Gender and Violence in Historical and Contemporary Perspectives: Situating India [1 ed.] 1138506826, 9781138506824

This book covers a range of issues and phenomena around gender-related violence in specific cultural and regional condit

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Gender and Violence in Historical and Contemporary Perspectives: Situating India [1 ed.]
 1138506826, 9781138506824

Table of contents :
Contents
List of contributors
Preface
Part I: Introduction
Situating India: challenges and propositions • Jyoti Atwal
Researching gender-based violence in India: issues, concepts, approaches • Iris Flessenkämper
Part II: Historical encounters and cultures of violence
1 Of devotional zeal and patriarchal norms: gender and violence in the Periya Purāṇam • R. Mahalakshmi
2 Silenced women, speaking men: locating gendered epistemic violence in nineteenth century German representations of India • Felicity Jensz
3 Gendered behaviour: religious norms and sexual deviance in the Basel India Mission in the first half of the nineteenth century • Judith Becker
4 Bodies in pain: violence and sexually ‘deviant’ male and transgender bodies in colonial India, 1862–1922 • Manju Ludwig
5 Sati, child wives, and prostitutes: constituting violence and criminality in colonial India • Jyoti Atwal
Part III: Minorities and marginalised women: sexuality and violence
6 Unregistered concerns: violence against women with disabilities in India • Nilika Mehrotra and Mahima Nayar
7 Nature of violence against Dalit women • Vivek Kumar
8 A genealogy of Muslim feminism in Maharashtra: systems and violence • Deepra Dandekar
9 Hijras: India’s third gender between discrimination and recognition • Renate Syed
Part IV: Economies of violence and cultural representations
10 The Nirbhaya murder case: women as the oddity in public transport • Susmita Dasgupta
11 Gender-based violence of economic globalisation in contemporary India: an intersectional approach to gender and violence • Christa Wichterich
12 Fifty Shades of Grey: a romance that we cannot resist? • Mary Edwards
13 Gender, violence, and resistance in Partition narratives • Bodh Prakash
14 On behalf of us all? Violence against women as a subject of Indian film studies • Adelheid Herrmann-Pfandt
Index

Citation preview

GENDER AND VIOLENCE IN HISTORICAL AND CONTEMPORARY PERSPECTIVES

This book covers a range of issues and phenomena around gender-related violence in specific cultural and regional conditions. Using an interdisciplinary perspective, it discusses historical and contemporary developments that trigger violence while highlighting the social conditions, practices, discourses, and cultural experiences of gender-related violence in India. Beginning with the issues of gender-based violence within the traditional context of Indian history and colonial encounters, it moves on to explore the connections between gender, minorities, marginalisation, sexuality, and violence, especially violence against Dalit women, disabled women, and transgender people. It traces and interprets similarities and differences as well as identifies social causes of potential conflicts. Further, it investigates the forms and mechanisms of political, economic, and institutional violence in the legitimation or de-legitimation of traditional gender roles. The chapters deal with sexual violence, violence within marriage and family, influence of patriarchal forces within factory-based gender violence, and global processes such as demand-driven surrogacy and the politics of literary and cinematic representations of gender-based violence. The book situates relevant debates about India and underlines the global context in the making of the gender bias that leads to violence both in the public and private domains. An important contribution to feminist scholarship, this book will be useful to scholars and researchers of gender studies, women’s studies, history, sociology, and political science. Jyoti Atwal is Associate Professor of Modern Indian History at the Centre for Historical Studies, School of Social Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India and Adjunct Professor, Department of History, Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Limerick, Ireland. Her areas of specialisation include Indian women in the reformist, nationalist, and international contemporary perspectives; socio-cultural and religious aspects of women’s lives in colonial and postcolonial India; women’s agenda and the nation; and entangled histories of Indian and Irish women. She has published Real and Imagined Widows: Gender Relations in Colonial North

India (2016). Currently, she is writing a biography of Margaret Cousins (1878–1954) exploring the life and work of an Irish suffragette in India. Iris Flessenkämper is Executive Manager and Postdoctoral Researcher of the Cluster of Excellence “Religion and Politics” at the University of Münster, Germany. She received her PhD in Early Modern History in 2007 from the University of Augsburg. Her fields of interest include gender history in Early Modern Germany, Reformation history, and European Enlightenment. She is presently in charge of a project dealing with marital conflicts and competing marriage norms in Early Modern Germany.

GENDER AND VIOLENCE IN HISTORICAL AND CONTEMPORARY PERSPECTIVES Situating India

Edited by Jyoti Atwal and Iris Flessenkämper

First published 2020 by Routledge 2 Park Square, Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon OX14 4RN and by Routledge 52 Vanderbilt Avenue, New York, NY 10017 Routledge is an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group, an informa business © 2020 selection and editorial matter, Jyoti Atwal and Iris Flessenkämper; individual chapters, the contributors The right of Jyoti Atwal and Iris Flessenkämper to be identified as the authors of the editorial material, and of the authors for their individual chapters, has been asserted in accordance with sections 77 and 78 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced or utilised in any form or by any electronic, mechanical, or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including photocopying and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publishers. Trademark notice: Product or corporate names may be trademarks or registered trademarks, and are used only for identification and explanation without intent to infringe. British Library Cataloguing-in-Publication Data A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data A catalog record for this book has been requested ISBN: 978-1-138-50682-4 (hbk) ISBN: 978-0-429-32857-2 (ebk) Typeset in Sabon by Apex CoVantage, LLC

CONTENTS

List of contributors Preface

viii xii

PART I

Introduction

1

Situating India: challenges and propositions

3

J YOTI ATWA L

Researching gender-based violence in India: issues, concepts, approaches

20

I R I S F L E S S E N KÄ MP E R

PART II

Historical encounters and cultures of violence 1 Of devotional zeal and patriarchal norms: gender and violence in the Periya Purāṇam

41

43

R . M A H A L A K SH MI

2 Silenced women, speaking men: locating gendered epistemic violence in nineteenth century German representations of India

58

F E L I C I TY J E N SZ

3 Gendered behaviour: religious norms and sexual deviance in the Basel India Mission in the first half of the nineteenth century J U D I TH B E C K E R

v

76

CONTENTS

4 Bodies in pain: violence and sexually ‘deviant’ male and transgender bodies in colonial India, 1862–1922

95

M A N J U L U DWIG

5 Sati, child wives, and prostitutes: constituting violence and criminality in colonial India

110

J YOTI ATWAL

PART III

Minorities and marginalised women: sexuality and violence 6 Unregistered concerns: violence against women with disabilities in India

123

125

N I L I K A M E H ROTRA A N D MA H IMA N AYAR

7 Nature of violence against Dalit women

141

V I V E K K U MA R

8 A genealogy of Muslim feminism in Maharashtra: systems and violence

153

D E E P R A DA N DE KA R

9 Hijras: India’s third gender between discrimination and recognition

169

R E N ATE SY ED

PART IV

Economies of violence and cultural representations

183

10 The Nirbhaya murder case: women as the oddity in public transport

185

S U S M I TA DASGUP TA

11 Gender-based violence of economic globalisation in contemporary India: an intersectional approach to gender and violence C H R I S TA W ICH TE RICH

vi

200

CONTENTS

12 Fifty Shades of Grey: a romance that we cannot resist?

217

M A RY E DWA RDS

13 Gender, violence, and resistance in Partition narratives

232

B O D H P R A K A SH

14 On behalf of us all? Violence against women as a subject of Indian film studies

243

A D E L H E I D H E RRMA N N - P FAN DT

Index

260

vii

CONTRIBUTORS

Judith Becker is Professor of Early Modern and Modern History of Christianity at Humboldt University in Berlin, Germany. Her research interests include the history of missions and world Christianity, cultural encounters, change of values, and historical consciousness and Reformation history, particularly migration and confessionalisation. She has published, amongst others, on the Basel Mission in South India and on missions in contact zones: Conversio im Wandel. Basler Missionare zwischen Europa und Südindien und die Ausbildung einer Kontaktreligiosität, 1834–1860 (2015) and European Missions in Contact Zones: Transformation through Interaction in a (Post-)Colonial World (ed., 2015). Deepra Dandekar is a researcher at the Centre for the History of Emotions, Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Berlin, Germany and is a historian and anthropologist of gender, religion, and migration. She has recently published a book on a narrative of Christian conversion from nineteenth century Maharashtra, The Subhedar’s Son (2019). Susmita Dasgupta specialises in the sociology of images in popular culture as well as in everyday reality. She is interested in contemporary events that are debated in the public sphere. She is also a policy economist addressing various aspects of policymaking of the Ministry of Steel, Government of India. She published extensively in sociology and economics. Mary Edwards is a Teacher in Philosophy in the School of English, Communication and Philosophy at Cardiff University, UK. Previously, she worked as an Adjunct Lecturer at University College Cork (UCC), Ireland, where she was also awarded her PhD in 2017. Her research and teaching interests are in the fields of feminist philosophy, existentialism, phenomenology, philosophy of literature, and philosophy of the imagination. She has published papers exploring the gendered politics of shame and the meanings that are projected onto women’s bodies in Hypatia: A Journal of Feminist Philosophy and Discipline Filosofiche and is currently working on her monograph, provisionally titled Sartre and Knowing Others.

viii

CONTRIBUTORS

Adelheid Herrmann-Pfandt is Professor for Religious Studies in PhilippsUniversität, Marburg, Germany. She studied Religious Studies, History, Classical Philology, Indology, and Tibetology in Erlangen and Bonn. She received her PhD in 1992 from Bonn University and her Habilitation in 2001 from Marburg University. Between 1991 and 1994, she was Assistant Professor in Indology and Tibetology in Marburg. From 1994 till present, she has been a freelance writer and university teacher with teaching assignments in Marburg, Bremen, Hannover, Göttingen, Frankfurt am Main, Siegen, and Fribourg/Switzerland. In 2009 she was Käthe Leichter guest professor in Gender Studies in South Asian and Tibetan religions at the South Asian Institute in Vienna. Her main areas of research and publications are Buddhism, Hinduism, Tantrism, women in religion, Buddhist iconography, religion and violence, and religion in Hindi film. Felicity Jensz is a colonial historian and has worked in the Cluster of Excellence for “Religion and Politics” at the Westfälische Wilhelms-University Münster, Germany since 2008. She received her PhD from the University of Melbourne in colonial history. She has published extensively on nineteenth century missionary interactions in British and German colonies, particularly in relation to schooling for non-Europeans. Other publication topics include book history, migration history, food history, and German cultural history. Vivek Kumar is Professor of Sociology and Chairperson of the Centre for the Study of Social Systems, School of Social Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India, where he earned his PhD. He is also Professor-in-Charge of Dr Ambedkar Chair in Sociology and Coordinator of “Global Studies Programme”. He has been Visiting Professor at the Department of Sociology, Columbia University, New York and Humboldt University, Berlin. His areas of academic interests are methodology of social sciences, Indian diaspora, social stratification, South Asia, and Dalit studies. Manju Ludwig is Lecturer at the South Asia Institute at Heidelberg University, Germany. A historian of South Asia, she researches on the history of gender relations, masculinity, sexuality, and criminality in nineteenth and twentieth century India. She completed her MA in the history and political science of South Asia at Heidelberg University and Delhi University. Her publications include “Britische Sittlichkeitsreform und das ‘Laster wider die Natur’ im kolonialen Indien” (in Biopolitik und Sittlichkeitsreform. Kampagnen gegen Alkohol, Drogen und Prostitution, 1880–1950) and “Murder in the Andamans: A Colonial Narrative of Sodomy, Jealousy and Violence” (in SAMAJ). R. Mahalakshmi is Professor of Ancient Indian History at the Centre for Historical Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India. She ix

CONTRIBUTORS

specialises in the inter-relations between religion, state, and society and has published two monographs, an edited volume, and several articles in these areas. She is currently Secretary of the Indian History Congress and President of Ancient Punjab section of the Punjab History Conference and was previously President of the Historiography Section of the AP History Congress. Nilika Mehrotra is a social anthropologist, teaching at the Centre for the Study of Social Systems, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India. She is also editor of the journal Indian Anthropologist. In 2013–2014, she was a Fulbright Senior Researcher at University of California, Berkeley, USA. She has authored the book Disability, Gender and State Policy: Exploring Margins (2013) and numerous research articles in the areas of gender, disability, and development studies. At present, she is editing a manuscript on locating disability studies in the Indian context from an interdisciplinary perspective. Mahima Nayar is an independent researcher working in areas of disability, women, children, and families. She was previously Assistant Professor at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, India. She has worked extensively with survivors of trafficking (women and children), women facing domestic violence and survivors of sexual assault, persons with psychosocial disabilities and their families. She is the author of the book Against All Odds: Psychosocial Distress and Healing among Women (2018). Bodh Prakash is Professor of English at the School of Letters, Ambedkar University Delhi, India. He has been Visiting Professor at the University of Strasbourg, France and a Long Room Hub Fellow at Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland. Among his published work on the literatures of Partition is Writing Partition: Aesthetics and Ideology in Hindi and Urdu Literature (2008). He is interested in issues pertaining to identity, gender, and violence in Partition narratives. Currently he is working on issues related to resettlement of refugees in the peripheries of Delhi and urbanisation in the wake of Partition. Renate Syed is an Indologist and cultural scientist at the Institut für Indologie und Tibetologie der Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Munich, Germany. She is also a lecturer at the Hochschule für Philosophie in Munich and other educational institutions. Her fields of research are Sanskrit language and literature, Indian religion and philosophy, cultural history, and the arts of ancient and contemporary India, as well as gender studies. She has conducted ethnographic field research in India and Pakistan, where she explored Hijra culture. Besides her interest in ancient India, she has delivered lectures on modern Indian politics, sociology, and cultural science. x

CONTRIBUTORS

Christa Wichterich was Guest Professor of Gender Politics at Kassel University (Germany), Vienna University (Austria), and Basel University (Switzerland). She has a PhD in Sociology and her main research areas are globalisation, feminist political economy and women’s work, women’s movements, and international women’s policies. Earlier she worked as a university lecturer at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi and at Gilan University, Iran; as a journalist in Germany; and as a foreign correspondent in Nairobi, Africa. She has published widely and is engaged as scholar-activist on a voluntary basis.

