Feminism in India : The Tale and its Telling
This paper is a sketch of feminism in India which also raises some theoretical issues. It argues that postcolonial theory fails to recognize that what counts as “marginal” in relation to the West has often been central in the non-West. With a primarily textual orientation, postcolonial studies neglect the historical analysis of the constraints of social institutions and the possibilities of human agency therein. With this understanding, this paper traces the history of feminism from: India’s colonized past through its nationalist and gender struggles; independent India’s state-initiated development to the transformed context of globalization; and finally a contemporary India with a simultaneous assertion of marginalized communities and the rise of a “global middle class” with its paradoxical impact on feminism.
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