Katherine Mayo- (27 January 1867 – 9 October 1940) was an American writer notorious for her polemical book Mother India (1927), in which she attacked the Hindu society, religion and culture of the country. It was criticized by Mahatma Gandhi as a "report of a drain inspector sent out with the one purpose of opening and examining the drains of the country to be reported upon"

(source: Katherine Mayo's Hatred For Hindus - Glimpses III). Refer to QuickTime trailer and Part One of the film The God Awful Truth.

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Despoliation and Defaming of India

Despoliation and Defaming of India: The Early 19th century British Crusade  - By Dharmapal

It seems that by the mid-1920s the British created images of India as depraved, ignorant, and wretched had got worn out. Hence the need for similar but newer presentation on India. Therefore, Miss Mayo’s Mother India, and a large number of similar works were written and published.

In the mid-1920s Miss Katherine Mayo, hailing from the United States of America had made a long visit to India, was feted by the British Viceroy, and looked after his administration in her travels round India, and, sometimes later, she came out with a book titled Mother India.

The book was felt as an outrage, there was an around public condemnation of it in India, and perhaps elsewhere too, and Mahatma Gandhi called it “Drain Inspector’s Report.”

The materials, speeches, and writings by the great Englishmen on India Mr. William Wilberforce  (1813), Mr. James Mill  (1817), and Mr. Thomas Babington Macaulay  (1835, 1843), were far more virulent than Mother India, in their observations on India, and paint India in the darkest possible hues

The book created a sensation on three continents.Written against the demands for self-rule and Indian independence, Mayo pointed to the treatment of India's women, the untouchables, the animals, the dirt and the character of its nationalistic politicians. Mayo singled out the "rampant" and fatally weakening sexuality of its males to be at the core of all problems, leading to masturbation, rape, homosexuality, prostitution and veneral diseases and, most importantly, to too early sexual intercourse and premature maternity.

Her book was burned in India along with an effigy of its author.
 It was criticized by Mahatma Gandhi as a "report of a drain inspector sent out with the one purpose of opening and examining the drains of the country to be reported upon".
Gandhi: This book is cleverly and powerfully written. The carefully chosen quotations give it the false appearance of a truthful book. But the impression it leaves on my mind, is that it is the report of a drain inspector sent out with the one purpose of opening and examining the drains of the country to be reported upon, or to give a graphic description of the stench exuded by the opened drains. If Miss. Mayo had confessed that she had come to India merely to open out and examine the drains of India, there would perhaps be little to complain about her compilation. But she declared her abominable and patently wrong conclusion with a certain amount of triumph: 'the drains are India'

One of the most important replies to Mother India was by Muthulakshmi Reddi, the first Indian woman legislator. Her reply was, Sinha suggests, probably not published, though it was delivered as a speech in Madras, organized by the Women's Indian Association. Reddi responds to a number of Mayo's arguments, but let's just focus specifically on the question of child marriage:
Reddi: Reformers of to-day do not deny there is the system of early marriage prevalent among the high cast Hindus with all its attendant evils, but Miss Mayo--to be true to facts--instead of condemning the whole nation might have added that it exists only among a certain section of Hindus and a large section of the Non-Brahmins and untouchables are not affected by it. Again for the evils of early marriage she goes for a list which was drawn up some 33 years back by the women surgeons of this country when a bill for raising the age of consent was brought by one of our Hindu brethren in the Assembly. Again in 1925 when the question for further raising the age of consent came before the Assembly there were speakers both for and against such a measure--those for said there was no text in Hindu religion to sanction early marriage and those against affirmed that religion was in danger. Even at that period, the countless women's associations through India held meetings and asked for reform.
Blogger Suvendra Nath Dutta said...This reminds me of the movie "Born into Brothels". It suffers from similar problems I think. It illustrates a known problem, but ignores the home grown responses to it.Blogger Chandra said...I think Born into Brothels won an Oscar for documentary in 2005. Mother India syndrome continues?Blogger pennathur said...Muthulakshmi Reddy (if I am not wrong) was a Tamizh Brahmin who went against orthodoxy to marry a Reddy. Not at all rare these days and wouldn't provoke even a yawn these days in India but about the opposite in those days. Skin deep modernism characterised many enlightened leaders of early 20th century India. Ambedkar broke away from Ranade (or was it Gokhale) when he married a minor. Years later Rajaji kicked up quite a fuss when his daughter declared her affection for Gandhi's 2nd (?) son but in the end he gave in. Ambedkar did not condemn Mayo criticism and was in agreement with much of what she said. There is such a thing as the burden of tradition - I say this coming from an Iyer family that left parohitya (priesthood) in the 19th century and "modernised" in the 1st half of the 20th. When we look back at everything we have left behind I am surprised how little it mattered and how inconsequential it was. Mayo's motivation or her values do not matter. If there is even a single instance of every practice she reports it is a matter of shame and deserving of condemnation and rejection.

