Women’s movement

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Women’s movement


The term “women’s movement” does not refer to any single, unified movement or entity. It is made up of several movements based on a wide range of issues. This involves using different approaches at different time points. It is a term used to describe “the feeling that all these movements” are working towards the emancipation of women in some way or the other. These movements aim at reforms in public life, educational sector, workplace and home, in short, they aim at a complete transformation of the society.


Women’s movements can be termed as conscious and collective movements that try to deal with a set of problems and needs specific to women. These needs or problems are, in turn, created by a socio-cultural system that puts them at a marked disadvantage compared to men. According to Urvashi Butalia (cited in Shubha Chacko, p. I). Thousands of years ago, in 800 BCE, legend has it that Gargi, a female philosopher, led a philosophical tournament at the court of the Hindu king Janaka. He challenged a new competitor, Yajnavalkya, a man. He has said: “Just as an expert archer attacks his enemy with piercing arrows, I attack you with two examination questions. Answer them if you can”.


Defeated by the questions, Yajnavalkya resorted to the same answer that people have been using for thousands of years: He told Gargi – just keep quiet. Thousands of years later, the number of challenges posed by women to men holding power over a long period of time has multiplied. Standing alone in the men’s gathering asking two questions is no longer a gargi. Instead, Gargi’s descendants number in the thousands. He has a thousand questions, and he is no longer alone. Nor are they ready to remain silent any longer.

According to Rajendra Singh, any theoretical perspective for the study of women’s movements and their strategy should include the following propositions:

In general, resistance and protest against unjust structures of power and institutions of patriarchy and patriarchal oppression of women begins with oppression itself. These atrocities are ever-present and all-pervading.

Resistance to deliberate rejection of injustice and practices of oppression typically goes through phases of overt expression of resistance and latent phases (when overt resistance is not visible). These stages depend on the historical experiences of the societies.

These forms of resistance overtly and covertly determine the methods, strategies and techniques adopted by women to fight for their identity, dignity, self-defense and social justice. Sometimes, women’s movements involve “silent warfare” waged by women to gain control over men in everyday life.

Women have resisted in patriarchal societies, usually because of silent and unorganized disenchantment, suppressed feelings of rejection, and gender injustice. These factors have led women to resist the erosion of identity on an individual level, and may have resulted in an organized outburst.

Reveal the women’s movements. They may remain passive in the context of organized movements, but are active on an individual level, and make conscious use of a whole range of methods such as art, trickery and trickery against men. These methods are usually adopted by women over men to deal with day-to-day situations of harassment.

For any individual resistance to become an organized open movement, it has to pass through various stages of maturity. This process involves sharing personal experiences of resistance with other individuals who have been placed in similar life situations. It also includes a stage where resistance becomes apparent or becomes an external issue, and a collective group emerges. An ideology that rejects negatively defined authority, leadership, mobilization, and communication emerges. Progress from a disorganized and silent individual resistance to an open and organized women’s movement has been uneven and difficult. It is also difficult for an individual protester to be part of an organized movement.


In the everyday life situations of women in the male dominated world of contemporary societies, the art of resistance at the individual level, as well as organized mass movements co-exist and even work together, although they are conflicting practices and processes. May be

Women’s studies of the 1970s and 1980s focused on treating them as autonomous human beings from the perspective of family, marriage, socialization, or social status.

He is emphasizing on the identity, consciousness, subjectivity, and identity of women today. Bio-psychological foundations of his personality.


challenge to the women’s movement


It is generally believed that collective action on issues relating to women must be multi-layered, directed against multiple levels of domination such as caste, culture, ideology, and mean action both within and outside institutional frameworks . Thus, attempts are made to eliminate power both at the level of society and the state.



Challenges to the women’s movement in the context of challenges posed by globalization and communalism. To do this we must begin by looking at the category of ‘women’s movements’ and understand what it means in the Indian context. Like most social movements, the women’s movement in India is made up of many strands, which differ from each other in terms of the way women’s issues are understood, priority of issues, strategies and organizational forms, as well as collective nature. the actions they take. As scholars such as Roy (2010) point out, while specific historical periods have prioritized specific issues, broad consensus exists on what constitutes ‘transformational change’ for women.


