A Passionate Life is a collection of essays on Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay, edited by Ellen Carol Dubois and Vinay Lal. Here is a woman, born in 1903, in a rural area in South West India, not only breaking every social and cultural norm of that era, but walking into the highest places in India’s freedom struggle. There are hardly any substantial writings by the prominent modern history scholars on this woman’s life.
Rokeya Sakhawat Hossain was first and foremost a very courageous woman who dared to fight against all odds and achieve for women a status of dignity, self-reliance and creative agency in a time and milieu that was hostile, inhospitable and even against the equal rights of men and women.
The structural violence at both the public and personal levels that Indian women face routinely in the physical world has taken the better part of four decades to recognize, articulate and resist. Today, it continues to remain one of the biggest crises of Indian social life, taking on new forms and permeating new ecologies. Foremost among these new ecologies is the cyber space.
When, during the first half of this century, art surrendered to a revivalist ethos because a subject people had to cling to memories of past greatness to forget their current humiliation, art criticism mostly amounted to singing the greatness of the legend, poetry or epoch of which the paintings were illustrations.
Rahul Ramagundam teaches at the Centre for the Study of Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policy, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi. His book, Including the Socially Excluded: India’s Experience with Caste, Gender and Poverty explores the politics around the issues of Poverty and Exclusion. Some chapters are updated versions of articles published in various journals and publications, while others are based on studies conducted in the field by the author mostly in the Gaya region of Bihar, said to be among the poorest districts in the country.
This edited anthology is a timely intervention that aims to contribute to the body of scholarship on formations of desire and intimacy framed by the asymmetries of global contact and interpenetration. In order to establish the continuing potential of queer theory as a transformative body of knowledge this anthology brings together an impressive range of scholars from differing locations who analyse the links between law, culture and queer politics.