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|Born||December 15, 1905
|Died||August 11, 1970|
Irawati Karve (Devanagari: इरावती कर्वे; December 15, 1905 – August 11, 1970) was an Indian anthropologist, educationist, and a writer from Maharashtra, India. She was India's first women antropologist , at a time when anthropology and sociology were still developing as university disciplines.
She was born in 1905 and named after the Irawaddy river in Burma where her father, Ganesh Hari Karmar-kar, worked in the Burma Cotton Company. At seven she was sent to the Huzur Paga boarding school for girls in Pune. One of her class-mates at the school was Shakuntala Paranjapye, daughter of R.P.Paranjapye, Principal of Fergusson College. Shakuntala’s mother, so the family story goes, saw Irawati at the school and wanted to bring her home as a second child . Shakuntala’s mother took Iravati to stay with her family , where she was introduced to anthropology by judge Balakram .
Education and career
She presided over the Anthropology Division of the National Science Congress held in New Delhi in 1947.
She wrote in both Marathi and English on topics pertaining to sociology and anthropology, as well as on nonscientific topics.
The following are some of Karve's books:
- Hindu Society - an interpretation (1961)
(It is a study of Hindu society based on data which Karve had collected in her field trips, and her study of pertinent texts in Hindi, Marathi, Sanskrit, Pali and Prakrit. In the book, she discussed the pre-Aryan existence of the caste system in Hinduism, and traced its development to its present form.)
- Kinship Organization in India (1953)
(It is a study of various social institutions in India.)
- Maharashtra -Land and People (1968)
(It describes various social institutions and rituals in Maharashtra.)
(This study of the main characters of the Mahabharata treats them as historical figures and uses their attitudes and behavior to gain an understanding of the times in which they lived. Karve wrote the book first in Marathi, and later translated it into English. The book won a Sahitya Academy Award in 1968.)
- Paripurti (in Marathi)
- Bhovara (in Marathi)
- Amachi Samskruti (in Marathi)
- Samskruti (in Marathi)
- Gangajal (in Marathi)
Karve was the daughter-in-law of Maharshi Dhondo Keshav Karve. Her husband Dinkar was an educator and a Principal of Fergusson College. A son, Ānand, of Dinkar and Irawati, runs an NGO in Pune called Arti. Her youngest daughter Gauri Deshpande was a well known Marathi writer of short stories and poems. Her eldest daughter Jai Nimbkar who lives in Phaltan is also a writer of novels and short stories. Jai's daughter Nandini Nimbkar is a distinguished alumna of University of Florida, USA. Priyadarshini Karve, Anand's daughter has been working on developing biomass energy technologies and their dissemination in rural areas since 1991.