This work attempts to break new ground by posing questions about women’s activism within the Hindu right, a crucial issue that has barely been addressed.
These essays look at gender within the framework of larger questions: the organizational history of the formation – still developing – we call the Hindu Right; its relationship to change in religious processes, economic developments, caste politics and constitutional crisis over the last few decades. The essays also pose difficult questions for the theory and practice of feminist politics which has tended to identify women’s political activism with emancipatory politics. Right-wing movements, it has been assumed, have – because of their emphasis on “tradition” – an inverse relationship to women’s politicization. Yet violently communal politics have pulled women into militant politics.
What do these and other questions and paradoxes mean for the theory and practice of “feminist” politics, and how do right-wing strategies and tactics compare with those developed by radical women’s groups?
URVASHI BUTALIA is a publisher, teacher and activist, involved in women’s publishing and research and activism on gender issues..
TANIKA SARKAR is a historian of modern India. She is author of several books and articles on issues relating to gender and history.