xi

PREFACE

This book is an outcome of a project that has been accomplished with the support of various individuals and institutions across India and Germany. To begin with, we would like to thank Professor Peter Funke and Professor Helene Basu who invited Jyoti Atwal to Münster in 2013. It was an exploratory visit with no given agenda. Both of us met in a cafe for an informal chat about the direction in which gender history writing was going. The extremely painful issue of the 2012 Nirbhaya rape and murder also came up. We discussed the public anxiety in India and also the sudden interest of Western media in understanding various aspects of this brutal event. What was striking was the fact that media was approaching social scientists about what such a crime against woman reflected: Was such a crime a manifestation of an extreme patriarchal outburst, where a woman’s resistance to rape had to be ‘punished’; was this crime a result of the pathological condition of the convicts caused by class/caste disparity that globalisation had created? Many such questions popped up in the public domain and remained unanswered. It was the urge to answer some of these questions about India and also gender-based crime in the West that we decided to have an Indo-German conference on Gender and Violence in Historical and Contemporary Perspectives in 2015 at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), New Delhi. The conference was a huge success. We are very thankful to the German Research Foundation (DFG), the Cluster of Excellence “Religion and Politics” at the University of Münster (WWU), and the Centre for Historical Studies, JNU for funding this conference. This is the first volume of the conference focusing on India. The second volume focusing on the West is also part of our conceptualisation. We wish to thank all our authors for their wonderful articles and for their patience during the publishing process. We thank our peer reviewers for their constructive comments on our manuscript. We thank all individuals who have supported us – Professor Himanshu Prabha Ray, Professor Bhagwan Josh, Professor Vijaya Ramaswamy, Professor Perry Schmidt-Leukel, Dr David West and our publisher Dr Shashank Sinha.

xii

Part I INTRODUCTION

SITUATING INDIA Challenges and propositions Jyoti Atwal

As I pen the introduction to this book, India is witnessing an extraordinary revolutionary moment for gender relations ranging from upheaval in the form of the #MeToo campaign to the demand for justice for brutally raped and murdered minor girls. According to Section 375, Indian Penal Code, man is said to commit ‘rape’ when he has sexual intercourse with a woman against her will.1 Legally, the scope of defining gender-based violence has expanded in the last decade. In the workplace, various forms of sexual harassment have become a punishable crime since the 1997 Vishakha judgement guidelines were implemented. This has empowered women in institutions and offices to report cases of lewd remarks, lecherous looks, and sexual advances of their male colleagues/bosses. While the #MeToo cyber campaign has reached rural India, the issue of ‘authenticity’ of charges against the accused is a debated matter. However, such campaigns have made Indian women aware of various forms of power and hierarchy that are central to male-female relations. Interestingly, India is simultaneously witnessing a violent campaign by conservative men and women against women’s entry into Sabarimala temple in South India.2 According to the recent Supreme Court verdict, the doors of the shrine were declared open to all women, irrespective of their age.3 The anti-women’s temple entry group asserted the claim that only those women in the non-menstrual age group, i.e., under 10 or over 50, could be permitted entry. The power of tradition remains strong despite the Supreme Court verdict and the temple authorities backed by conservative groups continue to deny women entry. To protest against this forced exclusion, women in Kerala very recently formed a 620 km (385-mile) human chain ‘in support of gender equality’.4 In several Hindu families, menstruating women had been secluded from religious activity as per Hindu traditional practice, but at the same time there exist other traditions that celebrate the onset of puberty/fertility in women. 3

J Y O T I AT WA L

The obsession with pure and impure bodies is a mythological construct but acquires a form of violent resistance to any reform once it is played out in the politico-religious context. These events can be explained by the idea of a shared normative universe, extended by R. Mahalakshmi in the section on historical encounters of this book and in Adelheid Herrmann-Pfandt’s article on the depiction and normalisation of violence in Indian cinema. In terms of gender violence and representation: in late 2017, North India witnessed incidences of violence over the release of the film Padmaavat. The cultural vigilante group called Rajput Karni Sena had called for a ‘janta curfew’ on the day of the release of the film. The film is based on a sixteenth century epic poem written by Sufi poet Malik Mohammed Jayasi, where the Muslim Khilji Sultan falls for Padmavati, the beautiful Hindu Rajput queen of Chittor. The Sultan challenges her husband, King Ratnasen, to battle. The king loses and is killed by the Sultan. In accordance with the warrior caste custom ‘to preserve honour’ of the dead king and her kingdom, Queen Padmavati performs jauhar or self-immolation. Other courtly women who lost their husbands in the battle also follow her into the fire. While the Karni Sena was protesting over the bollywoodisation of Queen Padmavati, after watching the film, feminist scholars and activists set out to make a strong critique of the glorification of jauhar by Padmavati in a 15 minute climax.5 One might choose to dismiss this film as a period film, which simply represents what might have been a ritual/custom of the times. Knowing that every representation is a political act, we may situate the issue in the larger context of what socio-political forces guide such cinimagination. Joshi and Josh have argued that societies of the medieval times that lived by the ‘symbolics of blood’ – the masculine art of governing ‘ethical virility’, ‘sexual virility’, and ‘social virility’ – were fused together to constitute this specific discourse of lust and power.6 While such moments of glorification of women’s sacrificed bodies allow conservative and regressive groups to inculcate a fake sense of confidence and control over the past, for a democratic and diverse country like India, such occasions also rekindle debates on gender equality, the right to life, and the need to strengthen law against present-day gender violence. Gender-based violence in India is also a result of a collective social bias against inter-caste marriages/relationships. Non-conformist partnerships/ sexualities often produce an individual/social anger, which is directed towards both men and women. This has often led to murders (or honour killings) of young girls and boys, especially in the rural context.7 In a recent case in Gaya on December 31, 2018, police solved the case mystery of a brutal killing of a 16-year-old minor girl.8 Her body was found beheaded and mutilated. She had apparently eloped with someone but when she returned in a few days, her furious parents planned her murder with the help of a butcher friend. Some notable cases also pertain to metropolitan areas. One such example of a cold-blooded murder (honour killing), of a 23-year-old photographer, 4

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comes from West Delhi. He was stabbed and his throat was slit on a busy street. The murderer was allegedly the father of the 20-year-old girl who the victim was soon to marry. The victim, Ankit Saxena, was kicked and punched repeatedly by the girl’s father and uncle before the former stabbed him and slit his throat using a chopper and a knife while her two other relatives held his arms.9 In two separate cases of suspected honour killings in Western Uttar Pradesh, a newly married couple were put to death in Mainpuri while a young girl was shot dead by her brother in Aligarh. In Mainpuri, bodies of a young couple, Birbal Jatav and Sulekha Shakya, were found hanging from a tree on the outskirts of the village of Jaisinghpur on Saturday morning. While in Aligarh, 32-year-old Nasir allegedly killed his younger sister, Rani, 18 years old, for having eloped with her neighbour, Aasif, 22 years old.10 Issues of societal non-conformism and violence is well explored in this volume in Manju Ludwig’s chapter on the cases of punishable deviant sexuality in colonial India and in Renate Syed’s chapter on Hijras in contemporary India. Same-sex relationships are also taboo in India but recently the Supreme Court ruling overturned a 2013 judgement that upheld a colonial-era law, known as section 377, under which gay sex is categorised as an ‘unnatural offence’. According to the latest verdict, consensual adult gay sex is not a crime and article 14 and 21 of the Indian Constitution contradict the present view of Section 377.11 In her introductory section chapter, entitled ‘Researching gender-based violence in India: issues, concepts, approaches’, Iris Flessenkämper argues that sexual violence against women is in fact a recurrent theme in communal riots, as is the complicity of state and police actors in concealing religiously motivated assaults against minority women. The other type of violence is located within the politics of class and space. Dichotomies such as rural-urban/middle class-labouring class tensions can be applied to understand the Nirbhaya rape case of 2012. Nirbhaya and the urban middle class context is further explored in Susmita Dasgupta’s chapter on public transport and the Nirbhaya rape and murder case of 2012 in this volume. This murder case shook India like never before. Recently a rape and murder case more brutal than that of Nirbhaya has been reported. A class twelve student was the prime suspect in the rape and murder of a 15-year-old girl, whose semi-naked, mutilated body was found near Budhakheda village of Haryana’s Jind district.12 The girl’s body was found with her private parts mutilated and liver ruptured. The police confirmed that she was kidnapped by more than one person, who prevented her from making noise. The girl had injuries on her face and inside the mouth. The autopsy suggests that this was an act of frustration. All the damage to her private parts seems to have been done after she was drowned and murdered. This was the work of more than one person who failed to sexually assault the victim while she was alive. 5

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Another aspect of rape is intertwined with the caste of the female victim. According to the National Crime Records Bureau report for 2015, the national rape statistics of Dalit girls/women have gone up by 15.41%. However in the state of Haryana the increase was 167%. Prem Chowdhry has pointed out how the rape of Dalit women is a punitive tool for ensuring social subordination of the lower caste to the upper caste.13 Vivek Kumar in this volume explores the seldom-researched topic of the use of abusive language against Dalit women. This volume ‘situates’ India but simultaneously seeks to address the phenomenon of gender-based violence beyond the conceptual binaries of East versus West/modern versus traditional/colonial versus post-colonial, etc. While this volume ‘situates’ India, it also acknowledges and underlines the significance of the global context in the making of gender bias leading to violence both in the public and the private domains. In Münster (Germany) in 2013 when Iris and I met in a cafe and discussed the aftershock of the horrendous Nirbhaya rape and murder case in German and Indian media, it struck us that gender violence is as much a global phenomenon as it is an Indian one. While the Western media had seized an opportunity to make a spectacle of the ‘Orient’14‚ we were determined to address the issue of gender violence by focusing on a variety of networks or scales (the local, the national, and the colonial/global sphere). To address these scholarly anxieties we organised a workshop on “Gender and Violence in Historical and Contemporary Perspectives” at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi between the 22nd and 24th of September, 2015. It drew together researchers from Germany and India to investigate the relationships between gender and violence in India from interdisciplinary perspectives. This volume is the outcome of brainstorming on the historical, transcultural, and comparative aspects of gender-based violence in India and the world. Our initiative on cross-cultural research was also triggered by a series of developments across the globe. The global rise in the level of violence against women in both the public and the private sphere has encouraged feminists to reach beyond their national boundaries.15 Yet, it still remains very difficult for many women to report violence within the domestic sphere. Furthermore, female victims are discouraged from taking legal action, as they are pressured instead to seek reconciliation with perpetrators. The varying degree of willingness to make a criminal complaint or even talk about violence makes it difficult to gain a complete picture of the situation. However, crime statistics, surveys, and reports of activity from international political institutions, support agencies, and non-profit organizations allow us to measure the scale of human rights abuses of women. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates ‘that overall, 35% of women worldwide have experienced either physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence’ in their lifetime.16 Some national violence studies show that more than 60% of women have experienced physical violence 6

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(irrespective of the perpetrator) at least once in their lifetime and more than 50% in the last 12 months before the survey.17 Violence against women does not exclusively involve physical assaults; rather, it is a multifaceted phenomenon also involving different forms of social discrimination that deprive women of their opportunities to develop themselves, to realise their potential, and to share equally in social goods.

Some statistical notes The traditional roots of gender-based violence continues to be very strong in India even though younger men and women have attained considerable levels of education and form a significant proportion of the workforce in India. This phenomenon gets complicated when global forces work their way into local economies and cultures. It might be useful to look at some statistics. This section with statistical notes from India is rooted in the question of intersectionality raised by Christa Wichterich in her chapter in this volume. She revisits the issue of economic globalisation, which, she argues, as a mode of modernisation, has penetrated Indian society and merged with patriarchal structures and modernised gender roles and relations. She explores a direct link between gender-based violence in India and the global processes through the issue of surrogacy and microcredit loans. As per data available from the Sample Registration System,18 the proportion of economically active population (15–59 years) has increased from 53.4 to 56.3% from 1971 to 1981 and 57.7 to 62.5% from 1991 to 2011. On account of better education, health facilities, and an increase in life expectancy, the percentage of elderly population (60+) has gone up from 5.3 to 5.7% and 6.0 to 8.0% respectively during the periods under reference. There is a marginal increase in the proportion of married female from 45.7 in 1991 to 48.9 in 2011. The mean age at effective marriage for women has improved from 19.3 years in 1990 to 21.2 years in 2011. During the colonial period, the debate on Sati (self-immolation by the Hindu widow) and child marriage gave way to some very significant legal enactments – such as the Sati Act of 1829; the Hindu Widow Remarriage Act of 1856; and the Age of Consent Act of 1891 (amended in 1929 to the Child Marriage Restraint Act). In independent India since 1947, legislative measures have been enacted to arrest gender-based violence in the society. These include, amongst other Acts: the Prohibition of Dowry Act 1961 and the Pre-Natal Diagnostic Act 1994. The Criminal (Amendment) Act 2013 has amended Section 376 of the Indian Penal Code and the preset definition of rape has included other related offences within its ambit. Though the inclusion of many clauses, such as other forms of penetration other than penile penetration, is commendable, the present definition fails to encompass many aspects which need or demand attention like marital rape. Despite a rich historical legacy of 7

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challenging the regressive customs; despite the presence of an aware urban population and workplace laws against sexual harassment; despite liberal view of gay rights by the Supreme Court – Indian cities (urban and rural) have become a site of everyday gender-based violence. The Indian government has responded by instituting certain gender-oriented policies since the 2012 Nirbhaya rape case. Strengthening of the policing, reporting, and attending to cases of gender violence is one major step in this direction. The monitoring target of the Twelfth Plan for Women and Children was laid down in 2015. It was noticed that poorer young girls in villages suffer from malnutrition and forced labour inside homes. Out of 46% children affected by malnutrition in the country, about 70% are girl children. There is a simultaneous exploitation of Shram and Sharir, i.e., ‘labour’ and ‘body’.19 The Beti Bachao Beti Padhao (BBBP) scheme, launched by Prime Minister Modi in January 2015 at Panipat, is a response to the falling child sex ratio (CSR). At the turn of the century, Census 2001 of India revealed that a population of 532 million, constituting 52%, are males and 497 million, constituting the remaining 48%, are females. In sheer numbers, males outnumber females by 35 million in population.20 There are some important indicators of gender status. These are literacy, workforce participation, and health. A cursory review might be useful. In the Indian urban population, the literacy rate is 79.9% at the national level. Many States and Union Territories have achieved literacy rates higher than the national average. These are Kerala, Lakshadweep, Mizoram, Goa, and Delhi, which have achieved literacy rates in the range of 88% to 96%. Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Jammu and Kashmir, and Uttar Pradesh rank in the last five states. This helps to evolve specific intervention strategies. There are still as many as 3,077 villages in the country that do not have a single literate. Out of them, 341 villages have populations of at least 100 persons. The number of villages not having a single female literate is 9,899 out of which 2,351 villages have a population of at least 100 persons. Out of 561 million literates in the country, 145 million literates are educated only up to ‘Below Primary’ level and another 147 million up to ‘Primary’ level. The number of literates educated up to these two levels account for 52% of the total literates in the country. Seventy-nine million (or 14.1%) of literates have attained Matric/Secondary level. There are 37 million persons in the country who are ‘Graduates and above’, which also include 12 million females. As per the Census 2001, the Indian workforce is over 400 million strong, which constitutes 39.1% of the total population of the country. The workers comprise 312 million main workers and 88 million marginal workers (i.e., those who did not work for at least 183 days in the preceding 12 months to the census taking). Sex differential amongst the number of male and female workers in the total workforce is significant. Of the total 402 million workers, 275 million are males and 127 million females. This 8

