26 September, 2020

The Way They Were

Childhood is an increasingly foreign patch of territory. This selection revisits a few with freshness and candour.

Jitender Gupta
The Way They Were
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

It is a measure of the affection as well as admiration that Andre Beteille evokes that he has not one, but two volumes honouring him. The first—Institutions and Inequalities, edited by Ramachandra Guha and Jonathan Parry in 1999—addressed the themes that preoccupied Beteille as a sociologist. The second, Remembered Childhood, is a more personal tribute, inspired by Beteille’s reminiscences about his grandmothers—one French, the other Bengali—in an account first published in the journal Civil Lines.

Autobiographical writing can often be indulgently nostalgic, uninterested in delineating people and places on their own terms. Yet Beteille brought his ethnographic skills to bear on the subject of growing up in the French colony of Chandannagar and Calcutta. His account of the two disparate cultures spanned by his upbringing is a model of how life-stories can also illuminate entire social worlds. The two women described in My Two Grandmothers emerge as warmly human in their...

unsub

THIS ARTICLE IS PRICELESS...

To read this piece, and more such stories in India's most exciting and exacting magazine, plus get access to our 25-year archives goldmine, please subscribe.


In this article:

More from Amita Baviskar


Latest Magazine

October 05, 2020
content

other articles from the issue

articles from the previous issue

Other magazine section