Born into Brothels

Born into Brothels: Calcutta's Red Light Kids is a 2004 American documentary film about the children of prostitutes in SonagachiKolkata's red light district. The widely acclaimed film, written and directed by Zana Briski and Ross Kauffman, won a string of accolades including theAcademy Award for Best Documentary Feature in 2004:-http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Born_into_Brothels
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:-


Muthulakshmi Reddi

Dr. Muthulakshmi Reddi (30 July 1886 – 22 July 1968 Madras) was an eminent medical practitioner, social reformer and Padma Bhushan awardee in India. She was the first women legislator in India.[1]
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:-

Muthulakshmi Reddy, was appointed to the Chennai Legislative Council in 1927. For her, this nomination marked the beginning of her lifelong effort to "correct the balance" for women by removing social abuses and working for equality in moral standards. She was one of the women pioneers who stood for the cause of liberating India from the British.:--http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muthulakshmi_Reddi


Indian Women Doctor

Dr. Muthulakshmi Reddi (30 July 1886 – 22 July 1968 Madras) was an eminent medical practitioner, social reformer and Padma Bhushan awardee in India. She was the first women legislator in India.Muthulakshmi Reddy, was appointed to the Chennai Legislative Council in 1927. For her, this nomination marked the beginning of her life-long effort to "correct the balance" for women by removing social abuses and working for equality in moral standards. 

She was one of the women pioneers who stood for the cause of liberating India from the British. She was a women activist and a social reformer too. Muthulakshmi had many firsts to her recognition. She was the first girl student to be admitted into a Men's College, the first woman House Surgeon in the Government Maternity and Ophthalmic Hospital, the first woman legislator in British India, the first Chairperson of the State Social Welfare Advisory Board and the first woman Deputy President of the Legislative Council and the first Alderwoman of the Madras Corporation.


Muthulakshmi Reddi was born in the princely state of Pudukottai of Tamil Nadu. In spite of various constraints faced by girls in India of her time, she could complete her higher education, and was admitted into medical profession. In 1907, she joined the Madras Medical College, where she achieved a brilliant academic record. With several gold medals and prizes to her credit, Muthulakshmi graduated in 1912 to become one of the first woman doctors in India. Soon thereafter, she came under the influence of Annie Besant, and then of Mahatma Gandhi.

Her father was S. Narayanasami, an Iyengar and the principal of Maharaja's College. Her mother was Chandrammal, born to the Isai Vellalar community. S. Narayanasami broke with tradition and sent Muthulakshmi to school. The child's enthusiasm for learning was so great that Muthulakshmi's teachers decided to instruct her in subjects beyond those approved by her father. At the onset of puberty she was obliged to leave school, but tutoring continued at home. Chandrammal wanted to search for a bridegroom but Muthulakshmi had different aspirations. She expressed a need to be a different woman from the common lot. She pitied women for their subordination to men and inwardly rebelled whenever she heard people say that only boys needed education.

When Muthulakshmi passed the matriculation exam she applied for admission to Maharaja's College but her application was not welcomed by the principal at the time or the parents of other students. Her gender was a factor and so was her background. The principal thought she might "demoralize" the male students. The somewhat enlightened Maharaja of Pudukottah ignored these objections, admitted her to the college, and gave her a scholarship. Her father suggested she become a school teacher but she had higher aspirations. She entered Madras Medical College, completed her studies in 1912, and became house surgeon in the Government Hospital for Women and Children in Chennai. She later married Dr. D. T. Sandara Reddy on the demand that he promised to "always respect me as an equal and never cross my wishes." In 1914, when she was twenty-eight years of age, they married in accordance with the 1872 Native Marriage Act.