Thus, in the Indian context, as argued by scholars such as Basu (1999), Omvedt (1993), we need to move out of the equation of feminism as movements organized by women autonomously from male-dominated organisations. is accompanied, since many forms are not included in such a formulation. Activism in the context of the struggle for democracy, nationalism and human rights, in which women ultimately raise questions of gender inequality, even if this was not their initial intention. Hence the category of ‘women’s movements’ includes not only autonomous women’s groups, but also wings of political parties, trade unions, rural mass-based organizations and left-affiliated women’s groups and mass organisations.


It is in the context of this understanding of the women’s movement that we address the question of the challenges it faced, particularly in the 1990s. This decade has been characterized as the Mandal-Masjid-World Bank years (Niranjana and Tharu 1999). The turn of the 1990s saw these three major influences on India’s economic and political landscape. While they are often lumped together, we need to remember that their coming together was conjectural rather than structural and that each meant very different pulls and pushes for the women’s movement (John 2009).


The first of these forces, known as the secular rise of caste, arose out of the Indian government’s decision to implement the Mandal Commission’s recommendations to increase reservations in government employment and higher education for Other Backward Classes (OBCs). appeared in context. It was strongly opposed by the so-called ‘forward’ classes, who had till then rejected caste in their public dealings. This permanently changed the nature and language of Indian politics. There has been a consolidation of a wide range of regional, lower-caste political parties that have subsequently emerged as important players in national politics (Menon and Nigam, 2007). In this context, caste then took center stage and in the context of the modern democratic set-up, it became possible to speak of caste without being casteist.

It was also a period of complete collapse of the ‘Nehruvian consensus’, which was seen as a vision of a self-sufficient economy based on a model of import-substitution industrialisation, a secular polity and a non-aligned foreign policy. (Menon and Nigam, ibid). This period marked the beginning of the structural adjustment program under the auspices of the IMF and the World Bank. This happened in the context of the collapse of the socialist bloc, which made neoliberal reforms inevitable.

The third major force, identified as the ‘Temple’, can be seen in the rapid rise of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party as a major contender for political power at the centre, which was formed during this time period. Inspired by a successful mobilization for The construction of a Ram temple at the disputed site in Ayodhya and leading to the demolition of the Babri Masjid in 1992. This has been seen as a new wave of communal violence against Muslim minorities in the country, a pattern repeated, most notably in Gujarat in 2002.


As scholars such as Menon and Nigam (2007) point out, however these factors arrive at this particular estimate, it is important to remember that they have a long history of development, which can be traced back to the late 70s and 80s. Is. However this conjecture has come to mark a watershed in the politics and economy of India and also in the understanding of social movements. All social movements in India, including the women’s movement, have influenced and influenced these projected factors in different ways.

have impressed. For the movement, this has thrown up challenges as well as new forms of mobilisation, new issues and strategies. we will focus here on t

The two major challenges presented by the neoliberal policy regime are also often spoken of in the context of the challenges of globalization and communalism. We are arguing that although the phenomenon of globalization and


While communalism is interlinked, they are not identical in terms of the challenges they pose and hence each of them needs to be looked at separately.

This chapter consists of four sections. In the first section, we will look at the different ways in which globalization has been understood and why it is seen as a challenge to the movement. The second section looks at the movement’s responses to the challenges of globalization, particularly through international organizing. The third section outlines feminist scholarship on the challenges of communalism and in the final section we look at the responses of the movement.


  Understanding Globalization and its Challenges to the Women’s Movement


As we saw earlier, the decade of 1990s is marked as watershed in terms of changes to be made with neo-liberal economic policies, opening up of market and economy, proliferation of media etc. Globalization has influenced the nature of social movements in general and women’s movement in particular. Social movements scholars have described these changes as a ‘decline’ in the women’s movement as the methods of organizing and activism changed (Krishnaraj 2003) specifically termed as ‘the NGOization of feminism’ (Chaudhury 2004) . Scholars such as Dietrich have argued that the loss of socialist vision, coming both from an international context of the collapse of ‘pre-existing socialism’ and from an ideological vacuum, has adversely affected the women’s movement in India in which it has been included. The ideology of ’empowerment’. He argues that in this climate, it is difficult to even think of alternatives and therefore proposes that a re-emergence of a ‘socialist vision’ which would mean ideological clarity, self-reliance and simple living is essential for a relevant politics. (Dietrich, 2003)

Scholars have pointed out how the proliferation of NGOs led to a wider restructuring of the political sphere. It also points out how the matrix of NGO-ization in India is largely non-feminist, as NGOs engage with state, donors, market and civil society actors through complex networks and relationships that span these boundaries. . (Sangri 2007) Scholars point out that the increasing participation of NGOs in each National Women’s Conference reflects the fact that the women’s movement today is a highly financed affair. (Biswas 2006)

Concerns around the expropriation of autonomy and agency for global funding imperatives, the privileging of expert knowledge and solutions on structural analyses.


