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Purdah to Piccadilly

Purdah to Piccadilly
A Muslim Woman’s Struggle for Identity

First Edition
  • Zarina Bhatty - Former President of the Indian Association for Women’s Studies (IAWS), New Delhi
Critical Acclaim

March 2018 | 220 pages | SAGE Select

Tracing the life of Zarina Bhatty, a Muslim woman born and brought up in pre-Partition India, this memoir narrates the experiences of a woman who strove to break out of the stereotypical roles imposed by the society of her times. It chronicles her life over 80 years, portraying the political and social conditions of undivided and post-Independence India. Zarina’s story is a story of grit, perseverance and determination to battle against all odds —a story that was waiting to be told.


The Background
Introducing the Family
Ancestral Homes
School and Burka
Exposure to the Freedom Movement
India to England
Ups and Downs
Experiencing the Communist Regime
Return to India
Destiny Plays a Hand
Awakening to Feminism
Joining USAID
Women’s Movement in India
And Life Goes On

The title of the book is very apt, literally and metaphorically. The book follows the journey of a Muslim woman’s struggle for creating an identity in a world where a woman herself is a non-entity… There are two of looking at the narrative. One, how right from her childhood Zarina challenges the norms and rules of the society prevalent in her time. Another perspective would be how Zarina became a crusader of her own cause.

The Book Review

“Coming-of-age story of not one but three generations… holds promise and is highly inspiring in every aspect.”


Zarina Bhatty

Humanist by faith, sociologist by profession, feminist by conviction, Zarina Bhatty was brought up in burka (seclusion) in a traditional Muslim family in Lucknow in pre-Partition India. She is the former President of Indian Association for Women's Studies (IAWS) and of Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA), New Delhi. She has researched, published, and lectured extensively in India and abroad on Indian Muslim Women’s issues and on women in the unorganized sector. Her pioneering study on women in the bidi industry, undertaken and published by the International Labour Organization (ILO), received considerable recognition. Zarina... More About Author

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ISBN: 9789352806652