Influences on Muthulakshmi Reddy

During her college years, Muthulakshmi met Sarojini Naidu and began to attend women's meetings. She found women who shared her personal concerns and addressed them in terms of women's rights. The two great personalities who influenced her life were Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. Annie Besant. They persuaded her to devote herself for the upliftment of women and children. She worked for women's emancipation at a time when women were confined in the four walls of their room.
Political career

She was nominated to the Madras Legislature as a member of legislative council in 1926, and became the first woman to be a member of any legislature in India. When she was elected as the Deputy Chairperson of the legislative council, she became the first woman in the world to become the Vice-President of a Legislature. She was the prime mover behind the legislation that abolished the devadasi system in 1929 and played a keen role in raising the minimum marriage age for women in India. In 1930, she resigned from the Madras Legislature as a protest following the imprisonment of Mahatma Gandhi. Under the influence of Gandhi and Periyar E.V.Ramasamy, she argued for the removal of devadasi system that was widely prevalent in Tamilnadu at that time against stiff resistance from the Congress lobby led by Sathyamoorthy Aiyar. She was the founder-president of the Women’s Indian Association (WIA) and became the first alderwoman of the Madras Corporation.

Dr Reddy was actively involved with several orphanage homes and women’s welfare organisations, and initiated measures to improve the medical facilities given to slum dwellers. In 1930, she founded Avvai Home, a home for destitute women and orphans at Besant Avenue, Adyar. As an MLC, she introduced a scheme of free education for girls up to class eight.

Adyar Cancer Institute

During her address at the Centenary celebration of the Madras Medical College in 1935, Dr Muthulakshmi Reddy first expressed her desire to start a hospital for cancer patients. With the overwhelming support of like-minded people, the foundation stone for Adyar Cancer InstituteJawaharlal Nehru in 1952. The hospital which started functioning on June 18, 1954, was only the second of its kind in India and the first in south India. It is today a world-renowned institution offering treatment to nearly 80,000 cancer patients every year. 

Awards and Books

Her book named My Experience as a Legislature recounts her initiates in respect of social reforms taken by her in the Madras Legislature.
Government of India conferred on her Padma Bhushan in 1956 in recognition of her meritorious services to the nation.


Anandi Gopal Joshi

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Anandi Gopal Joshi

A photo of Anandi Gopal Joshi with her signature on it
Born31 March 1865
DiedFebruary 26, 1887 (aged 21)
SpouseGopalrao Joshi
Anandi Gopal Joshi A (or Anandibai Joshi) (Marathi: आनंदी गोपाळ जोशी/आनंदीबाई जोशी)(March 31, 1865 - February 26, 1887) was one of the two first Indian women to obtain a medical degree through training in Western medicine. (Kadambini Ganguly earned a medical degree the same year, 1886, as Anandibai.) She was also the first Hindu woman to do so:-------http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anandi_Gopal_Joshi

White man’s burden

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2007-2-26 09:51 AM
"The White Man's Burden" is a poem by the English poet Rudyard Kipling. It was originally published in the popular magazine McClure's in 1899, with the subtitle The United States and the Philippine Islands.[1] Although Kipling's poem mixed exhortation to empire with sober warnings of the costs involved, imperialists within the United States understood the phrase "white man's burden" as a characterisation for imperialism that justified the policy as a noble enterprise.:-http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_White_Man's_Burden

The white man's burden-from an 1899 edition ofLife Magazine

This 1890s advertisement for soap uses the theme of the White Man's Burden, encouraging white people to teach cleanliness to members of other races.

The white man's burden – The JournalDetroit, 1898.

Rudyard Kipling, The White Man's Burden, 1899:-

Take up the White Man's burden--
Send forth the best ye breed--
Go bind your sons to exile
To serve your captives' need;
To wait in heavy harness,
On fluttered folk and wild--
Your new-caught, sullen peoples,
Half-devil and half-child.

Take up the White Man's burden--
In patience to abide,
To veil the threat of terror
And check the show of pride;
By open speech and simple,
An hundred times made plain
To seek another's profit,
And work another's gain.

