Irawati Karve

Irawati Karve

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Category: Literature

Irawati Karve Profile

  • Name:
  • Irawati Karve
  • Born:
  • December 15, 1905
  • Died:
  • August 11, 1970
  • Father:
  • Ganesh Hari Karmar-kar
  • Spouse:
  • Dinkar Karve

Irawati Karve Biography

Irawati Karve was an Indian anthropologist, educationist, and a writer. She was the daughter-in-law of Maharshi Dhondo Keshav Karve. She was India's first women anthropologist, when this sector was still in developing stage in India and several countries. She was named after the Irawaddy river in Burma where her father worked for several years. Her daughter Gauri Deshpande is a noted Marathi writer


Irawati Karve was born in Burma (present Myanmar) on December 15, 1905. Her father, Ganesh Hari Karmar-kar worked in the Burma Cotton Company. Her schooling was done at Huzur Paga boarding school for girls in Pune. Shakuntala Paranjapye, daughter of R. P. Paranjapye was her classmate. She stayed at Shakuntala’s home during her school days as Shakuntala’s mother liked her very much and wanted to bring her up as second child. It was during her home stay with Shakuntala’s family when she was introduced to anthropology by judge Balakram.


After schooling, Karve received post-graduation degree in sociology from Mumbai University in 1928 and a doctorate in anthropology from Berlin, Germany in 1930. Once returned, she worked as lecturer. She was the head of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Deccan College, Pune. She became the president of Anthropology Division of the National Science Congress held in New Delhi in 1947. Hindu Society - an interpretation (1961), Kinship Organization in India (1953), Maharashtra -Land and People (1968) and Yuganta are her noted works. Yuganta won Sahitya Academy Award in 1968.


She was married to Dinkar was an educator and a Principal of Fergusson College. The couple has a son Anand who runs an NGO organization, Aarti in Pune right now and her youngest daughter Gauri Deshpande is a noted Marathi writer. Maharshi Dhondo Keshav Karve was her father-in-law. Nandini Nimbkar is a distinguished alumna of University of Florida is her granddaughter.

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Updated: December 24, 2013

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