You Showed Me the Ways of the World: Daughters’ Essays on Their Fathers
The significance of the father-daughter relationship is being recently addressed by researchers. Intriguing findings range from a father’s influence on his daughter’s stress response to his role in her education and career. In the Indian context, where fathers were not traditionally close to their children, especially daughters, who were considered ‘parayadhan’ or someone else’s property, to be looked after only till they were married off, it is interesting to note several examples in regional literature that move out of this realm of father-daughter relationships. The chapter adds to our knowledge about the role of fathers in the lives of women who have attempted to break some traditional norms in one way or the other, to move forward. It is based on a thematic analysis of essays on fathers by daughters from three books (Baap-Leki (Marathi), Indelible Imprints (English) and Thank you Pappa (Gujarati)) that cover daughters born between 1898 and 1970, located in different places, thus unfolding some important trends and facets of fathering from the pre-independence period to the post-independence period in India. It will highlight the nature of a father’s relationship with his daughter and how fathers influenced their daughters’ education, and occupational choices and identity.
KeywordsFather-daughter relationship Indian fathers Daughters’ education and career Women’s identity Indian family
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