A Personal/Political Journey
A. Mangai
NEGOTIATING COMPLEXITIES: A COLLECTION OF FEMINIST ESSAYS by Bina Srinivasan Promilla and Company in association with Bibliophile South Asia, 2008, 222 pp., price not stated
January 2008, volume 32, No XXXII

A collection of eight essays written by the author at different points of time have been compiled together in this book. Bina Srinivasan, the author acknowledges that things have changed; she has moved on. But she would rather publish the articles without modifications and hopes that “While I would wish these essays to be taken as one whole component of a personal and political journey, I also request that they be understood in the backdrop of contextual alterations have informed them”. The eight essays deal with disparate areas such as Muslim Personal Law, disaster- management, violence against women, Narmada Dam and development discourses and social displacement. Strikingly, the first essay is on the impact of Muslim personal laws on Muslim women’s lives in Vadodara, the most infamous town in India today for the worst kind of fundamentalism at work.

Most of the essays are based on actual fieldwork and the article on social displacement has given us the life stories of many women about what and how family and marriage as systems have worked in their lives. This aspect makes the book special as one can imagine a name and a face to the views expressed here. The paper on gender mainstreaming was given at a session in Manila and the author notes that it is not strictly an academic research paper.

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