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would mean that 51.7% of the total males and 25.6% of the total females are workers. The number of female workers is less than about half the number of male workers. In terms of proportion, 68.4% of the workers are males and 31.6% are females. Among the workers, female workers are 23.3% and male workers are 76.7%. The majority of female workers (87.3%) belong to the rural areas,21 due to their being employed predominantly in activities like cultivation and agricultural labour. In the urban areas, the majority of female workers are engaged in household industries and other work. Interestingly, amongst marginal workers, females outnumber the males. In three of the four categories, viz. cultivators, agricultural labourers, and household industries, female marginal workers out number male workers. The distribution of main workers by industrial category shows that agriculture sector still employs the largest number of workers.22 The dependence on agriculture is brought about by the fact that of the 313 million main workers in the country, 166 million (56.6%) have been engaged in ‘Agricultural and allied activities’. This is followed by ‘Manufacturing Industries’, which employ about 42 million (13.4%). It is noted that most of the Annual Health Survey divisions fall under the maternal mortality ratio range of 200–300 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births and maternal mortality rate range of 20–30 per 1,000 women aged 15–49 years.23 While an adverse child sex ratio indicates sex selective abortions and female infanticides, differences in number of men and women in the age category of 18–60 indicate sex-specific migration or sex-differentials in mortality. According to 2016 statistics, the majority of cases under crimes against women in metropolitan cities were reported under ‘Cruelty by Husband or His Relatives’ (29.2%), followed by ‘Assault on Women with Intent to Outrage her Modesty’ (25.0%), ‘Kidnaping & Abduction of Women’ (22.2%), and ‘Rape’ (11.8%).24 Delhi reported 33.0% (13,803 out of 41,761 cases) of total cases of crimes against women followed by Mumbai (12.3%) (5,128 cases) during 2016. Delhi reported the highest crime rate (182.1) compared to the national average rate of 77.2. As for the majority of cases under crimes against women in State and Union Territories, they were reported under ‘Cruelty by Husband or His Relatives’ (32.6%), followed by ‘Assault on Women with Intent to Outrage her Modesty’ (25.0%), ‘Kidnaping & Abduction of Women’ (19.0%), and ‘Rape’ (11.5%).25 Uttar Pradesh reported 14.5% (49,262 out of 3,38,954 cases) of total cases of crimes against women followed by West Bengal (9.6%) (32,513 cases) during 2016. Delhi Union Territory reported the highest crime rate (160.4) compared to the national average of 55.2. State actions, militarisation, and gender violence in India have emerged as key areas of research in the past ten years. In the case of the North East of India it has been pointed out that while some rapes elicit strong protests, 9

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some do not. Rapes in regions of India that come under the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) fall into the latter category. Most of such rapes are inflicted with impunity by some members of the armed forces because of the protective provisions included in AFSPA.26 Such incidents never attract widespread anger because the victims are often from minority ethnic or religious groups. In addition street violence against women (SVAW) in India is highly under researched. There is a need to explore contextual factors responsible for the occurrence of SVAW in five cities of North East India: Agartala, Kohima, Imphal, Shillong, and Guwahati.27 In the case of Jammu and Kashmir, women face challenges related to health, economy, education, politics, domestic violence, declining sex ratio, female feticide and infanticide, state violence, dowry harassment, eve teasing, unequal wages, and child labour.28 The central government, state government, NGOs, and local bodies work jointly for the empowerment of women in Jammu and Kashmir. Although chapters in this volume critically evaluate state actions, unfortunately the themes of military presence and state and gender violence were outside the scope of this book.

Chapters and themes Section 1 opens with Mahalakshmi’s chapter, which explores the question of devotional violence amongst Saiva bhakti saints in South India. While the bhakti movement provided a liberal space outside the orthodox brahmanical tradition, stories from the twelfth century hagiographical text of Saiva bhakti saints in Tamil Nadu suggest that violent forms of devotional practices existed amongst both men and women devotees. This included a range of rituals from self-blinding (to gift eyes) to sacrificing one’s child to God. There are stories of wives of saints being violently killed as punishment for plucking holy flowers. Mahalakshmi points out to the need for a serious epistemological intervention by not oversubscribing to the fact that women were active agents in their own violent subjection. This is partly due to textual representation of a normative universe. One can perhaps link this phenomenon of a devotional normative universe (in this case the notion of purity/impurity) to understand women’s protest against entry of women of menstrual age in the Sabarimala shrine in the present day. In the next chapter, Felicity Jensz discusses the question of epistemic violence, which has often been used as an analytical tool in a colonial context and is connected with the discourses on modernity. She explores the concepts of ‘testimonial quieting’ and ‘testimonial smothering’ embedded in the knowledge about India. German knowledge of India in the early eighteenth to the mid-nineteenth century was mainly constituted through missionary texts, especially the Basel Mission’s Evangelisches Missions-Magazin

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(EMM), which was published in Basel from 1816. Jensz cites several examples such as an 1860 report from a Basel missionary working in Nilagiri where the missionary stated that suicide by opium ingestion was very common amongst young women who were forced into marriage against their will or amongst young wives whose mothers-in-law made their lives intolerable. Another report from a Bengali newspaper stereotyped the Young Bengal Movement members as pleasure seekers who indulged in drink and adultery. These images of disadvantaged Indian women and degraded Indian men subsequently helped the missionaries to establish ideals of Christianity in India and simultaneously to carry out an agenda for moral, educational, and hygienic superiority. The chapter by Judith Becker explores the allegations of sexual misconduct of a Basel missionary, Greiner, with an Indian girl convert of minor age in Karnataka in the late nineteenth century. She draws on the manuscript material from the Basel Mission Archives, Basel Mission periodical Der evangelische Heidenbote and edited letters and journals written by the missionary Hermann Gundert. The case was a rupture in the agenda of the Basel Mission to build model families to demonstrate to the Indians what life as a Christian meant. There was also an agenda to find Christian wives or husbands for their Indian converts and to marry those who – in their opinion – fitted together, either because they were both ‘really’ converted or because they hoped that the ‘really’ converted person would lead the other to ‘real’ conversion. The accusations of sexual misconduct were augmented by accusations of religious and professional misconduct. The case also discussed Mina’s own character. Becker brilliantly draws upon the existing European imagery of Indian women as seductive whereby any European male sexual encounter with them could also be seen as consensual. Manju Ludwig, in her chapter on ‘deviant’ male and transgender bodies in colonial India, argues that structures of violence were always inherent in these interactions, which included the infliction of physical pain along with epistemic and discursive violence. Rape trials in particular depended entirely on the evaluations of rape victims that were provided by medical experts. The colonial officials were also convinced about the ‘unreliability of native witnesses’. Amongst various cases mentioned by Ludwig, one significant example is the trial of Hari Das, a 15-year-old boy who was sentenced to two years of imprisonment in a juvenile prison after being convicted by the district magistrate’s court at Port Blair in March 1916 of being a ‘passive agent in the offence of unnatural crime’ under section 377 of the IPC. Hari Das claimed that he had been raped and had not consented to the same-sex act. He was deemed a ‘passive agent’ despite the statements of other two boys supporting his claim. Ludwig shows how colonial judges were quick to assume dubious moral character traits in the victims of sexual

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violence, thereby downplaying the victims’ violent experiences and belittling their testimonies. She discusses the implications of legal measures such as 1871 Criminal Tribes Act, Section 377, under the IPC (1862) and the Whipping Act of 1864. In my chapter I have looked at inter linkages between gender, crime, and law in colonial India. Formation of the Anglo Indian legal structure constituted a tedious process and colonial state and the indigenous Indian reformers were confronted with statistics revealing various violent aspects of gender and crime. All three Acts – Sati Act of 1829, Age of Consent Act of 1891(amended as Child Marriage Restraint Act in 1929), and Immoral Traffic Act of 1933 – had a very logical chronology. They shared certain common concerns, which involved the woman’s body, such as virginity, puberty, menstruation, and consummation. The latter was framed mostly by concerns around social and moral hygiene. What indeed unites these Acts is the State’s (both in colonial and in independent India) concern with heinous cases of violence against women. The discussion focuses on Sati and Jauhar: the traditional glorification of death; child marriage and rape: the question of consent; social and moral concerns versus crime against prostitutes. The debates on these issues since India became independent, have been constitutionally outside the domain of scriptural concerns once the issues of humanist views of women’s health and mother’s welfare were introduced. Nilika Mehrotra and Mahima Nayar explore the invisibility of issues related to violence against disabled women in India mostly on the basis of their fieldwork carried out in Haryana. They argue that women of all ages with disabilities are at risk, both within and outside the home, of violence, injury, or abuse, neglect or negligent treatment, maltreatment, or exploitation. It can be in different forms: neglect, physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional, and psychological abuse, and financial exploitation. The perpetrators can be personal attendants, health care providers, other family members, and even strangers. The Criminal Law (Amendment) Act of 2013 was amended to include aggravated sexual assault (Section 376 (2) of the Indian Penal Code), rape committed on a woman suffering from mental or physical disability (for the first time in the Penal Code’s history). Cases have been cited to show disadvantages and domestic violence that result from post-disability scenarios. The authors also argue for the study of specific cultural contexts within which the empowerment schemes for disabled people must be contexualised. It is important to include ‘body’ and ‘impairment’ in disability discourses in a country like India. Focusing on social model only may lead to the invisibility of the ‘lived body’ with its pains, aches, difficulties, and abilities. The next chapter by Vivek Kumar highlights how the violence is embodied at societal levels on the basis of data extracted from Dalit women biographies, narratives, and empirical data from the field and government 12

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records. Kumar looks at some of the rare and significant Dalit biographies such as those of Viramma, Urmila Pawar, Baby Kamble, and Om Prakash Valmiki. Kumar highlights different categories of Dalit women who experience violence differently. From Viramma to Bhanwari Devi – the nature of violence is based on caste. Viramma for example, deals with the violence of hunger and sickness, which killed 9 of her 12 children. This is the hidden violence of words or a gesture expressed in all possible shades of contempt, when upper caste landlords, government officers, or simple peasants talk to Dalits or talk about them; the violence of bondage, debt, economic dependency; the violence of a fate of uncertainty; the violence of sex, sometimes proposed and sometimes imposed upon poor women who are expected to lie down for a little money or for medical care at the local hospital. Kumar argues that there is the subdued, general, and permanent violence, which sustains the daily practice of untouchability across different categories of Dalit women. In the next chapter, Deepra Dandekar opens up a highly significant question of Muslim feminism in present day India where the minority perspective is a complex negotiation that actually stages culturally hybrid identities.29 Dandekar presents three cases/perspectives. One is Muslim Women’s Rights Network leader Hasina Khan’s perspective who considers her politics to represent the typical postcolonial feminist palimpsest aimed at ending patriarchal violence. Quran was central authority for codifying gender equality for Hasina as she rejected association of constitutional equality between religious groups through the uniform civil code. The other feminist activist denounced Muslim patriarchal Islamism. The third perspective emerges from interviews of Zoya and her mother Fauziya whose interstitial social location of being a single and independent mother, abandoned by her husband, was complicated by their North Indian Muslim identity amidst Konkani Muslims. Renate Syed situates the question of the third gender or Hijras. She argues that there was intercourse, social and sexual, between men and third gender people, as evinced by Kama Sutra and other Hindu texts. These interactions were managed by men, mostly, who ensured ‘safe’ places for engaging with the Hijras. Seclusion from the public spaces and resources has led to creation of a third world for them along with social, biological and sexual, and economic discrimination. Syed problematises the binary model used by Western academics and activists to understand the Hijra. Western model is a ‘twosex’ model with names such as transgender, transsexual, transvestite, homosexual, or eunuch. This can be seen as a form of outlandish discrimination and could be interpreted as Eurocentrism or even mental neocolonialism and cultural imperialism. Susmita Dasgupta revisits the brutal murder and rape of Jyoti Singh (referred by Indian media symbolically as Nirbhaya, meaning fearless). She argues that these offences are indicative of social vigilantism in which women’s 13

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roles in the public sphere are resented by men. These offences are also assertions of the male presence in the public sphere, a competition with the rising freedoms for women, and the increasing presence of women. The violence against women is a covert class war fought out on the streets. The offenders feel enraged and angered at the mere sight of independent women, a social pathology of our times. The Nirbhaya case also brought forward the sheer indifference of the authorities to issues which women face despite the fact that young and working women are emerging as a major social force. The callousness of the law enforcers show that women’s issues have no political constituency, a definite weakness of the feminist movement in India.30 Christa Wichterich in her chapter revisits the issue of economic globalisation, which, she argues, as a mode of modernisation, has penetrated the Indian society and merged with patriarchal structures and modernised gender roles and relations. Neoliberal globalisation integrate young women into the labour market – as textile workers in Tamil Nadu, as skilled IT-agents into call centres, as surrogate mothers in transnational reproductive markets. Wichterich brings in very significant cases, one being a case study of suicide of more than 50 women in Andhra Pradesh at the end of 2010. These women were victims of indebtedness caused by microcredits. Her study highlights the Sumangali system in South India, where the precarious and risky work of surrogacy31 led to structural violence imposed by economic globalisation. Mary Edwards’ chapter on Fifty Shades of Grey finds place in this volume as a reminder of how intimate spaces in the fictional world can turn violent and how this violence can be misunderstood as fantasy and empowerment of women. Edwards argues that the international success of Fifty Shades of Grey is likely to have harmed women as a group across different cultures and that the supposed ‘empowerment’ offered by this text has the effect of concealing its insertion in the network of structures that oppress women. She unfolds a critique of Fifty Shades of Grey, focusing on the literary methods it employs to reinterpret inherently degrading sexual violence as a kind of ‘empowerment’, as satisfying the authentic sexual desires of its heroine, who becomes a ‘true’ woman through the acceptance and realization of these desires. She emphasis the need to classify this text alongside other forms of inegalitarian pornography as it perpetuates myths about women and contributes to women’s oppression in the present times. Bodh Prakash’s chapter on women-centred literary texts, with Partition of India as subtext, explores various forms of violence within the domestic spaces and personal relationships. While oral testimonies of survivors yield valuable insights into gender-specific violence, he analyses women-centred literary texts to foreground the myriad and subtle forms of discrimination that women were exposed to, as well as some of the strategies of resistance.

