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When we talk about feminist authors, we directly go to the likes of Virginia Woolf or Toni Morrison. Indian names rarely come up in the list of feminist writers. The truth is that Indian writers were a little slow in catching up with the Feminist movement that raged worldwide. India was still under British rule and too rooted in age old tradition.
The concept of feminist writing was started by men in India. It was later caught on by women writers. So the first Indian feminist writers were actually men. Here is a list of the most notable feminist Indian writers.
Tagore was one of the first known Indian writers whose writings had a marked feminist angle to them. His main characters were more often than not women. Some of Tagore's novels like 'Choker Bali' (A Grain Of Sand) and Ghare Bhaire (The Home and Outside) are known for its bold female characters. Like Shakespeare, Tagore made his female characters more than mere decorations.
Kamini Roy was a Suffragette and the first woman to graduate with Honours. She was a Bengali poet and a renowned feminist. She was a champion for women's education and voting rights. 'Nirmalaya' is one of her best known works.
Ismat Chugtai is one of the major Urdu writers in India. She is known for fierce, funny and sardonic treatment of feminist literature. Her collection of short stories have a definite feminist vein. She was even dragged to court for writing the story called 'Lihaaf' or the 'Quilt'.
Kamala Das is an Indian writer who writes in English. She was one of the first Indian feminist writers to write in English. Kamala Das's poems and fiction explore female sexuality intensively and present them fearlessly to the readers.
Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
Chitra Divakar is one of the best known Indian writers who have feminist ideology. Among her famous works is the 'Palace Of Illusions'. This book Mahabharata told from the perspective of Draupadi. Not many writers have dared to experiment with a bold subject like that.
Lalithambika Antharjanam is a Malayalam writer who is known for her keen sense of feminist literature. Her best known work is 'Angnisakshi'.
These are some of the elemental feminist writers in India. If you know any other Indian feminist writers who write in regional languages, then please add to the list.