A shift in power, decision-making patterns and methods, all seen as a shift from people-based, agitational political struggles to a professional project of governance, and a general fragmentation of the Indian women’s movement (Roy 2011, Jayawardene) 2009 and Alvarez 1999). It has been seen to promote temporary, careerist, “nine to five feminists” who are then seen as ‘the most obvious fallacy of the commercialization of feminism’ (De Alvis, 2009: 86).





social development activity (Kudva, 2005). It has been noted by scholars (Alvarez, 1999) that with the ‘boom’ in NGOs, there have been major changes in the character of autonomous women’s groups, which have changed in their organizational structure, funding patterns, strategies, programs and even their objectives. have also appeared. It has been argued that he focused on service




representatives of civil society (Alvarez 1999).


This has been particularly noted in the Indian case, as many autonomous women’s groups that were formed in the late 1970s and 80s, until the 90s, remained funded given the lack of organizational resources and readily available funds. NGO has been formed. This has led to a formulation that professionalization has enabled women with little or no political commitment to practice feminism as a profession rather than politics (Menon, 2004).



Women’s issues by the state The state has chosen the language of ‘gender’ where gender is equated with ‘women’, and through programs like Mahila Samakhya on the one hand and programmatic interventions like self-help groups on the other has been operated. ,

While it has been argued that it is the withdrawal of the state from ‘welfare’ that marks globalisation, we have to see that there is a clear difference between what was actually happening to the state in the 1980s and 90s. However in the 1980s, the international policy agenda, led by


Neo-liberal stances in the main international financial institutions minimized the state and reduced its powers; in the late 1990s, the state was brought back as an institution that

Took the main responsibility of governance (Mukhopadhyay, 2007). The first phase of the ‘good governance’ agenda sought to build a technocratic state that would be an efficient and honest manager. Although later the political state

There was a growing interest in reforming and creating liberal democracies. Despite the realization that strengthening democracy and increasing the role of the state in protecting the rights of citizens requires a reconstruction of the political relationship between the state and society, the formula for democratic reform focuses on the institutional design of the state.


This included reform of the electoral system, decentralization and devolution of government, and reform of the administrative and legal system. Development discourses supported by the power of funding, projects and knowledge production produced the idea of a state without politics and proposed a generic model of the citizenry unmarked by social ties. Without state intervention to guarantee social rights for all, many new sites for civic participation were opened. (Mukhopadhyay, 2007) The power of the state to influence social redistribution was underestimated.









However, we need to critically examine the nature of this civic participation. In this paradigm, policy making is not viewed as a political process, but as a process of negotiation between diverse and often competing and conflicting demands. It has come to be seen only in the context of mixing the obvious. As scholars have pointed out, accounting practices and narrow cost-benefit definitions of efficiency assume greater weight in the policy process than ethical objectives of governance such as human equality and democratic accountability (Brody, 2005). Questions of gender have been found in the context of this state as ‘women’s empowerment’, making this visibility of gender particularly problematic for the women’s movement.



Responses of the Women’s Movement to the Challenges of Globalization: International Events



The women’s movement in contemporary times is faced with the challenge of maintaining itself, sharpening the edge of its struggle in the face of challenges posed by globalization and communalism. The most urgent task for feminists in the 1970s and 80s was to address the question of women’s ‘invisibility’. In contemporary times the visibility of women is no longer an issue. As feminist scholars Tharu and Niranjana (1999) point out, “women are suddenly everywhere”. Today’s questions of the women’s movement are how


