One of the most heinous crimes against women in India, was the rape and fatal assault of Jyoti Singh, who came to be known as Nirbhaya (fearless). A student in her early twenties, Jyoti was gang raped by six men at the back of a moving bus during an evening in New Delhi on 16 December 2012.
With the rise of women’s history and the history of gender in the late twentieth century, feminist scholars and historians have contributed significantly to the body of knowledge regarding Indian women’s history. This has included women’s activities in both the nationalist and women’s movements, as well as feminist initiatives in social reform and the uplift … Continue reading The ‘invisibility’ of Muslim Women: Locating Muslim Women’s Voices in the History of Modern South Asia
Being a South Asian, Muslim, female, I have had to contend with remarks from fellows within my own community, on the choice of my study and research. Most will be familiar with the not so inaccurate stereotype of South Asians pursuing careers as doctors, lawyers, and engineers. This often creates a challenge to those within … Continue reading “You’re an Indian Muslim Woman, Why Study History?”
Issues of Muslim women’s marital rights have received significant media attention in recent years, whereby these women have highlighted gender inequalities in the unreformed legal system of Muslim personal law in India. Within these debates, the problem of polygamy has been a recurring theme, that has been lingering around the issues of Muslim personal law reform, and the implementation of a Uniform Civil Code in the interests of women’s rights.
Christian female missionaries played a prominent role in the spread and development of female education in colonial India. The missionary aim of ‘evangelisation through education’ placed literacy and learning high on the agenda of ‘women’s work for women’. Such work and its attendant successes, setbacks, obstacles, and failures, were extensively recorded by female missionaries, and … Continue reading Missionary Journals and a Rhetoric of Rescue: The Church of England Zenana Missionary Society and India’s Women (1880-1940)
Muslim reformers in nineteenth century India identified a need for Islamic reform due to a perceived decline of Islam in India. These reformers saw evidence of this decline in the adherence of Indian Muslims to false customs and practices disguised in the name of religion, and the accusations of ‘Muslim backwardness’ by colonial authorities. Muslim … Continue reading Islamic Reform and Female Education: Social Reforms for Muslim Women in Late Colonial India
Many of us enjoy going out to a nice Indian restaurant, and even indulging in a little smoke on a water pipe, commonly known as a hookah or shisha. With the recent surge in shisha lounges and the ever long popularity of Indian restaurants as a great venue for a weekend night out, the question … Continue reading Curries, Shisha and shampooing
Missionary Criticisms and the Religious Selection of Reform Social reforms in child marriage and female education were pursued in the late nineteenth century for the uplift of women’s conditions in Indian society. British criticisms on the treatment of women in India, encouraged Indian reformers to pursue changes to their conditions. The circumstances of British colonialism … Continue reading Indian Women’s Social Reform: Why Child Marriage, and Why Not Purdah?
Child marriage and the lack of female education were problems across both Hindu and Muslim women, and were highlighted particularly in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Yet, in the Indian age of reform, each religious community chose to focus on different aspects of their women’s social conditions as subjects for their reform campaigns. … Continue reading Child Marriage and Female Education: the Religious Character of Social Reform for Hindu and Muslim Women in Late Colonial India
Why are social reforms important? Do they have the potential to completely transform a society? Are these changes always perceived as a positive alteration of societal norms? Do all sections of society benefit from these reforms?
Gender notions were crucial to the organisation of societies, yet this idea can now be challenged due to the work of early reformers, broadening the opportunities open to all regardless of social or biological positions.
Recent historical scholarship has increasingly focused on looking at ‘history from below’ to recover voices from the past that have largely been ignored in grand historical narratives. This interest in illiterate groups has encouraged historians to explore a wider variety of sources, in order to recover the ‘history of ordinary people’s lives, and to some … Continue reading To what degree can we recover the voices of empires’ subalterns?
Nationalism played a significant role in many historical processes of decolonisation. This was particularly apparent in the decolonisation of colonies such as India, Angola and the Thirteen British colonies of America. But the extent to which nationalism played a prominent role in shaping decolonisation is debatable. Nationalism can be defined as the aspirations common to … Continue reading How Important is ‘Colonial’ Nationalism in Shaping Decolonisation?