Popular Western images of Indian women range from submissive brides behind their veils to the powerful, active women of Indian politics. In this lively and unique book, Patricia and Roger Jeffery present a different perspective on women's lives. Focusing on the mundane rather than the exotic, they explore the complex interplay between the power of social structures to constrain individuals and the ways women negotiate these constraints to carve out places for themselves.Based on information collected by the authors during their research in villages in Bijnor District, western Uttar Pradesh, the volume offers eight life histories of Hindu and Muslim women. The women's life histories present a variety of class positions and domestic circumstances, illustrating many aspects of north Indian village life. Interspersed with thematic discussions composed of dialogues, episodes, and songs, the life histories deal with topics of vital concern for women in rural north India: the birth of children, worries about dowry, arranging weddings, sexual politics in marriage, relationships with in-laws, relationships with natal kin, and widowhood.