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Life History as a method os Social Research - Essay Example

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Each one of us has a story to tell, stories which we have lived .stories are simply our organized memories and experiences put in order. They might be oral or written and ach story whether told or untold is a part of history. "Oral history "is a complete subject in itself which deals with systematically collecting, organizing and interpreting a living person's testimonial about his life and experiences…
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Download file to see previous pages Choosing a candidate for my life history interview was one of the toughest decisions. As I sat on my study desk wondering who could give me a valuable insight on a society that existed more than half a century ago, I was startled by the shrill ring of the phone. It was my childhood friend who was of Indian origin .he had called to invite me over to his house as it happened to be an Indian festival and his grandma had dished out a myriad of delicacies which he wanted me to try out. And that was the moment a brilliant idea crossed my head. His grandma! Nobody could be a better subject for my interview- a different country altogether with a plethora of varied cultures and all of them in stark contrast with our own! Before I knew I was at his doorstep with my stationary, Dictaphone and artillery of questions I had framed on my way. To my disappointment, the going was not destined to be smooth. My friend's grandma is a very shy and reserved lady and she felt a bit awkward and uncomfortable when I approached her with my request. To start with, she just couldn't comprehend as to why someone would want to interview her and believed that she had nothing worthy enough to talk about. She also looked quite intimidated by my Dictaphone and elaborate stationary. After an hour of persuasion, pleading and begging she consented but only if I promised to safeguard her anonymity. Therefore, hereon I am going to call her "Gran". After a "warm up" session of friendly chit- chat; she gradually opened up and let me into her life story.
Today, for me she was not a friend's grandmother but a woman who represented her entire community and whose words and opinions I was probably going to generalize to a whole population. I read quite bit about the plight of woman in India during yesteryears and the oppression the faced, so I decided to probe her on the issue.
Gran turned 70 this summer. She was born to an average marwadi Indian family in early 1940's and raised among two younger brothers. Her childhood saw the period when India and Pakistan were undergoing a partition. She did school till about fifth grade and then was forced to drop out because her parents could not afford to send three children to school and since they felt it was more important to educate a male child , she was the obvious choice for sacrifice. Girls were at that time never really considered a permanent member of the family since they married and moved out to their husbands house, thus investing on them in any way seemed to make no sense to parents. She however is self-educating herself out of her brother's textbooks whenever she could. "I simply loved math's, I think I would have made a good teacher!" she says with a glint in her eyes. She was barely into her teenage ( which was common in 1950's) when she was married to a guy she had never seen or known and within a day her life took drastic turn - a whole new family, an unfamiliar city, a stranger she was supposed to call "husband" and spend the rest of her life with! . It was not long before it dawned upon her that her in-laws had demanded a huge amount in cash and kind to accept her as their daughter -in -law. These demands kept increasing in frequency and outrageousness and her family had no choice but to oblige because a woman abandoned by her husband and her family ha ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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