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Communalism and Women's Writing in Independent India

Nikhila H.
Scholars' Press
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The 1990s witnessed fervent discussion by scholars, writers and activists among others, of ‘the rise of Hindutva’, ‘the communalization of Indian society and polity’ and the putative links of these processes with the ‘communalism’ that marked the politics of India under colonial rule, particularly the kind that resulted in the formation of two nation-states, India and Pakistan, widely known as ‘Partition’. These discussions, by and large, seemed to point to the failure of nationalist politics, especially one that had its basis in communalism. The feminist intervention in this discussion was particularly marked, pointing belatedly, as it were, that the triumphalism of the nationalist movements in India and Pakistan in the 1940s drowned out the suffering and violence inflicted upon women, and hence a recuperation of that suffering through various kinds of women’s/feminist writing was also a means of critique of nation-state as an institution, and the political processes that led to Independence and nation-formation. This book is an attempt to understand the imperatives for and implications of women’s/feminist re-visiting of Partition in the 1990s and after.