Aamar Jiban, published in 1876, is an autobiography by Rassundari Devi. It is the first autobiography written by an Indian woman and also the first written by any Bengali male or female. It tells us about the status of women in the 19th century Indian society. It was the first full length autobiography published in the Bengali language.
Nineteen century education viewed a traumatic experience as it uprooted a child from security of her own home and exiled her forever to mercy and control of other strangers.
The title in itself mentions all about a woman, Rassundari Devi, that depicts her pain, struggle, determination, hope and success that she has faced in terms of education.
Her life story focuses on issues such as child marriage, caste, education, superstition and discrimination because her writing and her life stood in a peculiarly significant relationship to each other. This was so because she being fourteen was unwillingly thrown into the marriage ritual for which she was not developed both physically and mentally as it was a superstition that if a woman reads and writes, then she is destined to be a widow. It felt to me as if a meek and submissive woman has committed a crime by bringing up the idea of education and also as if she was going against the grain of familial and social expectations. Moreover, in my opinion, a kind of paradox is set in the society that women’s job is to maintain the unending flow of domestic chores of cooking and child rearing. Therefore, it can be said that she in a way has proclaimed her predicament to the whole world through print and by reserving the image of a self-effacing wife who suffers her deprivations with smiling forbearance.
Rassundari Devi had an irrepressible urge to read but was forbidden from the path of education because she was a woman thus highlighting the idea of inequality. But, she holds a strong position in terms of education by the talent of her writing skills thus creating equality in the society by becoming an inspiration for many other women. Thus, it can be concluded by the very famous quote that a feminist author Virginia Wolf has said “A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write a fiction.” And lastly, it also states the concept of Bildungsroman as she from a lower stature has successfully developed herself into a published writer.
A must read as it gives a deep insight on the life of Indian women in the nineteenth century India.