To contend with this ‘overvisibility’ of certain groups of women – especially urban, middle class, upper caste women and how to conceptualise ‘the gap between women’. The question has been asked, how to understand this visibility? Should this be interpreted as a success of the women’s movement or has the concerns and language of the women’s movement been co-opted by agendas and institutions that actually seek to stifle and remove this potential? The rise of right-wing and market feminism on the one hand and the critical political claims and theoretical interventions of Third World and Dalit feminists as well as feminists centering the question of sexuality have challenged the notion of the ‘universality of gender oppression’. It has taken the initiative to question the fault lines of caste and community that exist within the so-called homogenous category ‘woman’. A contemporary theory of gender has to take these defects into account. Without an alliance with democratic, change-oriented forces, the dream of complete social transformation of the women’s movement cannot come true.





We can understand the response of women’s movements to the challenges of globalization in three ways: One, look at efforts such as the World March of Women, which has been a feminist anti-globalization international network, to see how feminist organizations within India How has he reacted? By focusing on these challenges, their hybrid nature, and through strategies such as inter-sectoral organizing and, third, feminist interventions in state-led empowerment programmes.

Scholars have pointed out that women’s movements, though universal in goals and motivations, are locally situated in terms of their character (Basu 1995). This scholarship has emphasized the ‘local origins, character and concerns’ of women’s movements. Scholars have pointed out how women have challenged universal understandings of feminism and thus shifted feminism among marginalized/subordinated groups. It has been pointed out that the history, size and analytical scope of the women’s movement in India does not fit with models of localism or etymology. (Sangri 2007) The movement’s local origins, character and concerns then become very important in mapping the larger movement. At the same time movements influence and are influenced by the global. More recently the study of social movements has attempted to move beyond models that assume a nation-state as movements increasingly have a global reach and international mobility.


  This has emphasized the importance of international advocacy networks as borders between states become permeable to international political activism. It is seen that the processes of globalization have led to the expansion of communication networks as well as possibilities of solidarity across borders. Such international events have blossomed within the women’s movement, with feminist activists participating increasingly and self-consciously within international forums and as both local and global organizations.

women’s movement as they are perceived (Cockburn 2000, Basu 2000, Steenstra 1999, 2000, Sperling et al 2001, Thayer 2010). This period has seen very influential international support networks around issues of sex work, trafficking, migrant labour, gender-justice laws, etc.

Scholars such as Moghadam (Moghadam 1996) have argued that international networks are organizing women around the most pressing issues of the day and that they have a wider and more far-reaching impact than local movements. We can take the example of the World March of Women, an international feminist action movement uniting grassroots groups and organizations working to eliminate the root causes of poverty and violence.


against women. The march involves a total of 6000 grassroots women’s groups and its importance lies in the diversity of its constituent groups which include unions of informal sector workers, women’s mass organizations, feminist NGOs etc.; Controversial Reliance

Politics more than lobbying and the ways it brings gender into the anti-globalization movement and the anti-globalization agenda in women’s movements. WMW is coordinating campaigns in various countries, which adopt the overarching agenda of ‘freedom from poverty and violence’, responding to the specificities of neoliberal politics in the respective nations.



Batliwala (2002) argues that the emergence of international grassroots movements with strong constituency bases and sophisticated advocacy capacity, both at the local and global levels, is a significant event in this context. These movements are formed and led by poor and marginalized groups, and defy the stereotype of grassroots movements being narrowly focused on local issues.


They symbolize both a challenge and an opportunity to democratize and strengthen the role of international civil society in global policy. This is the importance of international networks.

At another level, feminist organizations have responded to the discourse of NGOization in a number of ways. It has been shown by scholars that earlier assessments of NGOization may be overly pessimistic and that feminist politics is being pursued in many unexpected sites (Alvarez 2009). Feminist NGOs have a mixed face which seeks to combine service delivery mode with agitational mode. In a context where globalization has intensified economic inequalities, service delivery modes are seen as essential and it has been argued that even when they are service delivery, feminist NGOs are important producers of feminist knowledge and feminists. As disseminators of discourse – makers not only for policy, but also for other social movements and civil society organizations.