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Interestingly several stories employ the mythological character of Sita. For example, Hashmi’s unnamed narrator sees herself as having  been condemned to perpetual vanvaas, living in exile with Ravana with no hope of a Rama ever rescuing her. Lajwanti, another female character, after fleeing the clutches of Ravana and being welcomed back in Ayodhya, is metaphorically condemned to a life with a Rama, who is convinced of her infidelity. Given the overwhelming power and dominance of patriarchy, the refusal to forget, as we have seen, can become a strategy of resistance on the part of the victimised woman. Prakash argues that for the family/community/ society, the refusal to forget (the sexual violence by a man from the other community) is a strategy of continuous victimization, an act of unending violence. In the next chapter Adelheid Herrmann-Pfandt introduces some selected Bollywood and arthouse Hindi films of the last four decades that show violence acted out against women. The first one is Leslee Udwin’s 2015 documentary India’s Daughter which makes obvious how violence against women is not done by perpetrators from outside but is part of society itself. Different forms of violence against women are discussed using films as examples: female infanticide and feticide (Matrubhoomi, Manish Jha, 2003), prostitution (Giddh, T. S. Ranga, 1984), rape (Insaf Ka Tarazu, B. R. Chopra, 1980; Damini, Rajkumar Santoshi, 1993), and so-called honour killing (NH 10, Navdeep Singh, 2015). The author poses a useful question about why patriarchal society, exemplified by the Film Certification Board, seems to fear the depiction of consensual sexuality more than male sexualised violence against women. The author puts a question mark to whether revenge violence, a subject especially popular in recent movies like NH 10, can ever prove an effective method to deal with gender based violence? Given the immense influence of Bollywood cinema on the people in India, the question is asked if films showing violence as the only answer to violence, and often even to problems not involving violence, might partly be responsible for the growing amount of violence in Indian society. Some of the overarching challenges that this book partly addresses and partly poses for future research are as follows: 1) The binary of tradition versus modernity or East versus West is no longer relevant to understand colonial encounters. Encounter as shown by historians in the first section is a multifaceted and multilayered phenomenon. The advent of British/Portuguese/Basel Mission or German missionaries in India triggered a bilateral process where patriarchal ideas and symbols were reorganised and restored on both sides. Indian women came across as seductive, exotic, and vulnerable. The British took measures to ensure their image as liberal/benevolent rulers remained intact while they relied heavily on Hindu scriptures and reformist support to enact

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2)

3)

4)

5)

6)

(7)

criminal and civic laws. Colonial concerns for social and moral hygiene overtook the concern for violence against women in India. Gender-based crime reporting (Sati/child marriage/murder of prostitutes) and assemblage of evidence during the colonial period in India clearly show that most of the lawmaking and reported crimes had global outcomes. The issue of caste-based gender violence has been forcefully evinced. We need to engage with different categories/class of Dalit women who have been victims of either physical, social violence, or verbal abuse (tantamount to violence). The challenge ahead is that we need to understand not only the pain but also anger in Dalit women/men. Their resistance needs to be explored. The issue of Muslim women’s feminism and their negotiation with other forms of feminist perspectives has been highlighted here. Further research on this topic remains a challenge as most work requires interaction with local level Muslim activists and non activists. This book situates deviant sexuality/third gender in India. The discussion ranges from the incrimination of juvenile victims of sexual violence in the colonial period to modern-day seclusion of Hijras. The book endorses the need for inclusion of disability studies within the social science domain. The policies need to be Indiacentric with the use of modern technological aid. Global humanitarian policies need to be implemented with an individual friendly local approach. There are different inherent forms of violence in literature/fiction and cinema. Violence is not merely a physical experience. Cultural traumas too can create a pathological condition. There is a need to engage with whether sexual/porn literature is empowering or disempowering for women. There is a direct link between gender-based violence and global processes. Surrogacy has a vast international market and cannot exist without foreign demand. Non-repayablilty of microcredit loans to women sometimes lead women to commit suicides. However there are other forms of violence, which need to be made visible. Overall the big overarching question that this book poses is whether gender-based violence needs to be situated in the global or the Indian context? Iris Flessenkämper in the next introductory chapter raises the question of gender discrimination, gender-based violence, knowledge production, and postcolonial feminist perspectives. One leads us to recognise that violence can only be detected and explained at the ‘intersection’ of several social categories such as ethnic and religious affiliation, social status, wealth, sexual orientation, and age. A universal humanitarian-legal framework for dealing with gender-based violence is necessary.32 Therefore, while evolving the conceptual framework of this book both the editors have tried to be cautious about the postmodern ‘overemphasis’ on difference and diversity to understand gender-based violence. 16

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Notes 1 With her consent, when her consent has been obtained by putting her or any person in whom she is interested in fear of death or of hurt; With her consent, when, at the time of giving such consent, by reason of unsoundness of mind or intoxication; With or without her consent, when she is under 16 years of age. Penetration is sufficient to constitute the sexual intercourse necessary to the offence of rape. Sexual intercourse by a man with his own wife, the wife not being under 15 years of age, is not rape. Section 375 in The Indian Penal Code, Central Government Act. 2 ‘At Sabarimala, They Turned Their Anger at Us’, Women Journalists, 17th October 2018. men-journalists-1933565?pfrom=home-opinion (accessed on 20 October 2018). 3 Sabarimala verdict in Supreme Court highlights: A five-judge Constitutional bench has ruled in favour of allowing women of all ages to enter Kerala’s most famous temple. https://indianexpress.com/article/india/sabarimala-verdict-liveupdates-supreme-court-women-temples-kerala-5377598/ (accessed 1 October 2018). 4 ‘Sabarimala Temple: Indian Women form “620km Human Chain” for Equality’, BBC News, 1st January 2019. 5 ‘Padmaavat Glorifies Rajputs, Says Shri Rajput Karni Sena‚ Withdraws Protest’, The Hindu, 3rd February 2018. www.thehindu.com/news/national/ other-states/padmaavat-glorifies-rajputs-says-karni-sena-withdraws-protest/ article22641784.ece 6 Shashi Joshi and Bhagwan Josh, Struggle for Hegemony in India: Culture, Community and Power, vol. 3, New Delhi: Sage, 1994 (reprint in 2012 as part of a three volume set on Struggle for Hegemony), p. 234. In my article on ‘Sati, Child Wives and Prostitutes’ in this volume I argue that in contemporary India where State and NGO sector projects are full steam ahead to save the girl child and to protect girls from rape and family violence – cinematic celebration of the historical Rajput practice of jauhar seems to be a case of misplaced valour. 7 Some significant cases and debates around lawmaking have been discussed by Vineeta Kumari, ‘Crime, Culture and Women in Haryana: Issues of Infanticide, Bride-Trafficking, Honour Killing and Rape (1880s Till Present)’ MPhil dissertation, JNU, 2014. 8 ‘Case of Honour Killing: Police on Gaya Minor Girl Who Was Found Beheaded’, Hindustan Times, 10th January 2019. 9 ‘Girl’s Father Slits Her Lover’s Throat on West Delhi Street’, The Times of India, 3rd February 2018. 10 ‘Uttar Pradesh: Three Killed in Two Separate Honour Killings’, The Times of India, 18th January 2018. 11 BBC News, 6th September 2018. www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-45429664 12 ‘Haryana Rape: Class 12 Student Main Accused in Girl’s Rape, Torture and Murder’, Hindustan Times, 15th January 2018. 13 Chowdhry says that she elicited a shocking reply during her fieldwork. A Jat boy crudely put, ‘who wants to marry a Chuhri, we only have intercourse with them’. Prem Chowdhry, ‘Low Convictions Sustain Haryana’s Rape Epidemic’, Prem Chowdhry in The Tribune, 26th September 2018. 14 This was the phrase used by Veena Talwar Oldenburg to describe the reaction of the American public in New York in 1984 to the case of dowry murder in India. It consisted of a documentary where footages of a bride engulfed in flames was being shown. She tried to suggest that it could just be murder, an ordinary crime of passion or greed, such as that may happen against a wife or a girlfriend in

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15

16

17 18 19

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America or elsewhere. It was not possible for the Americans to see this event as a geographically or culturally neutral event. For them bride burning in a Hindu family could be understood only in the context of Hindu religion. Veena Talwar Oldenberg, Dowry Murder: The Imperial Origins of a Cultural Crime, New York: Oxford University Press, 2002. Various economic and political interconnections and geographical linkages have been established by Radhika Coomaraswamy and Ambika Satkunanathan to study trafficking of women beyond their national boundaries. They have addressed the problem of trafficking and its close connection to migration which is, in turn, connected to and enforced by poverty, as well as lack of resources and opportunities, especially for women. Radhika Coomaraswamy and Nimanthi Perera (eds.), Constellations of Violence: Feminist Interventions in South Asia, New Delhi: Women Unlimited, 2008. World Health Organization, et al., Global and Regional Estimates of Violence against Women: Prevalence and Health Effects of Intimate Partner Violence and Non-Partner Sexual Violence, 2013. http://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/10665/ 85239/1/9789241564625_eng.pdf (accessed on 10 January 2018), p. 2. United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, The World’s Women 2015, Trends and Statistics, 2015. https://unstats.un.org/unsd/gender/worldswomen. html (accessed on 10 January 2018), Chapter 6: Violence against Women, p. 143. Chapter 2 Population composition, SRS Statistical Report 2011, Office of the Registrar General & Census Commissioner, India, Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India. Jyoti Atwal, ‘Gender Equality for a Progressive Society’, in a special issue on Empowering Rural Women, Kurukshetra, Ministry of Information and Broadcast, Government of India, New Delhi, January 2018:46–49. CSR is defined as number of girls per 1000 boys between 0 and 6 years of age. From 976 in 1961, the CSR fell to 918 in 2011. This indicated societal discrimination at birth or at the prenatal stage. The scheme is aimed at protecting baby girls by celebrating their birth and taking pride in them; by imposing a strict ban on sex determination tests; by countering the tradition of calling girls ‘parayan dhan’ (someone’s property); by opposing dowry, child marriage, and gender stereotypes; preventing violence against girls in public places and at home; and most importantly ensuring that girls secure admission in schools and do not drop out. Sex ratio is defined as the number of females per 1000 males. It is an important and useful indicator to assess relative excess of deficit of men or women in a given population at that point of time. Sex differentials can be due to difference in mortality rate, migration, sex ratio at birth, and at times the undercounting of women at the time of population enumeration. Office of the Registrar General & Census Commissioner, India, Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India. http://censusindia.gov.in/Census_And_You/gender_composition.aspx (accessed on 3 February 2018) Aggarwal has pointed out the lack of property rights of women in land as daughters. Bina Aggarwal, A Field of One’s Own: Gender and Land Rights in South Asia, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994. • •

‘Widows versus Daughters or Widows as Daughters? Property, Land and Economic Security in Rural India’, Modern Asian Studies, vol. 32, no. 1 (February 1998): 1–48. ‘Women, Poverty and Agricultural Growth in India’, The Journal of Peasant Studies, vol. 13, no. 4 (July 1986): 165–220.

22 The workers have been classified by the type of economic activity according to nine broad categories as per the National Industrial Classification, 1998.

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23 Annual Health Survey Report: A Report on Core and Vital Health Indicators, Office of the Registrar General & Census Commissioner, India, Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, p. 20. 24 Crime in India – 2016 SNAPSHOTS (Metropolitan Cities – >2 Million Population, National Crime Records Bureau, Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, p. 3. 25 Crime in India – 2016 SNAPSHOTS States and Union Territories, National Crime Records Bureau, Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, p. 3. 26 Amit Ranjan, ‘A Gender Critique of AFSPA: Security for Whom?’, Social Change, vol. 45, no. 3, (September 1, 2015): 440. 27 Rituparna Bhattacharya, ‘Street Violence against Women in India: Mapping Prevention Strategies’, Asian Social Work AND Policy Review, vol. 10, no. 3 (October 2016): 311–325. 28 Nyla Ali Khan, Islam, Women and Violence in Kashmir: Between India and Pakistan, New Delhi: Tulika, 2009. 29 I have explored the question of feminism of Rokeya Sakhawat Hussain, a Muslim educationist in the early twentieth century. Jyoti Atwal, ‘Donna Haraway and Feminist Philosophy: The Cyborgic Moment in Indian Feminist history’, Homosapiens: A Travancore Journal of Philosophy, Oriental Institute of Religious Studies, Kottayam, vol. 1, no. 1 (January 2018): 43–56. 30 Some new perspectives in a similar direction emerge from Maitrayee Chaudhuri’s work on ‘National and Global Media Discourse after “Nirbhaya”: Instant Access and Unequal Knowledge’, in Refashioning India: Gender, Media, and a Transformed Public Discourse, M. Chaudhuri, New Delhi: Orient Black Swan, 2017, pp. 232–257. 31 The section on surrogacy in this article enters into a discussion on the role of the Indian state. Although the Bill was introduced in 2016, it was passed in December 2018 in the Lok Sabha. I, as an editor of this volume, would like to put a disclaimer to the author’s position on surrogacy. 32 My coeditor and I differ in our perspectives on the need for universal humanitarian framework. I strongly argue for it. Interestingly, there is a realisation amongst scholars of Western feminism that ‘individual empowerment might involve embracing modes of thought and action (including participation in right wing or masculinist movements, the strategic use of passivity or dissimulation and so on) which may depart dramatically from Western liberal notions of feminist emancipation’. Kathryn Gleadle and Zoe Thomas, ‘Global Feminisms, c.1870– 1930: Vocabularies and Concepts: A Comparative Approach’, Women’s History Review, vol. 27, no. 7 (December 2018): 1209–1219.

