'adolescence' in traditional India

Paul Kiparsky kiparsky at CSLI.STANFORD.EDU
Sat Jul 9 15:58:30 UTC 2011

This has some relevant material:

Deshpande, Kamalabai
The child in ancient India
S.N.D.T. Women's College, Poona, 1936

It's a dissertation from Prague directed by Winternitz.  BTW I've been told the author was one of the first women from India to have gotten a Ph.D. in Europe.


On Jul 9, 2011, at 1:29 AM, Thrasher, Allen wrote:

> Has anyone done a study of the effect on the presence, absence, or different nature of adolescence (add scare quotes to last word?) in traditional India, taking into account that until recently most people there were married at or before puberty and took up marital sexual life at puberty or shortly after?  I would think the convenient availability of a socially and morally approved sexual outlet at home would have profound effects in differentiating that period of life from Western Europe and its extensions, where for centuries few people of either sex except maybe royalty and aristocracy got married before their twenties, and usually in the second half thereof for men.  Granted that at least in Hindu homes the young couple have to play at ignoring each other, and there is mother-in-law's jealousy, but still the whole family including mother-in-law wants grandchildren and therefore presumably the acts that produce them.  Maybe there's some classical treatment of this but I've never come across it.  On the other hand, Gandhi certainly seems to have had an adolescence in spite of having a wife, and the subhasitas complain about the follies of young men. 
> Allen
> Allen W. Thrasher, Ph.D.
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