Thus, feminist NGOs are involved in mobilizing not only people but also ideas. It has also been argued that NGOization, as an effect of the United Nations Decade and associated development strategies, has had contradictory political effects for feminist movements. There are growing class, cultural and strategic differences between highly professionalised, international feminist policy experts on the one hand and more aggressive and militant grassroots movements on the other. This requires rethinking our imagination of movement, thinking of it as a kind of mega-network that includes more formal as well as fluid, informal networks.


through the centralization of the voices of ‘career feminists’ belonging to feminist NGOs, indicating that we need to move beyond puritanical and dichotomous understandings of feminist activism and identities, and instead, focus on points of convergence and hybridity Scholars have shown how passion/vocation, real/virtual, activist/service delivery may not be useful binaries for understanding movement (Roy 2011, Nazneen and Sultan 2013). It has also drawn attention to other spaces, such as urban cyberfeminist activism (Mitra-Kahn 2013). , It has been argued that the hybrid activist space consisting of ‘offline’ street activism and ‘online’ campaigning is a conscious counteraction to the notion that young middle-class women are disinterested in feminist politics. Thus, it emerges from these readings that globalization and the various configurations made possible through it have created space for young women to intervene politically in ways that would not have been possible for an earlier generation of feminists. . Thus, these new feminist subjectivities, however linked to the field on which they are built, cannot be easily reduced to a ‘co-opted’ neoliberal subject, as many critics have assumed.


Then we need to look at the fact that in the context of India there are a number of organisations, such as the unfunded mass organizations associated with the Left parties, which have remained unfunded. For example, All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA) which is the largest women’s organization in the country today. AIDWA has responded to the challenges of globalization by organizing what it calls ‘inter-regional’ events, focusing on the possibilities of solidarity between disparate groups of women, on over-pervasive rather than discreet aspects of women’s lives. focusing. Thus, neoliberal policies and communalism campaign

The protests have been major goals, with concerted organizing around issues such as universalisation of the public distribution system, violence against women, crimes related to ‘honour’, privatization of health care, etc.

The protests have been major goals, with concerted organizing around issues such as universalisation of the public distribution system, violence against women, crimes related to ‘honour’, privatization of health care, etc.

सार्वजनिक वितरण प्रणाली के सार्वभौमीकरण, महिलाओं के खिलाफ हिंसा, ‘सम्मानसे संबंधित अपराध, स्वास्थ्य देखभाल के निजीकरण आदि जैसे मुद्दों के इर्द-गिर्द ठोस आयोजन के साथ विरोध प्रमुख लक्ष्य रहे हैं।

The protests have been major targets, with concerted organizing around issues such as universalisation of the public distribution system, violence against women, crimes related to ‘honour’, privatization of health care, etc.

सार्वजनिक वितरण प्रणाली के सार्वभौमीकरण, महिलाओं के खिलाफ हिंसा, ‘सम्मानसे संबंधित अपराध, स्वास्थ्य देखभाल के निजीकरण आदि जैसे मुद्दों के इर्द-गिर्द ठोस आयोजन के साथ विरोध प्रमुख लक्ष्य रहे हैं।

 AidWA to expand in an unprecedented manner in the exact period of globalization (Armstrong 2014).

Another major organizational form that emerged as a response to the challenges of globalization was the rise of unions of informal sector workers, especially women workers. Pioneered by Seva in the 70s and 80s, informal sector workers’ unions emerged as a major site of feminist resistance, especially since structural changes in the economy meant more information.

Malfunctioning of the workforce. In this context we find important organizations of domestic workers, rag pickers, self-employed women


emerged. There is also a lot of international organizing around the issues of labor in the informal sector in networks like Homenet etc.




The movement also opened up new possibilities, sites and strategies for movement.


Constantly interfered in this. At the level of initiatives such as gender budgeting and gender planning


Interfered in government programs like Mahila Samakhya.


The main objective of the Mahila Samakhya program was to achieve women empowerment through education. It was modeled on the highly successful Women Development Program (WDP) of the Government of Rajasthan. In this program women from different villages were trained to become village-level workers. These women were then trained to organize other women in the village into groups. The nature of the activities undertaken by the program in each village varied according to the needs and aspirations of the local women but education remained at the core of the programme. Feminists have continually intervened in the MS program to ensure that the vision of empowerment remains apolitical. Narayanan’s study in rural Karnataka suggests that poor rural women, supported by the solidarity network of the Sangh, can begin to challenge discrimination based on gender, caste and class. it


Due to continuous efforts in Uttar Pradesh for poor women elected in Panchayats




The relationship between knowledge and power in important ways.