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RESEARCHING GENDER-BASED VIOLENCE IN INDIA Issues, concepts, approaches Iris Flessenkämper

Since a group of men raped and tortured to death a young Indian woman in New Delhi in December 2012, Indian society has discussed with a new intensity the causes, forms, and effects of sexual violence against Indian women. The Western media have also addressed in the wake of this incident the question of which gender-specific and social inequalities are responsible for sexual violence in India and which measures the state should adopt to tighten the legal prosecution of sexual offences so that it fits the ‘Western’ model. In so doing, India is often described as a ‘culture that disadvantages, if not oppresses, women’, a culture in which a ‘male Indian mainstream conservatism’ legitimises violent assaults on women with traditional notions of a fundamental inferiority of the female sex.1 Since the 1980s, feminist academics and activists have examined from the Western perspective the particular nature of discrimination against girls and women in India, referring especially to documented cases of planned rape, to the abortion of female foetuses, to the killing of girls, dowry-related deaths, child marriages, and Sati. Recent gender research and contemporary Indological publications that have adopted the approaches of postcolonial theory sometimes criticise the work of Western feminists as a negative feature of exoticism, arguing that they lose sight of the proportionality of sexually motivated acts of violence in India and also identify the ‘Indian woman’ in an essentialist manner as a ‘gendered subaltern’2, without allowing her to speak for herself. Transnational gender studies also point out that the narrative of the oppressed indigenous woman, in particular, evokes one-sided conceptions of the ‘Western woman’ as an ‘autonomous subject’ and contributes in a colonial tradition of thinking to the consolidation of the image of the ‘West’ as a society that is morally superior to the cultures of the ‘East’.3 This chapter outlines the conflicting issues and goals surrounding academic research on gender-based violence in India today. After an overview

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of the intersectional approach in current gender studies (section 1), my particular focus will be on the premises and arguments of postmodern, and especially postcolonial feminist criticism (section 2). Rather than relying on universalistic concepts, postmodernist gender researchers prefer to operate with theoretical approaches that make allowances for both the social differences between women and the contextual specificities of gender-based violence. In post-independence India, structural violence against women is exacerbated by economic globalisation as the ideal of ‘Western’ modernity on the one hand and, on the other hand, by the social, and also sometimes politically motivated, revival of traditional patriarchal value systems (section 3). Despite the importance of the culturally specific context, the chapter will also question whether the different forms of social discrimination against the female gender are due to a patriarchal understanding of society that can be seen not only as an ‘Indian’ phenomenon but one that is cross-cultural. I therefore focus in particular on the function of sexual violence against women in the generation, legitimisation, and demarcation of group identities, a function that plays an important role not only in India today (section 4). The importance that the sexual integrity of the woman has for the social integrity of the group or family also leads to the fact that perpetrators of sexual violence in India are rarely reported or prosecuted. Against this background, we also need to explore the limited effectiveness of laws to protect women in India (section 5). The implementation of laws remains only one possibility amongst many to counter gender-based violence effectively. What are still important for academic theory and political practice are models and initiatives that focus on the difference and diversity of female experiences of injustice and on their implications for agency. My chapter thus concludes with a plea to take as a starting point for reflection and action the specific and distinct circumstances under which women live.

Gender at the crossroads: situating identity and inequality It is widely accepted by gender researchers today that gender, in contrast to sex, is a historically and socially situated category rather than a naturally occurring entity that corresponds to a fixed and pregiven biomaterial world. Gender identities are understood as complex variables in space and time, resulting not from an essential substance but from ascriptions, narratives, and practices that are subject to cultural and historical norms.4 Postmodern gender studies therefore considers ‘women’ and ‘men’ as socially constructed categories that need to be decoded in order to understand both the dynamic potential of role descriptions and the specific mechanisms of identity-making in premodern and modern cultures. In the words of Stuart Hall, identities are points of temporary attachment to the subject positions which discursive practices construct for us. . . . Identities are, as it were, the

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positions which the subject is obliged to take up while always “knowing” . . . that there are representations, that representation is always constructed across a “lack”, across a division, from the place of the Other.5 According to this definition, identities are necessarily embedded within multiple discourses of belonging that are structured in line with many different social categories. Individuals thus define their respective ‘selves’ by demarcating themselves from the respective ‘other’, be that ‘other’ female or male, white or black, poor or wealthy, educated or uneducated, ‘Western’ or ‘Eastern’, heterosexual or homosexual, old or young, Christian or Muslim, etc. Gender theorists today tend to (re-)interpret notions of gender on the basis of intersecting axes of difference, thus undermining universalising feminist concepts that envisaged women as ‘a coherent group with identical interests and desires’.6 With its emphasis on difference, the intersectional approach was designed not only to explain the heterogeneous processes of identitymaking but also, and above all, to analyse the manifold causes, crosslinks, and challenges of social inequality.7 The Black Feminist Theory of the 1990s, for example, regards gender, ‘race’, and class as fundamental markers of existing power relations that need to be analysed in their mutual dependencies. These categories constitute at a macro level the basic social coordinates of what Patricia H Collins calls ‘interlocking systems of oppression’, which in turn provide the structural framework for social positions and experiences of privilege and discrimination at a micro level.8 On the basis of this conceptual approach, intersectionality research today distinguishes between many more categories of social difference, such as sexual orientation, ethnicity, nationality/state, culture, religion, economic status, ability, and age.9 Although feminist theory acknowledges that women occupy very different social locations, it still considers gender to be one of the crucial structural principles in human societies. Apart from using intersectional approaches in a merely additive way (that is, by counting and stating the multiple factors and reasons for discrimination), feminist researchers foreground gender as a powerful discursive category that organises fundamental private and public relationships (partnership, family, religious community, work, etc.) in connection with other social determinants.10 Against this background, gender-specific discrimination but also gender-specific privileges can only be recorded at the interface of different social ‘axes’, which at the same time provide the structural basis for different identity politics and social power relations.11 The deconstruction of sexual assignment in interaction with other social determinants is therefore designed to open up the underlying power structure in its multifaceted complexity, its forms both of expression and organization.12 A power structure often manifests itself in social inequalities that are maintained or undermined by acts of violence. Although perceptions vary 22

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in the vast field of research on violence as to what violence exactly is, there is now agreement that the ‘transgression of boundaries’ can be regarded as a transhistorical and transcultural principle of violence. On the one hand, violence occurs ‘in times of the dissolution, or at least of the manifold weakening, of moral, sexual, educational or legal norms and values’.13 On the other, the definition of what constitutes violence also depends on norms that vary historically and culturally. The opportunities for the escalation or de-escalation of violence are determined by specific structural developments in society, state-institutional framework conditions, discourses on violence and its legitimacy, as well as by private and public structures of opportunity. Violence is therefore always to be understood not only as a means to an end but also as the ‘result of social processes’.14 To account for the various social dimensions and conditions of violence, it is therefore necessary to understand the concept of violence and its impact on gender relations according to both its micro and macro dimensions, in terms of its direct and indirect mechanisms of action.15 On the one hand, it refers to forms of physical, personal, and intentional violence. On the other, it also comprises what Johan Galtung has called ‘structural violence’, and Foucault has termed ‘normalizing forces’ – that is, socio-structural, institutional, and discursive violence.16 While perpetrators remain personally identifiable in the exercise of personal violence, structural violence is the result of systemic and collective actions, whose actors or facilitators are interchangeable. The two dimensions of violence – the physical and the state-structural – cannot be considered separately, and especially so since each legitimate authority in history (potestas) is based ultimately on the at least potential use of physical violence (violentia). Feminist theories today focus predominantly on the institutional, discursive, and practical manifestations of gender in overlapping systems of inequality. Using intersectional approaches, though, feminist scholars not only seek to identify women’s different locations and experiences of inequality within society but also reflect on their specific contributions to the reproduction of power relations in order to explore the complex dynamics of oppression and privilege.17 Against this backdrop, it is not surprising that the Western feminist movement, when it discovered in the 1990s ‘the non-innocence of the category “woman”’, began to question its meta-narratives on female subordination.18 The inextricable connections of gender ‘to the state, the economy, and to other macro and micro level processes’19 naturally made it impossible to assume that women speak and act in a power vacuum.20 The differences between women in terms of their ethnic, social and cultural backgrounds necessarily entail differences in power capabilities. Their individual locations in the ‘race-class-culture’ system determine their involvement in the dynamics of inequality as much as they shape their potential and limitations for agency. These concessions led to a period of critical self-reflection for feminist activist scholarship itself, which by definition sought to combine 23

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empirical-analytical research with normative-political perspectives. The normative goal to redress existing gender inequalities could lead feminists to perpetuate traditional stereotypes of women as powerless victims and to ignore the contextuality and dissimilarity of their experiences of inequality. With their emphasis on victimisation, feminists ran the risk both of depriving women who suffer discrimination of their empowerment capabilities and of overlooking the oppressive potentials of their privileged counterparts. Given the social heterogeneity of women, critical feminists thus increasingly argue that ‘sisterhood’ cannot exclusively ‘be assumed on the basis of gender; it must be forged in concrete, historical and political practice and analysis’.21

Difference matters: postcolonial feminist critique The theoretical focus on the ‘concrete’ and often conflicting social contexts of women disposes the theoretical observer to reflect critically on the affiliations of her own location. Scholarly judgment of what is or needs to be defined as ‘unequal’ or ‘unjust’ depends fundamentally on internalised value systems and personal experiences within specific socio-cultural contexts. It therefore belongs to the very history of feminism that its theoretical preliminaries and goals were and still are ‘ideologically and strategically diverse’.22 The emergence of postcolonial feminism plays a central role in the fragmentation of late feminist academic approaches and practices. Not only does it bring into focus the patriarchal oppression and economic subordination of the hitherto neglected subaltern woman, it also criticises mainstream international feminism for propagating universalising concepts of ‘women in danger’ without critically reflecting on women’s complicity in colonialist exploitation.23 Postcolonial feminists fear not only that the idea of ‘global sisterhood’ perpetuates the narrative of female victimhood (and thus powerlessness) but also that it might entail uncritical adoptions of Western ‘discourses of rescue’ that reproduce deep-rooted ethnic prejudices against non-Western cultures. Deconstructivist scholars such as Gayatri C Spivak and Chandra T Mohanty are thus anxious to uncover the underlying ‘imperialistic’ premises and textual strategies developed by Western feminists who adhere strongly to the idea of a global feminist alliance.24 They also reinterpret the academic and political commitment of Western feminists to ‘poor’ women in the ‘Third World’ as a ‘paternalistic mission’ resulting from inherited and often invisible patterns of colonial thinking.25 According to postcolonial feminist criticism, Western feminists tend to envisage their sisters in the ‘Third World’ as a monolithic group of women who share the same characteristics of dependency: namely, ignorance, poverty, lack of education, a strong inclination towards traditional values, domesticity, family orientation, and victimhood.26 These discourses of female ‘othering’ necessarily imply that women in the ‘First World’ are in contrast open-minded, wealthy, educated, modern, career-minded, sexually liberated, and thus generally in control of 24

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their lives and bodies. They also imply that men in the ‘Third World’ are ‘barbaric’ perpetrators of violence while conversely defining ‘First World’ men as civilised beings with the cultural potential to save ‘brown women from brown men’.27 Discursive representations of the Third World woman as victim of male violence are thus deeply embedded within processes of ‘othering’. Against this backdrop, postcolonial scholars consider international feminism to be the result of ‘Western’ ethnocentric ideologies and gender dichotomisations that aim at liberating women ‘from their inherently oppressive cultural patriarchy’.28 They therefore accuse Western activist scholars of neglecting the power or capacity of especially indigenous women to organise themselves politically and of denying them full moral judgement and agency.29 Responding to these reproaches, however, feminist scholars complain about the tendency of postcolonial theory to oversimplify and homogenise both the academic and the political agenda of ‘Western’ feminism. The criticism directed at Western feminists that they ignore the social differences between women applies equally to postcolonial feminists, who are criticised for failing to acknowledge the diversity of Western feminist writing and ‘indeed the work of a great many women of all colours that has articulated the relationships between gender, sexuality, class, nation, race and culture’.30 Another criticism levelled at postcolonial feminist scholarship is its inclination towards ethnocentric generalisations; that is, its tendency to transfer the conclusions that it draws with regard to one specific culture to other postcolonial parts of the world. Both points of criticism draw attention to the fact that feminist studies today should be obliged to allow for the contextual specificities and varieties of discrimination against women in order to do full justice to the complexity of social experiences in modern societies.31 However, in contrast to this line of criticism, which is followed mainly by postcolonial feminists themselves, some feminist activists fear that the ‘overemphasis’ on female heterogeneity could fragment the women’s movement in general, making impossible any kind of ‘egalitarian and noncolonizing cross-cultural scholarship’.32 The focus on local and cultural specificities may thus inadvertently lead to a reinforcement of ‘otherness’, to a cultural relativism that might bedevil moral judgements and obstruct initiatives of collective action. Some postcolonial feminists have reacted to these criticisms by emphasising that their intention was never to challenge the need to define feminism as a common ‘political project’. Rather, they want to build a feminism that reflects critically on ‘the effect of Western feminist scholarship on the “third world”’33, and that focuses its analyses on both the macrolevel of socio-political and economic systems, and the ‘micropolitics of context’ to account for the ‘power differences’34 between women and men, and amongst women themselves.35 Today, most feminist scholars seek to combine emic and etic perspectives to gain a wider and more differentiated understanding of the various patterns 25

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and processes of identity-making, identity-defence, and social inequality. The multiple experiences of women are now considered an essential prerequisite for capturing and respecting the different principles underlying the organisations and human rights campaigns of ‘subaltern’ women, as well as for measuring their impact on social change.36 They also form the basis of feminist analyses that deal with the ‘complexities of identity formation and identity achievement’ amongst minority women.37 Thus, racial and ethnic positioning have become crucially important with respect to the ‘situated context’ of the observer herself, who is constantly required to reflect critically on her cultural provenance and her ‘white’ or ‘non-white’ perspective when dealing with issues in feminism.38

