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Fraying at the Edges?

In her keynote address at the 2011 conference, Kalyani MenonSen, an independent researcher and activist based in Delhi, asks why violence against “women’s bodies, rights and freedoms” has increased in India when the dominant narrative of “India Shining” is of relentless economic growth, a flourishing democracy and a successful negotiation of modernity and Indian heritage and culture. Her rooted analysis argues that a neoliberal state in alliance with caste, class and gender hierarchies has produced an “upsurge in patriarchy.” She offers a number of detailed dissections of “the violence of development” particularly focusing on the lethal combination of (Hindu) religious fundamentalism and militaristic nationalism in campaigns against the Adavasis, a tribal people. She compellingly demonstrates how a resurgence in feudal patriarchy and organization has led to killings of couples who marry outside caste boundaries, and analyzes the contest within the judiciary and with women’s organizations combatting these crimes. The rich examples are complemented by a overview of the operation of “women and national honor” in the construction of “Mother India” and by a call for social movements to united “to build alliances to protect and expand democratic space.” In so doing and in her incisive link of the neoliberal state to anti-democratic hierarchies, Menon-Sen offers us a framework for comparison in understanding gender and governance in an age of empire… Read Full Article

by Gender at Work

Kalyani Menon-Sen


Fraying at the Edges? Discordant notes from the margins of India Shining


June 13, 2019