Take up the White Man's burden--
The savage wars of peace--
Fill full the mouth of Famine
And bid the sickness cease;
And when your goal is nearest
The end for others sought,
Watch sloth and heathen Folly
Bring all your hopes to nought.

Take up the White Man's burden--
No tawdry rule of kings,
But toil of serf and sweeper--
The tale of common things.
The ports ye shall not enter,
The roads ye shall not tread,
Go mark them with your living,
And mark them with your dead.

Take up the White Man's burden--
And reap his old reward:
The blame of those ye better,
The hate of those ye guard--
The cry of hosts ye humour
(Ah, slowly!) toward the light:--
"Why brought he us from bondage,
Our loved Egyptian night?"

Take up the White Man's burden--
Ye dare not stoop to less--
Nor call too loud on Freedom
To cloke your weariness;
By all ye cry or whisper,
By all ye leave or do,
The silent, sullen peoples
Shall weigh your gods and you.

Take up the White Man's burden--
Have done with childish days--
The lightly proferred laurel,
The easy, ungrudged praise.
Comes now, to search your manhood
Through all the thankless years
Cold, edged with dear-bought wisdom,
The judgment of your peers!
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Mad Dogs and Englishmen (song)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Noël Coward was born in 1899 at the peak of the British Empire, the greatest empire in history, on which the Sun never set. "Mad Dogs And Englishmen" satirizes the Colonials who ran this Empire, and who in the 1930s were still administering it as if they ruled the Earth. To emphasize this he included a few bars of "Rule, Britannia!" The song was first performed in The Third Little Show at the Music Box Theatre, New York, on June 1, 1931, by Beatrice Lillie. Shortly it went into the revue Words And Music, and then into Coward's own cabaret act. "Mad Dogs And Englishman" was Prime Minister Winston Churchill's favorite Coward song.

Romney Brent sings "Mad Dogs and Englishmen", Words and Music, 1932
"Mad Dogs and Englishmen" is a song written by Noël Coward and first performed in The Third Little Show at the Music Box TheatreNew York, on 1 June 1931, byBeatrice Lillie. The following year it was used in the revue Words and Music and also released in a "studio version". It then became a signature feature in Coward's cabaret act.
The song is especially known for the line "Mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun" with which most verses begin and end.:-http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mad_Dogs_and_Englishmen_(song)


Mad Dogs and Englishmen
(Noel Coward)

In tropical climes there are certain times of day
When all the citizens retire, to tear their clothes off and perspire.
It's one of those rules that the biggest fools obey,
Because the sun is far too sultry and one must avoid its ultry-violet ray --
Papalaka-papalaka-papalaka-boo. (That's natives)
The natives grieve when the white men leave their huts,
Because they're obviously, absolutely nuts --

Mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun.
The Japanese don't care to, the Chinese wouldn't dare to,
Hindus and Argentines sleep firmly from twelve to one,
But Englishmen detest a siesta,
In the Philippines there are lovely screens, to protect you from the glare,
In the Malay states there are hats like plates, which the Britishers won't wear,
At twelve noon the natives swoon, and no further work is done -
But Mad Dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun.

It's such a surprise for the Eastern eyes to see,
That though the British are effete, they're quite impervious to heat,
When the white man rides, every native hides in glee,
Because the simple creatures hope he will impale his solar topee on a tree.
Bolyboly-bolyboly-bolyboly-baa. (Same natives; pay no attention)
It seems such a shame that when the English claim the earth
That they give rise to such hilarity and mirth -

Mad Dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun.
The smallest Malay rabbit deplores this stupid habit.
In Hong Kong, they strike a gong, and fire off a noonday gun.
To reprimand each inmate, who's in late.
In the jungle town where the sun beats down, to the rage of man or beast,
The English garb of the English sahib merely gets a bit more creased.
In Bangkok, at twelve o'clock, they foam at the mouth and run,
But mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun.

Mad Dogs and Englishmen, go out in the midday sun.
The toughest Burmese bandit can never understand it.
In Rangoon the heat of noon is just what the natives shun.
They put their scotch or rye down, and lie down.
In the mangrove swamps where the python romps there is peace from twelve till two.
Even caribous lie down and snooze, for there's nothing else to do.
In Bengal, to move at all, is seldom if ever done,
But mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun.

Noel Coward: Mad Dogs and Englishmen