Challenges of Indian feminisms: the essentialization of culture and its implications for women The exercise of critical self-awareness and the acknowledgement of diversities amongst women have proved indispensable for those feminist scholars who seek to examine the different concepts and challenges of feminism against the background of post-independence nationalism. Since its foundation, the Indian postcolonial state has faced the difficulty of reconciling the modern ideologies of a unified nationalism with a reality of cultural and regional divisions.39 In combining a multitude of ethnicities, religions, castes, and languages in multiple regions, India seems to be a prototype of social hybridity, religious plurality, and regional diversity. These divisions have fostered various secessionist demands in the peripheral regions, demands that still seem to threaten the Indian state’s agenda for consolidating national unity and territorial integrity. Political efforts at centralisation and modernisation clash with regional autonomy movements based on language, religion, or ethnic identity, while attempts at installing a non-religious, pluralistic nationalism on the basis of the Indian constitution collide with communalist Hindu initiatives for resacralising the nation. These antagonistic ‘spatial visions’40 play an important role in the making of community identities in India today. They also make very clear that the historical heritage of colonial rule in India remains a major frame of reference for political ideologies and cultural self-conceptions. Given the strong impact of colonial history, activists and scholars from India are required to develop a peculiar sensitivity towards defining their position within the feminist movement. On the one hand, Indian feminists still feel the need to struggle against the postmodern excrescences of Western cultural imperialism, which sustains notions of female victimhood and induces economic exploitation of female labour. On the other hand, some feel urged to struggle against political initiatives that claim to preserve an ostensibly ‘pure’ – that is, ‘non-colonial’ or ‘pre-colonial’ – Indian tradition based on patriarchal norms. These contrary discursive pulls of tradition and modernity make it difficult for Indian feminists today to 26

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find an ‘authentic’ voice – one that is neither imposed by a Western centre nor intimidated by essentialist notions of culture which legitimise traditional gender roles and inequalities.41 The various political and social attempts to revive or construct an indigenous Hindu tradition (Hindutva) rest on the essentialist premise that cultures are homogeneous and static entities. In response to the racist discourse of British colonialism, the Hindutva movement tends, for example, to visualise premodern India as an uncontaminated culture that needs to be restored at a national level.42 From a transcultural perspective, however, it has long been demonstrated in a multitude of comparative studies that a pure and unmixed form of ethnicity or culture remains a delusion. Cultures have never been autonomous, uniform, or incontestable, and nor have they ever been immune to external influences. Rather, modern scholarship today defines past and present cultures as contingent, mutable, and ‘hybrid’ spaces resulting from continuous exchanges, negotiations, and transformations.43 This dynamic understanding of culture clashes with notions of an ‘essentialist indigenism’, which envisions culture as ‘genuine and authentic manifestations of a stable, pregiven, unchanging identity’.44 The academic denial of ‘pure customs and traditions’ and the increasing demand for a transnational approach to culture have necessarily had theoretical and political implications for feminist scholarship.45 Feminists consider it particularly useful to renounce essentialist ideas of cultural ‘absolutes’ not only because of their potential to fuel racial prejudices, religious polarisations, and violent conflicts but also because they help legitimise patriarchal traditions and discriminations against women.46 An essentialist notion of culture implies that the underlying ideas of social order themselves become non-negotiable. This view necessarily has serious consequences for how gender relations in India are perceived, since it legitimises ‘consensual, culturally shared’ gender stereotypes that in turn generate specific behavioural expectations and create and maintain gender inequalities at a very fundamental level.47 The prescriptive power of traditional stereotypes and stereotyping means that many forms of discrimination against women remain largely unquestioned. One striking example of how fundamentalist concepts of culture and religion work together ‘to justify and propagate violent practices against women’48 in India is the revival of social discourses that exalt the traditional practice of Sati.49 Although Sati had already been declared illegal under British colonial rule in 1829, it was still practiced occasionally in some northern rural regions of India. Since its official abolition, however, Sati has remained a very marginal phenomenon, at least in quantitative terms. Despite its relative rareness, Sati has in more recent times had an enormous effect on the propagation and diffusion of allegedly traditional ideas as well as on the consolidation of movements that seek to restore an ‘authentic’ ‘Hindu’ culture. And it has shaped ideas about women, who are ‘cast as symbols and 27

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bearers of this traditional essence’.50 While not all Indian nationalists or conservative actors endorse pro-sati positions, various studies on the reactions to the well-known Sati case of Roop Kanwar in Deorala (Rajasthan) in 1987 have shown that its active supporters mostly belonged to conservative political groups, national and regional Hindu-revivalist organisations, regional newspapers, and powerful merchant communities.51 The problem that women’s rights groups face today relates to acts of staging and glorifying Sati in printed materials, literature, and images, as well as at the locations of annual fairs in places where Sati had previously been practiced.52 Following the lines of traditional narratives, these acts of worship and glorification are based on the belief that Hindu widows voluntarily follow their husbands into death. Sati has thus become a symbol of the ultimate sacrifice that a woman could offer her husband, giving her an almost ‘divine aura’.53 Against the background of the manifold efforts to defend Sati as part of a longstanding traditional Hindu culture, women’s rights groups are eager to desacralise the history of Sati by exposing it as an institution designed for the systematic oppression of women.54

The female body and community identity The glorification of Sati can be seen as part of a general traditionalist discourse that contributes to the manifestation of ‘the image of the ideal Indian woman as accommodating, self-sacrificing and devoted to serving her family’.55 However, this ‘image’ is not to be seen as a mere side effect of traditionalist ideas in India. From a historical and cross-cultural perspective, the conduct of women has always played a crucial role in the conception and demarcation of group identities.56 A woman’s sexual integrity represents the honour of her family and kin and, even more importantly, the moral integrity or supremacy of the religious, ethnic, or even national community to which she belongs. Ideas of female sexual purity thus coincide with ideas of societal or cultural purity. Scholars in women’s studies have made several attempts to explain why women have been and continue to be key symbolic figures and ‘useful boundary markers for community identities’.57 One explanation emphasises at a fundamental level the capacity of women to produce heirs and thereby to ensure continuity for the community.58 Connected closely to their childbearing abilities, women are also considered crucial for their maternal function of ‘transmitting cultural norms and customs’ to ‘future generations’.59 The sexual integrity of women thus plays an essential role in the preservation of the community. It is therefore not surprising that especially ‘the socially dominant segments [of societies] sought to cement their fences by controlling the sexual behaviour of their women’.60 Because of its importance to the purity and survival of the community, however, the female body continues to be a major target for hostile attacks. It is therefore an important indicator not only of the perpetuation of a collective 28

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social system but also of its vulnerability. Studies on ‘gendered bodies’ in northeast India have shown that the female body itself ‘can be viewed as more dangerously vulnerable to impurity [and] sexual violations . . . from the outside than are men’, as it is taken to be ‘naturally more “open” than men’s’ – given its anatomic peculiarities, its capacity for bearing children and its ‘involvement in the processes of menstruation, marriage [and] sexuality’.61 The strength of a community thus depends on its ability to protect its most vulnerable members from outside violations. Another approach interprets the importance of women for the ‘Indian’ identity as a specific nationalist ideology designed in reaction to colonial experience.62 In their roles as housewives and mothers, women both represented and maintained the Indian spiritual culture – that is, ‘the inner, essential identity of the East’ that the British were unable to colonise.63 The function of women as emblems of societal identities thus implies that violent assaults especially on the sexual reputation of women often involve the defamation of a community. This holds particularly true for acts of sexual violence that appear to have a religious motivation. The importance of the woman for the integrity of the group is mainly due to religious concepts of purity that build an analogy between the unavailability of the female body and the moral superiority of the community body. The attribution of sexual impurity and sexually divergent behaviour to others, as part of processes of religious group-formation and delimitation, can be observed cross-culturally.64 Conflicts regarding denominational claims to superiority were based – for example, in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam – primarily on the argument that the opposing group in each case had violated (sexually coded) principles of a chaste life.65 Against this background, the role of the honourable woman as representative of the ‘morally pure’ religious community was given a special symbolic importance to locate and justify the faithful.66 Various empirical studies on outbreaks of Hindu-Muslim violence, especially in the context of the Partition of India, have shown, for example, that ‘both the protection and transgression of a community’s purity were materially marked on the bodies of its women’.67 Before and after the official announcement of the so-called Radcliffe Line as the final boundary demarcation between India and Pakistan, at least 83,000 women of all religious groups involved (Hindu, Muslim, Sikh) were abducted, tortured, and raped.68 These acts of violence were committed deliberately to dishonour and humiliate the opposing community.69 Rapists even cut religious symbols as signs of shame into the bodies of women or disfigured their victims in order to mark them openly as being ‘taken’ by the ‘other’.70 Against this backdrop, some women were killed or were forced to commit suicide by their own kin to prevent their family or community being ‘polluted’.71 Sexual violence against women is in fact ‘a recurrent theme in subsequent communal riots’, as is the complicity of state and police actors in concealing religiously motivated assaults against minority women.72 And the same 29

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applies to assaults on women who belong to the lower and lowest segments of Indian society, such as the Scheduled Castes (SCs) or Scheduled Tribes (STs). The members of the SCs, the so-called Untouchables, who have referred to themselves as ‘Dalits’ (downtrodden) since the 1970s, traditionally form the lowest level of the caste system in the social hierarchy of the predominantly Hindu regions of India. By being stigmatised as ‘impure’, the Dalits are subjected to massive social humiliations, especially on the part of members of higher castes. At least 75% live below the poverty line, and only a few have access to education, medical health, and well-paid work.73 Although the Indian government has enacted laws since 1955 to promote the so-called backward classes,74 it remains difficult today to implement these laws successfully.75 Dalits who deny their caste and question the status quo still run the risk today of falling victim to violent attacks. Dalit women and girls are particularly vulnerable in this context. Situated at the interface of caste, class, and gender, they are victims of multiple disadvantages and vulnerabilities and are therefore also referred to as ‘the least among the Dalits’.76 They suffer above all from sexual assaults, which are committed especially by men of higher castes in order to humiliate the Dalits as a group and thereby stabilise the traditional caste system. According to the report of a Dalit Solidarity Network for the UN Human Rights Council, girls and women of the Dalits in India are especially targeted by perpetrators of violence because, as women, untouchables, and rape victims, they represent the impurity of the Dalit community in three ways at once: ‘Sexual violence is a tool utilised by dominant caste men to reinforce the caste “impurity” of both the Dalit woman and her community, given the hegemonic discourse of women symbolising the group identity and bearing the honour of their community’.77 Acts of violence against Dalit women are often perpetrated in response to the openly expressed ambitions of the Dalits to climb socially. The political participation of individual Dalits – and especially of Dalit women – as elected representatives in local politics, for example, has not infrequently led in the recent past to acts of caste-based ‘backlash violence’ against Dalit women, violence investigated only rarely by the local police and judiciary.78 In India, as in many other cultures, concepts of honour and purity but also of social order are traditionally negotiated above all through the woman’s body.79 The female body thus functions as a ‘cultural sign’, as a symbolic representation of a group, community, or nation threatened by fundamental changes.80 Violence against women – or, more precisely, against their sexual or physical integrity – must therefore also be understood as an instrument of power that is used not only between the sexes but also between hostile religious and ethnic groups, between majority and minority communities, between castes and social strata, between one’s ‘own’ and a ‘foreign’ culture. Such violence serves not only to stabilise an asymmetrical hierarchy of gender but also to reinforce a social order that is perceived as endangered. 30

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Violence against women and legal practice in India Behind the cross-cultural function of the woman as representative of a community lies a traditional, premodern legal concept of the woman as the property of her husband and his family. In Early Modern Europe, for example, the rape of women was regarded not as a sexual crime but as theft, as a crime against the property of the husband, family, kinship, and community.81 Above all, the victim’s pregnancy represented an acute threat to both the familial-patriarchal and communal order: it symbolised the impotence of the head of the household in the face of the ‘victorious offender’, while expressing at the same time the disintegration of the collective order and its morality.82 Against this background, sexual acts of violence can also be described as ‘conversion rituals’ amongst men, rituals that attacked the patriarchal relations of property and honour of one community in order to stabilise the patriarchal power relations of the other.83 From a feminist point of view, rape is still interpreted in many countries as a property offence today. The Indian women’s rights activist Flavia Agnes has recently criticised the current legal mainstream discourse on rape in India in this regard as fundamentally deficient: ‘Rape violates these property rights [of men . . . over “their” women] and may lead to pregnancies by other men and threaten the patriarchal power structure. We have not gone beyond this definition’.84 The socially stabilising function of the woman and her role in the maintenance of patriarchal family structures leads not least to the fact that women as victims of rape are only rarely prepared to report the perpetrators to the police. The victims are more anxious to conceal the crime in order to protect the family (and, in the case of the rape of a married woman, especially the husband) from social humiliation and to avoid a potential forced marriage prescribed within the family to the perpetrator.85 But the reluctance of women to report sexual crimes to the local authorities can also be explained by their lack of confidence in the local criminal justice system. According to Katharina Kakar, ‘there are such great reservations among the police about women who report rapes that only a quarter to a maximum of a third of rapes reported lead to a conviction due to inadequate evidence’.86 This is especially true for women who belong to a lower or scheduled caste: although, according to a survey conducted in four Indian states, the majority of Dalit women have repeatedly been the victim of violent, and also sexual, assaults, the perpetrators were convicted in fewer than 1% of all cases. In about 44% of all cases of violence documented, either the police, the perpetrators, or their supporters, but also the community affected, have prevented the victims from obtaining a judicial judgment.87 The traditional notion of the woman’s body as the property of the man also restricts the rights of the woman in other areas. Domestic violence, for example, is still not seen today in many countries as a criminal offence, let alone as a violation of human rights.88 This is mainly due to the fact

