Most studies of the role of women in the Indian national Movement have concentrated on he contribution made by only a handful of prominent women leaders such as Sorajini Naidu, Vijaylakshmi Pandit and Aruna Asaf Ali. Less acknowledged but equally forceful was the participation of hundreda of women at the local level- out in the streets as well as inside their homes. This book significantly focuses on the nationalist participation of ordinary middle-class women in India freedom movement especially in the United provinces.
While capturing the nationalist expression of women in the public and domestic spheres, the author
·Investigates how women engaged with nationalists politics despite constraints like the purdah system, social backwardness and high rates of female illiteracy in the region;
·Identifies two parallel process that were at work: (a) the domestication of the public sphere- how women participated in the streets without compromising on their domestic values; and (b) the politicization of the domestic sphere- how women handled situation in the family when nationalism entered households through the activities of the their husbands and sons; and
·Shows how women used the symbolic repertoire of the national movement and the political languages of Gandhi to facilitate their own participation.
To construct the nationalist narratives of unheard voices, the author goes beyond conventional sources of history such as official and archival records. Instead she employs a diverse range of materials-including oral narratives, poetry, cartoons, vernacular magazines and private correspondence- inorder to let these women speak for themselves.
Drawing upon field studies in northern India's Hindi-Sanskrit heartland the author also sheds light on the domestic lives of middle-class caught women caught in the swirling vortex of political emotion. She discusses issues of contestation and subordination within patriarchal structures, and the contexts within which women's political consciousness are shaped. The book will be of interest to scholars of history, anthropology, women's studies and politics both for its contents and for the methodology it employs.
About the Author:
She is the Lecturer in the Department of Sociology at he University of Bristol UK. She has previously held teaching and research positions at the Development Studies and Gender Institute, London School of Economics and Political Science. Her research interest lie in three specific areas: gendered discourse of colonialism and nationalism; gendered violence in India and the UK; and qualitative research methodology. Suruchi has published widely in referred journals including Feminist Review, Women's Studies International forum, journal of Gender Studies, Women's History, International journal of Social Research Methodology and oral history journal. She has made several media presentations to Radio Feminist ATTAC, BBC Radio Bristol and BBC World.
|List of Tables and Figures||9|
|Foreword by Zoya Hasan||11|
|List of Abbreviations||17|
|Chapter One||Theoretical Engagements and Disengagements||40|
|Chapter Two||Political Environments in India||54|
|Chapter Three||Private Values and public Lives: The Domestication of Public Participation||69|
|Chapter Four||The Colonial Prison||140|
|Chapter Five||Politicization of the Domestic Sphere||170|
|Chapter Six||Re-Negotiating The Boundaries Of Identity And Domesticity||217|
|About the Author||305|