What desires do revolutionary women nurture? Are political actions and commitments of women political actors ‘driven by their romantic desires’? Did revolutionary women find a fulfillment of their ‘personal and political desires’ in the Communist Party of India (CPI)? Can their desires at all be separated from the political worlds that they inhabit or were they uniquely integrated?
Feminist migration scholars have long argued that available quantitative data in India deny women economic agency by classifying their migration as secondary or associated with men. Thus, although women constitute more than eighty percent of all migrants, they have been considered unimportant for two related reasons: women migrate because they marry, so their migration is a social, rather than an economic phenomenon; surveys collect only one reason as the motivation to migrate and with women, marriage is often cited as the predominant reason.
Disability, Gender and the Trajectories of Power is a collection of articles written by authors and activists working on the larger issues of disability and gender. The volume makes a valid argument for considering rights of disabled women from an intersecting lens and advocates for a two-pronged action to be taken up both in terms of inclusion in policy and eradication of exclusion and stigma from the lives of women with disabilities.
A very well researched book, the basic premise of Jyoti Atwal’s Real and Imagined Widows is located in the ‘absence’ of a single dominant cultural practice that could shape and determine the question of widow remarriage in the vast and diverse region of the United Provinces. The author closely maps the castes/tribes in different geo-economic regions of this province to define the variations existing among widows ranging from Sati, to prohibition of remarriage, the remarriage and the sale of widows, etc.
This edited volume by Ratna M Sudarshan and Rajib Nandi is a collection of ten contributions by Ranjani K Murthy, Pallavi Gupta, Srinidhi Raghavan, Sonal Zaveri, Shubh Sharma, Renu Khanna, Enakshi Ganguly Thukral, Venu Arora, Seema Kulkarni, Sneha Bhat, Vasundhara Kaul, Neha Sanwal and the editors themselves, who are feminist researchers, practitioners and evaluators associated with the four-year research and capacity building programme…
Never before has family law come under such a heightened discourse in India and immense global scrutiny. Judgments delivered by the higher judiciary and law/policy changes have recently informed, shaped and re-drawn the contours of family law on a wide range of issues including physical and mental cruelty within marriage, adultery, child custody, adoption, surrogacy, financial arrangements within marriage and upon divorce, succession, inheritance and property rights.
With Muslim Women’s Quest for Justice, Mengia Hong Tschalaer enters the complex world of rights of Muslim women guided by very pertinent research questions. She examines this world through the lens of three leaders of women’s organizations in Lucknow. For Muslim women, it is a world fraught with hostility in family and community on questions of rights within marriage, and its breakdown.
The volume Gender, Caste and the Imagination of Equality edited by Anupama Rao reverberates with conversations on several tracks that speak of the complexity of cultural politics in a deeply patriarchal society structured by Hindu majoritarianism and caste. In the context of a Hindu majoritarian caste order, Khalid Anis Ansari examines the pasmanda critique of the majority-minority and its pursuit of transformative constitutionalism and democratic symbolism
Ensuring gender equality has been an articulated commitment, and the goals for gender equality have been defined, redefined and refined over time. Affirmative policies and programmes have facilitated important changes with crucial implications for the status of women. However, it has been difficult to arrive at definite conclusions on the impact of these interventions towards the attainment of a gender-equitable social, economic and political order due to contradictory trends and patterns.
One of the first thoughts that occur after going through the stories in the book under review is how similar are the stories of women situated in India and Pakistan. Popular notions in India look at a Pakistani woman’s image as a burqa-clad creature whose life is controlled by the men in her life. Further, Pakistani society is drawn as a cage in this imagery where women’s lives are ruled by the tenets of Islam. She is imagined as a woman without any agency.
What greater pleasure than to discover a wonderful writer and read an old favourite! Mitra Phookan is a delightful author from Assam whose stories in this collection are a sample of life set in a more leisurely pace and space. They touch the now and the here but the narrative technique is like a breath of fresh air blowing off the cobwebs but gentle and whispering in its flow.
The book written in Rakhshanda Jalil’s inimitable style is about the Progressive Urdu poet Shahryar and is generously scattered with his poetry and personal memoirs which makes an interesting read. The book reveals much that is interesting and unknown about Shahryar the poet and the person, whose personality defied any kind of labelling.
I first encountered the writings of Saif Mahmood on the pages of First City magazine. Apart from the pecuniary challenges it presented a University student, everything about the magazine was very novel. The design, photographs and the presentation was very attractive; the stories were inventive, columnists diverse, and subjects extended from newly arrived migrant at the Nizamuddin station to the poets of the hoary past.
A few years after I had joined…
As J. Krishnamurti and Educational Practice: Social and Moral Vision for Inclusive Education edited by Meenakshi Thapan enters circulation, I wondered how to write a non-conventional review of it. That is, to outline the politics in which it can be located and read, rather than say what it contains and what it does not.
“From the mundane to the marked, everything goes through a scanner in the head from the viewpoint of being a Muslim. And living the Muslim tag. You cannot run from it. You cannot hide from it. You cannot embrace it.” (p. 68). The author, Nazia Erum, runs a fashion start up. She is an educated, working woman, living in a metropolitan city.
This book is a study of madrasas and the role they play in educational attainment and construction of Muslim identity in modern India. It is unique in focusing on the educational journey of Muslim girls where much attention has been paid to boys and young men. It looks beyond madrasas as institutions of religious learning and instead focuses on the role they play in addressing Muslim girls’ educational aspirations.
Nandita Haksar book, The Flavours of Nationalism, reminds us that food is not just a personal affair, it is also politically charged. In this brilliantly composed memoir Haksar writes about how food shaped her ideas about politics and culture and at the same time introduced her to the notions of communalism, patriarchy and nationalism which were all embedded in the way that food was prepared, shared and consumed.
Authored, translated and about to be reviewed by a Bengali (a curious coincidence, indeed), this book by Ghulam Murshid, a well-known Britain based academic of Bangladeshi origin, is yet another addition to the large corpus of writings on the Bengalis. It offers, as Murshid says, ‘a general idea of Bengali culture’. But this thousand years old culture has neither been uniform nor unchanging; all cultures, for that matter, show exactly the same traits.
The importance of a book on social mobility in India can hardly be over-emphasized when nearly three decades of economic reforms are to be completed. A crucial premise of ‘economic liberalization’ was that deregulation of various aspects of the economy would create new opportunities, which were hitherto chained by the nexus of the traditional capitalists with the bureaucracy on one hand and government monopolies in certain areas apparently restricting dynamism on the other.