The fifth point, then – that women are the storehouse of all guilt. In fact, it’s the other way round – when women go wrong it’s always because of you. See now. Many fathers marry off their daughters of ten or eleven, girls who shine like little stars, they marry them for a fat wad of rupees to some rich old man of eighty or ninety. They eye the old man’s wealth and say, ‘Well – it won’t really matter if he does die, will it? She’ll never want for money, after all.’ ... with words like that they hand her over shamelessly, like a goat to the tiger ... What’s the point of this empty ceremony for her?Other highlights include a record of the disagreements between Gandhi and Ambedkar and Gandhi and Tagore (adversarial, sometimes bitter, in the former case, cordial and respectful in the latter), the paranoid ramblings of the RSS leader M S Golwalkar (“The Pakistani Muslims have been infiltrating into Assam for the past 15 years...What else is this but a conspiracy to make Assam a Muslim-majority province so that it would automatically fall into the lap of Pakistan in course of time?”) and a revealing look at the Muslim modernist Hamid Dalwai, who made radical calls for reform in his own community (“Indian Muslims believe they are a perfect society and are superior to all other communities in India ... [based on] the assumption that the Islamic faith embodies the vision of a perfect society and therefore being a perfect Muslim implies not having to make any further progress. This is an unacceptable claim by modern criteria”).
Watch this space next week for more from Guha.