made. “How to project what can be cal­led ‘my story’ in a landscape which was so full of originality, so revolutionary, so full of...

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