hair's colour in Sanskrit

Allen Thrasher athr at
Mon May 12 14:30:36 UTC 1997

On Sat, 10 May 1997, Mr B.Philip.Jonsson wrote:

> At 11:58 10.5.1997 +0100, Lars Martin Fosse wrote:
> >Robert Zydenbos wrote:
> >
> >>A young Bengali woman in Germany informed me that in the Bengali language
> >>there
> >>are four words (which I do not recall now; can any Bengalis help?) for shades
> >>of skin colouring. She belonged to the darkest category, and so her fair
> >>parents in Calcutta decided not to save money for a dowry but to send her to
> >>college instead, since she would have to support herself later on in life.
> >>(She
> >>later married a German and showed off her pale-faced husband to her Calcutta
> >>friends who were supposedly so fair and beautiful!)
> >
> >This is quite a story! It reminds me of similar stories that happened here
> >about a 100 years ago, when unmarriable middle-class women became teachers
> >or took up some other "respectable" profession, since they had little chance
> >of getting a husband.
> Maybe not quite on topic, but interesting in context: the same was of
> course true of Sweden; here the teatching ladies were even forbidden in law
> to marry, losing their job if they did. Was this so also in other
> countries?
> Philip
> *************************************************
> *  B.Philip Jonsson <bpj at>               *

I think this was true in many U.S. public (state) schools until fairly
recently.  If it was ever the law or custom in Virginia it had ceased
before I (born 1946) started elementary school.  On the other hand a lot
of the older teachers were maiden ladies.  They would have been born
between about 1910 and 1920.  In my parents' generation (born around 1920) 
practically everyone married, which was not true for either sex prior to
World War II. I wonder what the reason for the prohibition was.  Was it
that it was thought women shouldn't be going out in public if they were
pregnant, and schoolteaching would be considered public exposure?  (I have
heard that in some European countries until very recently or even now
expecting women stayed or stay at home.)  Was it that the teaching
positions were considered a way of supporting unmarried women, so that it
would be unfair to others for a woman to keep one once she was supported
by a husband?  In the Great Depression some governments and private firms
in the U.S.  refused to hire a woman who had an employed husband, father,
or brother, but this was an emergency measure and not as far as I know the
norm before or after.  (On the other hand anti-nepotism laws, whether
designed for sharing out the jobs or to prevent corruption, kept a lot of
American academic women from pursuing their careers once they were married
until they were dismantled in the 60s or 70s.)  Another example of
regarding schoolteaching jobs as a sort of planned social welfare: at one
point African-Americans in one of the Northern states asked for a
resegrated school system to provide jobs for college educated black young

Allen W. Thrasher

The opinions expressed do not represent those of my employer.

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