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that human rights have long been ideologically oriented towards the public sphere as a legal area to which the state can and should have access, while the social field of marriage and family has been considered a field of private relations to be protected from state intervention. The restriction of the area of the protection of human rights to the public sphere has therefore made it difficult to detect women’s specific experiences of injustice in the domestic environment since they were traditionally declared a private matter or a family problem, ‘and not [as] a political matter requiring state action’.89 Since the late 1970s, however, the United Nations has, under pressure from international women’s rights movements, ratified a series of agreements that explicitly condemn acts of ‘gender-based violence’ both in the public and in the private sphere.90 The Vienna Accord of 1994 and the Beijing Declaration and the Platform for Action (1995) have finally recognised domestic violence as a human rights issue. Although the signatory states, including India, have committed themselves to drafting national action plans to combat and prevent violence against women and to adopt appropriate legislation, their implementation still remains deficient in many places.91 The Indian parliament only issued a law to combat domestic violence (The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act) in 2005, which, as a civil law, only has a limited power of sanction.92 In addition, the general tightening of the law governing sexual offences in India after the Delhi rape case of 2012 was, despite relevant recommendations of a panel of legal experts (the Justice Verma Committee), not able to achieve the inclusion of marital rape as a criminal offence in the Indian Penal Code.93 The lack of regard to and implementation of laws to combat intrafamilial violence against women can be explained not only by their relative newness. Although the Indian parliament passed a law to abolish the dowry (The Dowry Prohibition Act) as long ago as 1961, the dowry remains an important instrument in India today for the control of the choice of partner, an instrument that results each year in the deaths of thousands of women.94 In India, the legal situation for the protection of women, including in the private sphere, has steadily improved over the last 50 years. Nevertheless, traditional social concepts of honour, religiously connoted ideas of purity, and ascriptions of female roles still play a major role in the fact that the legal sanctioning of violence against women occurs only rarely.95 The social norms of everyday life, which draw on the everyday coexistence of local communities and their traditional values, collide here with constitutional and legal norms, which are not necessarily given primacy of application at the level of individual and collective action. Thus, the issuing of new laws alone is not enough to counteract acts of violence against women effectively and in the long term. The limited effectiveness of legal innovations is, to a considerable extent, due to the fact that every law and legal recommendation applies to a socially, economically, and culturally diverse country, which makes uniform observance 32

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unlikely from the outset. Legal scholars are aware that the law can only form a framework for the articulation of social expectations of behaviour. ‘Because culture is an amalgam of numerous forces, including law’, writes Rashmi Goel, ‘cultural change can only be wrought through numerous forces, in addition to law’.96 In order to develop effective political strategies and to effect long-term social change, we should therefore focus on the ‘complex interplay’ between the structural and socio-cultural, i.e., context-dependent, causes of gender-based violence.97 This view joins up with the gender theories that emphasise the difference between women mentioned at the beginning of this chapter. The plurality of forms of human existence has become the fundamental premise in postmodern gender theory and a starting point both for academic reflection and political action. A differentiated assessment of gender-specific discrimination must therefore be based on, and remain oriented to, real human experiences and biographical-historical life contexts and on their entwinement with larger patterns and structures of oppression. For, in the end, female identities are always multi-dimensional, controlled by socio-cultural conditions, resources, and constraints as well as by the drive for social belonging.

Notes 1 See Jan Ross‚ ‘Was ist los mit dem indischen Mann?’, in DIE ZEIT 12 June 2014; Sophie Mühlmann, ‘Indien, dieses Land ist eine‚ Hölle für Frauen’, in DIE WELTonline 17 March 2013, www.welt.de/114521606 (accessed on 30 October 2017). 2 Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, ‘Can the Subaltern Speak?’, in Patrick Williams and Laura Chrisman (eds.), Colonial Discourse and Post-Colonial Theory: A Reader, Hemel Hempstead: Harvester, 1993 (first published in 1985 in the journal Wedge), pp. 66–111. 3 Barbara Lüthi, ‘Gender in Trans-It: Geschlecht und transnationale Perspektiven’, in Martina Ineichen, et al. (eds.), Gender in Trans-It. Transkulturelle und transnationale Perspektiven, Zürich: Chronos, 2009, pp. 9–16, p. 13. 4 For a general survey, see Judith Butler, Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity, New York: Routledge, 1990. 5 Stuart Hall, ‘Introduction: Who Needs “Identity”?’, in Stuart Hall and Paul du Gay (eds.), Questions of Cultural Identity, London: Sage, 1996, pp. 1–17, p. 6. 6 Chandra Talpade Mohanty, ‘Under Western Eyes: Feminist Scholarship and Colonial Discourses’, Boundary 2, 1984 (12/3), p. 333–358, p. 336f. 7 Kimberlé Crenshaw, ‘Demarginalizing the Intersection of Race and Sex: A Black Feminist Critique of Antidiscrimination Doctrine, Feminist Theory and Antiracist Politics’, University of Chicago Legal Forum, 1989 (1): 139–167. Crenshaw began the debate by urging scholars to reflect on ‘the interaction of race and gender’ in order to be able to incorporate the particular experiences of ‘Black women’ in feminist theory, antiracist campaigns, and anti-discrimination law (see p. 140). 8 Patricia Hill Collins, Black Feminist Thought: Knowledge, Consciousness, and the Politics of Empowerment, Boston: Unwin Hyman, 1990, p. 225. 9 Lutz and Wenning have identified a total of 14 categories of social difference that can be distinguished according to their origins and range of influence:

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10

11 12

13

14 15

16

17

18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26

Helma Lutz and Norbert Wenning, ‘Differenzen über Differenz – Einführung in die Debatten’, in Helma Lutz and Norbert Wenning (eds.), Unterschiedlich verschieden. Differenz in der Erziehungswissenschaft, Opladen: Leske + Budrich, 2001, pp. 11–24. Ilse Lenz, ‘Intersektionalität: Zum Wechselverhältnis von Geschlecht und sozialer Ungleichheit’, in Ruth Becker and Beate Kortendiek (eds.), Handbuch Frauenund Geschlechterforschung. Theorie, Methoden, Empirie, Wiesbaden: VS Verlag, 2010, pp. 158–165, p. 160; María do Mar Castro Varela and Nikita Dhawan, Postkoloniale Theorie. Eine kritische Einführung. Bielefeld: Transcript, 2015, p. 299. Cornelia Klinger, Gudrun-Axeli Knapp and Birgit Sauer (eds.), Achsen der Ungleichheit. Zum Verhältnis von Klasse, Geschlecht und Ethnizität, Frankfurt am Main and New York: Campus Verlag, 2007. Helma Lutz, Maria Teresa Herrera Vivar and Linda Supik, ‘Fokus Intersektionalität – eine Einleitung’, in Helma Lutz, Maria Teresa Herrera Vivar and Linda Supik (eds.), Fokus Intersektionalität. Bewegungen und Verortungen eines vielschichtigen Konzeptes, Wiesbaden: VS Verlag, 2010, pp. 9–30. Wilhelm Heitmeyer and John Hagan, ‘Gewalt. Zu den Schwierigkeiten einer systematischen internationalen Bestandsaufnahme’, in Wilhelm Heitmeyer and John Hagan(eds.), Internationales Handbuch der Gewaltforschung, Wiesbaden: Westdeutscher Verlag, 2002, pp. 15–25, esp. p. 16: ‘For, again and again, the basic principle of transgressing boundaries becomes clear, a principle that, in times of the dissolution, or at least the manifold weakening, of moral, sexual, educational and legal norms and values, barely allows for clear demarcations of a traditional kind’ (my translation). Ibid., p. 23: ‘The starting point is the assumption that the violence to be analyzed is to be understood as the result of social processes and not as a mere means’ (my translation). See Johan Galtung who refers to ‘the type of violence where there is an actor that commits the violence as personal or direct, and to violence where there is no such actor as structural or indirect’. Johan Galtung, ‘Violence, Peace, and Peace Research’, Journal of Peace Research, 1969, 6(3): 167–191, p. 170. Ibid.; Michel Foucault, Der Wille zum Wissen. Sexualität und Wahrheit 1 [The History of Sexuality: The Will to Knowledge], Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp, 1987 (1st ed., 1977); Michel Foucault, Überwachen und Strafen. Die Geburt des Gefängnisses [Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison], Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp, 1994 (1st ed., 1976), esp. p. 237. Helma Lutz, Maria Theresa Herrera Vivar and Linda Supik,‘Fokus Intersektionalität – eine Einleitung’, in Helma Lutz, Maria Theresa Herrera Vivar and Linda Supik (eds.), Fokus Intersektionalität. Bewegungen und Verortungen eines vielschichtigen Konzeptes, Wiesbaden: VS Verlag, 2010, pp. 9–31, p. 17. Donna Haraway, Simians, Cyborgs and Women: The Reinvention of Nature, London: Free Association Books, 1991, p. 157. Mangala Subramaniam, The Power of Women’s Organizing: Gender, Caste, and Class in India, Lanham: Lexington Books, 2006, p. 4. Irene Gedalof, Against Purity: Rethinking Identity with Indian and Western Feminisms, London and New York: Routledge, 1999, p. 2. Mohanty, Under Western Eyes, p. 339. Elizabeth Jackson, Feminism and Contemporary Indian Women’s Writing, Hampshire: Macmillan, 2010, p. 7. See also Felicity Jensz’s chapter in this volume. Spivak, Subaltern, pp. 66–111; Mohanty, Under Western Eyes. Castro Varela and Dhawan, Postkoloniale Theorie, p. 163. As criticised by Mohanty, Under Western Eyes, p. 337.

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27 Spivak, Subaltern, p. 93. 28 See Mohanty, Under Western Eyes. The quotation goes back to Sushmita Chatterjee, ‘What Does It Mean to Be a Postcolonial Feminist? The Artwork of MithuSen’, Hypatia, 2016, 31(1): 22–40, p. 24. 29 Ranjoo Seodu Herr, ‘Reclaiming Third World Feminism: Or Why Transnational Feminism Needs Third World Feminism’, Meridians: Feminism, Race, Transnationalism, 2014, 12(1): 1–10. 30 Ania Loomba, ‘Tangled Histories: Indian Feminism and Anglo-American Feminist Criticism’, Tulsa Studies in Women’s Literature, 1993, 12(2): 271–278, p. 274. 31 Lenz, Intersektionalität, p. 164. 32 See, for example, Mel Gray and Jennifer Boddy, ‘Making Sense of the Waves: Wipeout or Still Riding High?’, Affilia: Journal of Women and Social Work, 2010, 25(4): 368–389; S. Laurel Weldon, When Protest Makes Policy: How Social Movements Represent Disadvantaged Groups, Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2011, pp. 126–127. For the quotation, see Chandra Talpade Mohanty, ‘“Under Western Eyes” Revisited: Feminist Solidarity through Anticapitalist Struggles’, Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, 2003, 28(2): 499–535, p. 502. Mohanty argues here that she did not intend to impugn the ‘possibility of solidarity between Western and Third World feminists’. Her article is a response to feminists who criticised her for fragmenting the international feminist community. 33 Mohanty, Under Western Eyes, p. 335. 34 Mohanty, Revisited, p. 501, 502. 35 See also Kukum Sangari, ‘Gendered Violence, National Boundaries and Culture’, in Radhika Coomaraswamy and Nimanthi Perera-Rajasingham (eds.), Constellations of Violence: Feminist Interventions in South Asia, New Delhi: Women Unlimited, 2008, p. 2: ‘Moving beyond culturalism entails looking at patterns, structures, conjunctures and constellations of gendered violence within each country in ways that are context-specific but not culturalist, as well as attempting to understand how they may resonate across national boundaries both within South Asia and more widely’. 36 Subramaniam, Power, p. 3. 37 Shari Tarver-Behring, ‘White Women’s Identity and Diversity: Awareness from the Inside Out’, in Kum-Kum Bhavnami and Ann Phoenix (eds.), Shifting Identities Shifting Racisms: Feminism and Psychology Reader, London et al.: Sage, 1994, p. 206. 38 On the term ‘situated context’, see Bandana Purkayastha and Mangala Subramaniam (eds.), The Power of Informal Networks: Lessons in Social Change from South Asia and West Africa, Lanham: Lexington Books, 2004. Gedalof, Against Purity, p. 8. 39 Rajeswari Sunder Rajan, Real and Imagined Women: Gender, Culture and Postcolonialism, London: Routledge, 1996, p. 6. 40 Satish Deshpande, ‘Hegemonic Spatial Strategies: The Nation-Space and Hindu Communalism in Twentieth-Century India’, in Partha Chatterjee and Pradeep Jeganathan (eds.), Community, Gender and Violence, New Delhi: Ravi Dayal, 2003, pp. 167–211, p. 184. 41 See also Loomba, Tangled Histories, p. 271f.: ‘It is easy to imagine why entrenched patriarchal traditions would seek to marginalize women’s movements by calling them un-Indian. In fact, such a rhetoric seeks to disguise the indigenous roots of women’s protest in India. This is not to argue that Western women’s thinking or organisations have not influenced Indian feminists. Cross-fertilisations have been crucial to feminist struggles everywhere. But given the history of colonial rule, the burden of authenticity has been especially heavy for women activists in India’. See also Deepra Dandekars’s chapter in this volume.

