Vintage Hardcover Mother India by Katherine Mayo, 1930
Controversial, vintage hardcover of Mother India by Katherine Mayo from 1930. An interesting look into the thoughts of the time and shows how much society has changed.
Written in opposition to the Indian demands for self-rule and independence from British rule, the book pointed to the treatment of India's women, the untouchables, animals, dirt, and the character of its nationalistic politicians. A large part of the book dealt with the problems resulting from the marriage of young girls. This was considered to be one of the main causes that led to an uproar across India after many newspapers declaring it scurrilous libel against Hindus and Hinduism. Mayo singled out the allegedly rampant and fatally weakening sexuality of its males to be at the core of all problems, leading to masturbation, rape, homosexuality, prostitution, and venereal diseases.
Mayo's book created outrage across India, and it was burned along with her effigy. Mayo's book Mother India was criticized by Mahatma Gandhi as a "report of a drain inspector sent out with the one purpose of opening and examining the drains of the country to be reported upon". The book prompted over fifty angry books and pamphlets to be published to highlight Mayo's errors and false perception of Indian society, which had become a powerful influence on the American people's view of India.
Critics of Mayo accuse her works of being racist, pro-imperialist and Indophobic tracts that "expressed all the dominant prejudices of colonial society." Annie Besant called Mother India "a remarkably wicked book slandering the whole Indian people". The book has also been cited as an example of feminist rhetoric being appropriated for advancing western imperialism and racism.