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Fatima Meer’s memoir, Prison Diary: One Hundred and Thirteen Days, 1976 (2001), and the short story ‘Train to Hyderabad’ (Meer 2010) as an anthologised entity drawn from it, symbolise women’s isolation under male scrutiny, male rage at female autonomy and the compulsion to gag female critique of male government whether domestic, provincial or national. Behind the historical fact of colonial pseudo-slavery termed indenture, which was not gender-specific, lies the surviving, wide-spread and less-recognised phenomenon of female subjugation which may be termed female indenture. This reading of ‘Train to Hyderabad’ re-enacts a liberatory process: freeing the text in a way which reflects Meer’s own scripting of her work in a pattern of self-denial and socialist concern for the oppressed about her.
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