30 October, 2020

The Matriarch, The Real Mcroy

Daughter Arundhati may have won the Booker, but mother Mary Roy has her own claim to fame

The Matriarch, The Real Mcroy

MARY Roy carries her contradictions lightly. She loathes the press yet covets publicity, values her privacy yet enjoys the limelight, resents authority yet is herself authoritarian, is public-spirited yet overtly elitist. She means different things to different people. To the mute section of Christian women trapped in an inequitable patriarchal social order, Mary Roy is their voice and conscience-keeper. To the Syrian Christian church, she is a non-conformist rabble-rouser. To the political class, she is a vociferous irritant. To the menfolk of her community, she is a bad example for their wives. And to Arundhati Roy, she is simply an exemplary mother.

Mary Roy's defining accomplishment is her crusade to wrest equal property rights for Christian women. It was because of her dogged efforts that the Supreme Court in 1986 gave Christian women an equal share in their father's property. Until then they were governed by the stifling provisions of the 1916 Travancore-Kochi Christian Succession Act promulgated by the Maharaja, under which a daughter was eligible for a quarter of...



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