Thus, as Menon (2004) has argued, in India, the globalization debate offers only one of two positions – a non-critical celebration of a homogenous globe, or an equally united nation against global capital. Celebratory Reclaimer. challenge to feminist








Women’s movement debate and action in the post-1990 period. The resistance that the movement has presented to globalization is constantly striving to do so.



The challenge of communalism to the women’s movement


The challenge of communalism to the women’s movement emerged in a context where religion and gender have become increasingly intertwined, not only in India but across South Asia. Religious forces have not only identified women as repositories of religious beliefs and keepers of the purity and integrity of the community, but women have also been involved in activism within this “communal” politics (Basu, 1999). For the women’s movement, both understanding and analyzing women’s participation in communal politics and how to deal with it has been a challenge. As scholars have pointed out, women’s relationship to political religion is contradictory and complex, as on the one hand it undermines women’s autonomy as well as creates opportunities for women’s activism. The women’s movement had to grapple with issues of religious identity




Field of struggle for the women’s movement and right-wing political formations in India (Roy 2011).

In this context, it is necessary to look into the Shah Bano case. In 1985, the Supreme Court



Husband), also remarked that the government enforces a Uniform Civil Code. this decision






They were under it for maintenance. The Shah Bano case and subsequent legislation became the basis for major controversies between Muslim fundamentalist groups, who upheld the law, and various aspects of the women’s movement, who criticized the law for characterizing Muslim women.


Women as secondary citizens, to groups that opposed the communalization of the gender question and demanded a gender-just Uniform Civil Code, and to Hindu fundamentalists who supported the court’s call for the UCC, feeling that this would alienate the Muslim community His characterization was confirmed as backward and barbaric. In many ways the question of Shah Bano became the site of controversies around the community rather than questions of women’s rights.

Another important event to understand in this context is the debate and demonstration that followed the Roop Kanwar sati incident in Deorala, Rajasthan in 1987. Women’s groups have been criticized for not understanding what “real” Indian womanhood means and right-wing Hindu groups have argued for a woman’s “right” to be sati, again pointing to the complex ways in which Women are implicated in questions of religious identity and community autonomy. (Roy 2011).


  There were broad similarities in the two cases. At the center of the debate were women’s rights, especially the property rights of widows and divorced women. However, both

In many cases, male religious leaders and fanatics were able to foment a “community siege”, thereby affirming their right to represent the community. The state took a position of favoring the male fundamentalists in both cases, sacrificing the rights of women to bargain with the larger ‘community’.

All these created many dilemmas for the women’s movement. on one

On the one hand, it had to deal with the rise of a hegemonic Hindu identity, which in many ways was reshaping the ideals of secular nationalism. On the other hand, both cases also took into account issues of difference and recognition of the fact that the identity of a ‘woman’ was multi-layered, with women often being in their own hierarchies. The third challenge that the women’s movement faced was how to understand the activism of upper caste, Hindu women who were not part of feminist activism.


SOCIOLOGY IN ENGLISH: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLuVMyWQh56R3KgAeBpmbY8Gv6201xh2dQ

This activism of upper-caste Hindu women was seen in the context of the anti-Mandal movement, where young, upper-caste Hindu women were taking to the streets to ask the state “Who will be their husbands?” If reservation is given to OBCs in government jobs. As Chakraborty points out, these women spoke the language of meritocracy and took to the streets as concerned secular “citizens”, while their questioning itself was framed through a tacit acceptance of caste endogamy. Therefore, as Tharu and Niranjana (1999) point out, there was a resurgence of these women in the public sphere, and they attempted to claim equality by eliminating competing claims by Dalit women.

Hindu upper-caste women also became active in women’s organizations affiliated with communal parties and in movements such as the Rashtriya Sevika Samiti, Durga Vahini and Andolan.





When he took an active part in the communal riots in the wake of Ram Janmabhoomi



Strengthening the image of themselves in a new form, as kar sevaks who saved the birthplace of Lord Rama (Sarkar, 1996).


At another level, women’s organizations found themselves awkward allies with right-wing organizations when it came to issues such as the protest against the Miss World pageant. Although the reasons and analysis of the protest differed for the two groups: for the women’s groups it symbolized the objectification of women, for the right-wing groups it was an attack on “obscenity” and “Indian culture”. However, as scholars have pointed out, it became increasingly difficult for women’s groups to differentiate themselves from right-wing organisations.







