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How can the women-as-victim be read as a resisting subject? Real and Imagined Women explores the position of the female subject in a postcolonial state. Rajeswari Sunder Rajan investigates the problematic relationship between the theory' of the first world' against the matter' of the third' - that is, she brings postcolonial theory to bear on the politics of gender, religion and the culture of contemporary India, focussing on the practice and the representaion of sati. Her writing engages with such subjects as pre-colonial Tamil and Indian texts and colonial Imperialist texts; Indian writings and films; women's victimization by forms of sanctioned violence and their fraught, if passive, subject-position; contemporary novels by Indian women writers, and the elite' women-as-leader, focussing on the discourse generated by Indira Ghandi. Real and Imagined Women explores a series of fascinating and important questions for feminists working with postcolonial theory to offer a challenging mode of reading resistance' which destroys the stereotyped and sensationalised humanist image of the third world woman' as victim.