Two puzzles of modern IndiaÃ¢â‚¬â€one well known, the other
overlookedÃ¢â‚¬â€form the core of this book.
For fifty years, the
state of Kerala has been famed, first as a home of Communists, then as a
perplexing Ã¢â‚¬Ëœmodel of developmentÃ¢â‚¬â„¢. But why Communists? And why
development, especially in a place where the economy usually
underperformed even lowly national averages? Part of an answer lies in
the unusual place of women in Kerala and their changing role in the
past 200 years.
Another part lies in the other, often
under-analyzed focus of this book: media and communication. Printing and
publishing in Indian languagesÃ¢â‚¬â€and accompanying questions of literacy
and language identityÃ¢â‚¬â€present tantalizing puzzles.
were first collected in the 1950s, KeralaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s people have been IndiaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s
greatest newspaper consumers. Do literacy and newspapers mobilize people
for political action or does politicization make people into newspaper
readers? To what extent do media wait on consumer capitalism before
they break into the countryside to become truly mass media, as
they have in India in the past thirty years?
Modernity ponders these questions, first from the perspective of
Kerala, often a forerunner of developments elsewhere, and then at an
all-India level. Readers intrigued by questions of development,
communications, politics, and the role of women will find in this
collection stories that surprise and arguments that provoke.
Various strands exist in the tangled texture of our plural
existenceÃ¢â‚¬â€language, translation, religion, politics, gender, caste,
community, films, migration, and nostalgia for a lost home. Elusive Terrain weaves them together in thirteen essays addressing diverse issues pertaining to literature and culture in modern India.
Ã¢â‚¬ËœLocality of CultureÃ¢â‚¬â„¢, the first section, examines a few of these
strands in the context of the present and looks at literary debates
that cut across regional barriers in India. The essays in the second
section, Ã¢â‚¬ËœUses of the PastÃ¢â‚¬â„¢, go back in time to inquire into aspects of
religion, the construction of the nation, and forming of community
identities that constitute our past.
The concerns reflected in the volume are too elusive to be neatly
labelled. Though written at different times, the essays are linked by
the point of view of a bilingual Indian reader. Bypassing global
categories like Ã¢â‚¬ËœpostcolonialÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ or Ã¢â‚¬ËœpostmodernÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ they look at the way
ideas travel across language and region, and how cultural memory is
This is a path breaking examination of the relationship between the
postcolonial democratic Indian nation-state and Indian womenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s actual
needs and lives. The author combines feminist theory and postcolonial
studies to show how the state is central to understanding womenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s
identities, and how reciprocally, women and womenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s issues affect the
stateÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s role and function.
This book addresses the ways in which law has been implicated in
contemporary debates dealing with sexuality, culture, and ‘different’
subjects – including women, sexual minorities, Muslims, and the
Law is analysed as a discursive terrain wherein these different
subjects are excluded or included in the postcolonial present on
terms reminiscent of colonialism and its treatment of difference.
Bringing a feminist legal analysis to her discussion, Kapur is
relentless in her critique of how colonial discourses, cultural
essentialism, and victim rhetoric are reproduced in universal, liberal
projects such as human rights and international law, as well as in the
legal regulation of sexuality and culture in a postcolonial context.
Drawing her examples from contemporary India, she demonstrates
the theoretical and disruptive possibilities that the postcolonial
subject brings to international law, human rights, and domestic law.
In the process, she challenges existing constructions of the nation,
sexuality, cultural authenticity, and women’s subjectivity.
Widow burning in India, also known as sati, has been for centuries a widely known and hotly debated phenomenon, both inside and outside the country. But its more universal anthropological, religious, social and political contexts have been neglected.
In this book, sati is studied for the first time in a really global context. It is considered as one among many manifestations of following into death within a ritualized and public act, voluntarily or involuntarily. The decisive feature is thus not the manner of dying, but the function and the intent: that is, to accompany a dead person into the hereafter.
The custom is shown to have existed in various forms in most parts of the world and to have combined strong beliefs in the hereafter with power struggles in this world, both between the sexes and between social groups.
About the Author
Fisch, Jorg, Professor of Modern History, University of Zurich
In the stories where the Mahabharata speaks of life, women occupy a central place. In living what life brings to them, the women of the Mahabharata show, that the truth in which one must live, is however, not a simple thing: nor can there be any one absolute of statement about it. Each one of them, of her own way, is a teacher to mankind as to what truth and goodness in their many dimensions are. The twelve women of the Mahabharata whose life stories make up this book, range for Shakuntala, savitri and Damayanti who are known only in sketches; from Sulabha, Suvarchala, Uttara Disha, Madhavi and Kapoti who are hardly known, and finally to Draupadi, known widely but frozen in popular culture and writing in two or three standard cliched images. The women of the Mahabharata are incarnate in the women of today. To tread the stories of their relation-ships is to read the stories of our relationships. They demand from the men of today the same reflection on their perception, attitudes, and pretensions too, as they did from the men in their lives, and equally often from other men full of pretensions, even if they were kings and sages. Badrinath’s ability to combine respect and love and to write with impressive scholarship and grace will unforgettably transform our experience of reading the Mahabharata.
Characterized by high levels of female literacy and life expectancy for women, the state of Kerala has been hiled as the epitome of gender development in India. Yet disquieting evidence on widespread sex selective abortions, soaring dowry demands and high rates of crime and domestic violence against women makes it imperative that a fresh look be taken at the problem of gender relations in Kerala.
The Enigma of the Kerala Woman: A Failed Promise of Literacy consists of multi-disciplinary research carried out on various aspects of gender relations in Kerala by scholars from a range of social and economic setings. The introductory chapter provides an overarching framework for the individual studies. Breaking new ground in analytical and methodological dimensions of Women’s Studies, the paoers collectively seek to provide an answer to the enigma of the Keral woman.
The book has a rich bodyu of data which provides comparative figures relating to development indices for Kerala in relation to some other states as well as India as a whole.
The book comes alive through two separate sections. The first one is devolted to case studies of women from the area of research and the second to photographs of Kerala women in various social settings with detailed anthropological captions. The two sections complement each other in supporting the main theme of the book.
This book explores how, in early modern Malayalee society, the emerging notion of the individual (as distinct from an identity based on jati, region etc.) was linked to the vision of a society based on gender differences. The process of individualizing thus also became a process of en-gendering. Social reform claimed to set `free
This book presents the research findings of Action Research on Trafficking in Women and Children in India (ARTWAC) that involved the United Nations Development Fund for Women, the National Human Rights Commission and the Institute of Social Sciences. Through a human rights perspective, the first section of this book analyses the data generated by ARTWAC and gives detailed recommendations for better judicial interventions, law enforcement and community participation in anti-trafficking strategies. The second section contains a rich collection of case studies, giving an on-ground picture of how exploiters have little or no respect for the rights of trafficking victims.