03 December, 2020

Her Dream Sojourn In Manderley

Sixty years ago, Sheuli Majumdar put up a fight to become one of India’s first professional woman translators

Photograph by Sandipan Chatterjee
Her Dream Sojourn In Manderley

“The boys taunted me relentlessly each time I contributed an article for our college publication. They laughed at me, calling me a ‘busybody who wanted to have her finger in every pie’, even if that means churning out unwanted literature. Initially it embarrassed me and I thought I would quit writing altogether, but my parents dissuaded me from giving up, telling me that they were resentful of me because I am a girl.” Recalling those days in the 1930s, when she was studying at Borishal College (now in Bangladesh), Sheuli Majumdar, now a 92-year-old former schoolteacher, says that she is glad that she heeded her family’s advice and persevered, because in later years, she went on to earn a name for herself as one of India’s first professional women translators. “It was a time of great struggle for women who didn’t want to limit themselves to the confines of home, marriage and children. There was competition from men at every stage, who didn’t give up a single opportunity to try to humiliate me for trying to make it in the field...



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