A CHILD WIDOW'S STORY by Monica Felton


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Who cares about being important? Being useful is the only thing that matters."" Thus, Subbalakshmi Iyer, who has used her life to ameliorate the lot of child brides and widows in an evolving India. Born a Brahmin, become a virgin widow at the age of nine, she was shielded from the cruel actualities of a widow's state by an enlightened father ""who could not believe...that the God he worshipped could really desire that a healthy and exceptionally intelligent girl should be immolated in the kitchen for the rest of her life because she had been so unfortunate as to lose her husband."" And so she studied, excelled in college, and decided that she would devote herself to helping other girls less fortunate in their widowhood. With the support of an Englishwoman who was concerned with the lack of teachers and felt that the widows were a natural source of supply, she set up a home for widows with her widowed aunt Chitty, where the girls were housed and educated. Not only an educator, she worked for legislation against child marriages, spurred civic action in the Ladies' Union. Her story underscores the tremendous gap still extant in the rights of women; it deserves attention accordingly.

Pub Date: Jan. 11th, 1966
Publisher: Harcourt, Brace & World