Mary Searle-Chatterjee is a retired Social Anthropologist, author and editor of academic books on India, including Contextualizing Caste. She has also published travel, opinion and humorous features. Her cross-cultural interest has always been combined with exploration of her own social and historical roots. Hence this personal narrative, Dancing to an Indian Tune.
Born in London in 1942, on Empire Day, inspired by the ascent of Everest in 1953, the young innocent dreamed of Tibet. Ten years later she began studying Indian philosophy and religion for two years at Banaras Hindu University in Varanasi. A return journey overland alone by public transport in 1969 (the first of three) led to a dramatic change in her life.
My previous books are academic studies related to India and anthropology (see below). This does not mean that my writing is grimly academic all the time. Three of my comic pieces (nothing to do with India) were shortlisted in in the Women in Comedy Festival Comedy Writing Competition in 2017; I perform comic monologues at local venues, and in an earlier phase of my life, broadcast humorous travel pieces on BBC radio, WomanÃ¢â¬â¢s Hour. I have also published travel and opinion pieces in the national press.
My grimmer publications include Reversible Sex Roles: the special case of Banaras Sweepers, Pergamon, 1981; Contextualising Caste (ed.), Blackwells, 1994; Religion, Language and Power (ed.), Routledge, 2008.