I loved many of Rumer Godden’s books as a child and her writing style in this memoir of life in northern India (now part of Bangladesh, since partition) during the period 1914-1920 is just as lyrical and evocative.
“TUTIS” was written in 1966; here is the author’s memory of Indian women in 1914 (my use of bold):
“The two societies, English and Indian, did not often intermingle then except in the larger towns where there were more cultured circles. It was partly prejudice, partly because it was so difficult; Indian women, who play such a prominent and vital part in political and social life now, were still inhibited, most of them still sheltered and their husbands would hardly ever bring them – and when they did come it was awkward. Hindu wives tended to be even more orthodox in eating than their husbands; they were trained to silence rather than conversation and many of them disliked contact with westerners while most upper class Muslim women were in strict purdah”.
Fascinating to consider the changes brought about since then.