Other groups and institutions are expected to follow suit as a basis for criticism. In fact, scholars have argued that women’s large-scale participation in communal organizations is linked to the fact that these organizations provide women with public space without criticizing institutions such as the family. In fact this participation is seen as an extension of the family/community.


Someone who needs to be ‘rescued’, the savior is being cast as the Hindu male.


Another important way in which communalism has posed a challenge to the women’s movement is through this declaration of rights, choice, freedom etc. language and recasting it in terms that create divisions among women , which is violent and deeply undemocratic.

There has been internal criticism from within the women’s movement of what it marks as the inherent ‘Hindu-ness’ of the movement. In their critique of the movement, Agnes and Patel point out that in their efforts to counter the selective ‘Western’ tag and claim indigenization, symbols (like Kali for women) and history (like the goddess as feminist) The women’s movement discovered and adopted were ‘Hindu’, collapsing Indian into Hindu. She also pointed out that while the Muslim or Christian woman was named and marked, the subject of feminism remained the unmarked ‘woman’, who was also the Hindu woman by default. He argued that to understand the rise of the Hindu right, the movement had to criticize its own practices, strategies and symbols.


Thus, we have seen how the mass mobilization of women in right-wing movements and their leadership and visibility in these movements became a challenge to the movement to understand and how feminist scholarship has described this as ‘reverse feminism’ (Basu 1999). understood.

We also saw how a challenge was presented to the movement through its internal critique, which showed how the women’s movement remained unmarked yet implicitly Hindu, upper caste (Agnes 1994, Patel). This forced the movement to reconsider the way the unmarked homogeneous category ‘woman’ was used within the movement.


Part 4: The Movement’s Responses to the Challenge of Communalism


In this section, we will look at how the women’s movement in India has responded to the challenge of communalism, particularly through the debate on the Uniform Civil Code (UCC) and the various ways women’s groups have responded to the call of the UCC Is. The demand for a Uniform Civil Code has a long history, but has come to the fore once again in the context of the Shah Bano case. The emphasis of the feminist demand for a Uniform Civil Code was more on gender equality than on ‘uniformity’. The argument was that all religious laws, because they have a basis in patriarchy, were against women.

are unjust and therefore an inclusive law is needed.

Comprehensive gender-just civil code. However, after the Shah Bano judgment and the observation of the Supreme Court, the question of Uniform Civil Code was put forth by the Hindu Right-


It was seen as a ‘progressive’ Hindu code as a reform of wing Muslim law. In this formulation, it was oral divorce and polygamy (essentially Muslim law) that were highlighted as practices in need of reform, not the unequal inheritance, property and other laws that existed among other communities.


For ‘Unity’ and ‘National Integration’ the emphasis was on ‘uniformity’. In a context when the demand for the UCC became communal, the women’s movement scaled back its demand for the UCC, arguing instead to focus on achieving gender equality rather than uniformity. The movement proposed several different options, including focusing on reform from within religious communities, creating and implementing an ‘alternative’ gender-judicial code that individuals could choose to enter, etc. Several attempts have also been made to reform Muslim law. From within the community, Muslim women are pushing for change. This has given rise to interventions such as the Model Nikahnama which takes advantage of the fact that Muslim marriage is perceived as a contract to create a gender-just marriage contract, the all-female Jamaat as a feminist informal justice mechanism, etc. Build.


At another level, the movement has sought to meet the challenge of communalism by being reflective of its practices and symbols. It has consistently sought to underline the inter-relationships between gender and communalism, showing how the imagination of communalism is gendered, how women’s bodies themselves become the battleground when it comes to strengthening community identity. is tried. The women’s movement has also been active in rescue and rehabilitation in cases of communal conflict, and in recording and documenting incidents of violence. Feminists have been at the forefront of efforts to bring justice to those affected by violence and highlight the gendered and sexual nature of such violence. They have challenged the impunity with which acts of gender violence are carried out in situations of communal violence.


SOCIOLOGY IN ENGLISH: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLuVMyWQh56R3KgAeBpmbY8Gv6201xh2dQ





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