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42 A lucid overview of the rise of communalism in India is provided by Deshpande, Spatial Strategies and by Shalini Randeria, ‘Hindu-“Fundamentalismus”: Zum Verhältnis von Religion, Geschichte und Identität im modernenIndien’, in Christian Weiß, et al. (eds.), Religion – Macht – Gewalt. Religiöser ‘Fundamentalismus’ und Hindu-Moslem-Konflikte in Südasien, Frankfurt am Main: IKO, 1996, pp. 26–56. Randeria calls the attempt to homogenise cultural norms and practices a ‘process of objectivation of culture’ (p. 52ff.). On the use of gender in communalist discourse, see Geeta Chowdry, ‘Communalism, Nationalism, and Gender: Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Hindu Right in India’, in Sita Ranchod-Nilsson and Mary Ann Tétreault (eds.), Women, States, and Nationalism: At Home in the Nation?, London and New York: Routledge, 2000, pp. 98–118, p. 103; Runa Das, ‘Nation, Gender and Representations of (In)Securities in Indian Politics: Secular Modernity and Hindutva Ideology’, European Journal of Women’s Studies, 2008, 15(3): 203–221. See also Deshpande, Strategies, p. 188. A different view is offered by Megha Kumar who claims on the basis of empirical research methods that gendered communal violence in Gujarat results from the interplay between an elite ideology and the specific contexts of each conflict rather than from Hindu nationalist ideology. See Megha Kumar, Communalism and Sexual Violence in India: The Politics of Gender, Ethnicity and Conflict, London and New York: I.B. Tauris, 2016. 43 On the concept of cultural hybridity, see, for instance, Edward W Said, Culture and Imperialism, New York: Vintage Books, 1994, p. xxix: ‘Partly because of empire, all cultures are involved in one another, none is single and pure, all are hybrid, heterogeneous, extraordinarily differentiated, and unmonolithic’. For an overview on the theories and methods of transcultural history today see Madeleine Herren, Martin Rüesch and Christiane Sibille (eds.), Transcultural History: Theories, Methods, Sources, Berlin and Heidelberg: Springer, 2012. 44 Kumkum Sangari quoted in Rajan, Women, p. 7; Avtar Brah quoted in Gedalof, Against Purity, p. 13. 45 Brah, Cartographies, p. 196. 46 This applies, of course, not only to India, but to many other countries as well, including Western ones. As Monica O’Connor, a policy specialist on violence against women, already pointed out in 1992: ‘By examining the issue [violence against women] on a global level it becomes clear that tradition, culture and religion are very often used to justify and propagate violent practices against women’. Monica O’Connor, ‘Foreword’, in Charlotte Bunch and Roxanna Carrillo (eds.), Gender Violence: A Development and Human Rights Issue, Dublin: Attic Press, 1992, p. 3. 47 Thomas Eckes, ‘Geschlechterstereotype: Von Rollen, Identitäten und Vorurteilen’, in Ruth Becker and Beate Kortendiek (eds.), Handbuch Frauen- und Geschlechterforschung. Theorie, Methoden, Empirie, Wiesbaden: VS Verlag, 2010, pp. 165–176. 48 O’Connor, Foreword, p. 3. 49 On the traditional stereotypes of Hindu wives and the glorification of widow deaths see Jyoti Atwal’s Chapter in this book. See also Jyoti Atwal, Real and Imagined Widows: Gender Relations in Colonial North India, New Delhi: Primus, 2016; Kumkum Sangari and Sudesh Vaid, ‘Institutions, Beliefs, Ideologies: Widow Immolation in Contemporary Rajasthan’, in Nivedita Menon (ed.), Gender and Politics in India, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999, pp. 383–440; John Stratton Hawley, ‘Hinduism: Sati and Its Defenders’, in John Stratton Hawley (ed.), Fundamentalism and Gender, New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994, pp. 79–110; Stephan Köhn and Heike Moser, ‘Frauenbilder – Frauenkörper: Einige Vorbemerkungen zur Zielsetzung und

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51 52 53 54 55

56 57 58 59 60 61

62 63 64 65

66 67 68

69

Themenspektrum dieses Bandes’, in Stephan Köhn and Heike Moser (eds.), Frauenbilder – Frauenkörper. Inszenierungen des Weiblichen in den Gesellschaften Süd- und Ostasiens, Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 2013, pp. 1–30, p. 13f. Radhika Chopra, ‘Local Lives, Global Dialogues: Shifting Discourses of Masculinity in India’, in Andrea Cornwall, Jerker Erdström and Alan Greig (eds.), Men and Development: Politicizing Masculinities, London and New York: Zed Books, 2011, pp. 139–152, p. 144. Hawley, Hinduism, p. 88f. Rajan, Women, p. 17. Hawley, Hinduism, p. 83. Ibid. They were joined by other civil rights organisations, left-wing parties, and the media. Rajan, Women, p. 16. Jackson, Feminism, p. 10; Sangari, Institutions, p. 429. See also Jyoti Atwal who interprets the ‘notion of a Hindu woman’s role as a pativrata or the dutiful wife’ as a response of the Hindus to colonial rule: Atwal, Widows, p. 8. On the connection between ‘fundamentalist projects’ and the promotion of ‘“traditional” views of women as mothers and wives’, see Geetanjali Gangoli, Indian Feminisms: Law, Patriarchies and Violence in India, Aldershot: Ashgate, 2007, p. 11. See, for example, Zoya Hasan (ed.), Forging Identities: Gender, Communities and the State, New Delhi: Kali for Women, 1994. Gedalof, Against Purity, p. 34. Ibid. James Elisha Taneti, Caste, Gender, and Christianity in Colonial India: Telugu Women in Mission, New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013, p. 7. Ibid., p. 6f. Sarah Lamb, ‘The Making and Unmaking of Persons: Gender and Body in Northeast India’, in Caroline B. Brettell and Carolyn F. Sargent (eds.), Gender in Cross-Cultural Perspective, Upper Saddle River: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2005, pp. 230–240, p. 232. See also Sarah Lamb, White Saris and Sweet Mangoes: Aging, Gender, and Body in North India. Berkeley et al.: University of California Press, 2000. Partha Chatterjee, ‘The Nationalist Resolution on the Women’s Question’, in Kumkum Sangari and Sudesh Vaid (eds.), Recasting Women: Essays in Colonial History. New Delhi: Kali for Women, 1989, pp. 233–253. Ibid., p. 239. Barbara Stollberg-Rilinger, ‘Einleitung’, in Ibid. (ed.), “Als Mann und Frau schuf er sie”. Religion und Geschlecht, Würzburg: Ergon, 2014, pp. 9–16, p. 10. Monika Wohlrab-Sahrand Julika Rosenstock, ‘Religion – soziale Ordnung – Geschlechterordnung: Zur Bedeutung der Unterscheidung von Reinheit und Unreinheit im religiösen Kontext’, in Karl Gabriel and Hans-Richard Reuter (eds.), Religion und Gesellschaft: Texte zur Religionssoziologie, Paderborn et al.: Schöningh, 2004, pp. 379–396, p. 390. On the implications of sexual misconduct on the religious community see Judith Becker’s chapter in this volume on the Basel India Mission in nineteenth century India. Gedalof, Against Purity, p. 34f. See also Bodh Prakash’s chapter in this volume. Palash Ghosh, ‘Partition of India and Pakistan: The Rape of Women on an Epic, Historic Scale’, International Business Times, 16 August 2013, www.ibtimes.com/ partition-india-pakistan-rape-women-epic-historic-scale-1387601 (accessed on 28 July 2017). See Kavita Daiya, Violent Belongings: Partition, Gender, and National Culture in Postcolonial India, Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2008, p. 73ff.

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70 Ibid., p. 70. See also Gedalof, Against Purity, p. 34f. 71 Taisha Abraham, ‘Women and Politics of Violence: Articulations and Re-Articulations’, in Taisha Abraham (ed.), Women and Politics of Violence, New Delhi: Shakti Books, 2002, pp. 11–32, p. 20. 72 Geetanjali Gangoli, ‘Rape: South Asia’, in Suad Joseph et al. (eds.), Encyclopedia of Women & Islamic Cultures. Vol. II: Family, Law and Politics, Leiden et al.: Brill, 2005, pp. 702–704, p. 703: ‘A report by women’s organizations after the 2002 Gujarat riots states: “There is evidence of State and Police complicity in perpetuating crimes against women”’. See also Gangoli, Indian Feminisms, p. 12. 73 Mary Grey, The Unheard Scream: The Struggles of Dalit Women in India, New Delhi: Centre for Dalit and Subaltern Studies et al., 2004, p. 5. 74 Civil Rights Act 1955; Schedules Castes and Tribes Act 1989. 75 Axel Michaels, Der Hinduismus. Geschichte und Gegenwart, München: Beck, 2006 (1st ed., 1998), p. 182. 76 Grey, Scream, p. 5. For a more detailed analysis of the forms of gender-based violence against Dalit women, see Vivek Kumar’s chapter in this volume. 77 International Dalit Solidarity Network, Violence against Dalit Women: Briefing Note Prepared for the 11thSession of the Human Rights Council, www.dalits.nl/ pdf/HRC-11_briefing_note_-_Violence_against_Dalit_Women.pdf (accessed on 29 August 2017), p. 3. 78 International Dalit Solidarity Network, Violence against Dalit Women: Input to the UN Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women in Connection with Her Visit to India between 22 April–1 May 2013, http://idsn.org/wp-content/ uploads/user_folder/pdf/New_files/India/2013/India_submission_on_Violence_ against_Dalit_Women_-_SR_on_VAW_India_2013.pdf (accessed on 29 August 2017), p. 6. Against this background, it remains to be investigated whether violent assaults on Dalit women have increased overall since the political rise of the Dalits in the late 1980s and the growing influence of the Hindutva movement. The SC/ST Commission has already officially stated in 2002 that the reported incidents of violent crimes against women, especially against Dalit women, had increased by 8%. Grey, Scream, p. 34. 79 Katharina Kakar, Frauen in Indien: Leben zwischen Unterdrückung und Widerstand, München: Beck, 2015, p. 118. 80 Ruth Seifert, ‘Der weibliche Körper als Symbol und Zeichen: Geschlechtsspezifische Gewalt und die kulturelle Konstruktion des Krieges’, in Andreas Gestrich (ed.), Gewalt im Krieg: Ausübung, Erfahrung und Verweigerung von Gewalt in Kriegen des 20. Jahrhunderts. Münster: Lit, 1996, pp. 13–33, p. 21. 81 For examples in Early Modern England, see Miranda Chaytor, ‘Husband(ry): Narratives of Rape in the Seventeenth Century’, Gender and History, 1995, 7(3): 378–407. 82 For Early Modern Germany, see Ulinka Rublack, ‘Metze und Magd: Frauen, Krieg und die Bildfunktion des Weiblichen in deutschen Städten der frühen Neuzeit’, Historische Anthropologie, 1995, 3: 412–432, p. 417. 83 John Theibault, ‘Landfrauen, Soldaten und Vergewaltigungen während des Dreißigjährigen Krieges’, Werkstatt Geschichte, 1998, 9: 25–39, p. 35. 84 Flavia Agnes, ‘Law, Ideology and Female Sexuality: Gender Neutrality in Rape Law’, Economic and Political Weekly, 2002, 37(9): 844–847, p. 844. 85 Kakar, Frauen, p. 118. 86 Ibid., p. 120f. (my translation). 87 S.J. Aloysius Irudayam, Jayshree P. Mangubhai and Joel G. Lee (eds.), Dalit Women Speak Out: Caste, Class and Gender Violence in India, New Delhi: Zubaan, 2011. 88 Rashida Manjoo, ‘Gaps and Challenges in States’ Responses in the Quest to Eliminate Violence against Women: A Global Perspective’, in Rashmi Goel and

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89

90

91 92

93 94

95 96 97

Leigh Goodmark (eds.), Comparative Perspectives on Gender Violence: Lessons from Efforts Worldwide, Oxford et al.: Oxford University Press, 2015, pp. 15–28, p. 21. Charlotte Bunch, ‘Women’s Rights as Human Rights: Towards a Re-Vision of Human Rights’, in Charlotte Bunch and Roxanna Carrillo (eds.), Gender Violence: A Development and Human Rights Issue, Dublin: Attic Press, 1992, pp. 5–13, p. 5. For a substantial philosophical and theological interpretation of this phenomenon, see Marianne Heimbach-Steins, ‘Unsichtbar Gemachte(s) sichtbar machen. Christliche Sozialethik als gendersensitive kontextuelle Ethik’, in Christian Spieß and Katja Winkler (eds.), Feministische Christliche Sozialethik. Münster: Lit, 2008, pp. 185–218. See ‘Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women’, (CEDAW, 1979); ‘UN-Declaration of the Elimination of Violence against Women’, (1993). India signed the Convention in 1980 and ratified it in 1993. See Amnesty International, India: Submission to the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, 58th Session, June 2014, London: Amnesty International Publications, 2014, p. 4. On the deficient implementation, see Kakar, Frauen, p. 94ff. The perpetrators charged can only be prosecuted if they have contravened the order (Protection Order) prescribed by the court. The law is thereby intended to provide those women with protection from domestic violence who do not want to leave their husbands. See Amy Hornbeck et al., ‘The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act: Solution or Mere Paper Tiger?’, Loyola University Chicago International Law Review, 2007, 4(2): 273–307, p. 279. Amnesty International, India, pp. 6–8. Rashmi Goel, ‘Coaxing Culture: India’s Legislative Response to Dowry Deaths’, in Rashmi Goel and Leigh Goodmark (eds.), Comparative Perspectives on Gender Violence: Lessons from Efforts Worldwide, Oxford et al.: Oxford University Press, 2015, pp. 99–112, p. 101. See also the examples of the weaknesses of relevant laws in the chapters by Christa Wichterich, Renate Syed, and Adelheid Herrmann-Pfandt in this volume. Goel, Coaxing Culture, p. 112. Manjoo, Gaps and Challenges, p. 28. See also Mangala Subramaniam, who argues that only a ‘specific analysis’ would enable ‘political intervention’: Subramaniam, Power, p. 2.

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Part II HISTORICAL ENCOUNTERS AND CULTURES OF VIOLENCE

1 OF DEVOTIONAL ZEAL AND PATRIARCHAL NORMS Gender and violence in the Periya Purāṇam R. Mahalakshmi

Gender and violence as a theme is complex, and predicates gender relationships in society as well as violence as a hegemonic tool, as intersticing and affecting each other. The hows and whys of this are as follows: gender is constituted by the social construction of the masculine and feminine, which is neither static, nor homogenous or monolithic. The time-space frame as well as the political economic dimension reflects on this constitution of gender; and specific institutional structures and social/cultural codes are employed to uphold normative values and ideas by which gendered identities can be perpetuated. Violence in society may be understood as a mode of behaviour or as a tool, to either uphold normative values of the hegemonic discourse or in reaction to it. Coercive apparatuses, to which we have been sensitised by Antonio Gramsci, may be employed to this effect. But often what is more effective and has a longue durée impact is the ideological apparatus, and amongst the many social and cultural institutions that have been identified in this regard, it is religion that may be seen as having the greatest hold in premodern societies. My chapter focuses on a historical period in the Tamil region in South India that has been defined as the ‘early medieval’ in Indian history, spanning almost six centuries between the sixth and twelfth centuries CE. Examining a hagiographical text of savants of the Saiva religious tradition, the chapter argues that devotion and religiosity are deeply embedded in gendered attitudes and reflect the social hierarchies of the time. The devotional tradition may be understood as attempting the creation of a communitas – a society which was ‘unstructured or rudimentarily structured and relatively undifferentiated comitatus, community or even communion of equal individuals who submit together to the general authority of the ritual elders’.1 While equality in a limited sense of the community of believers was advocated, the reality appears to have been more complex. The devotional texts, composed

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during this period by saints and ideologues of Saivism (and Vaisnavism), drew upon existing social values and identities, eschewing any self-reflexive ideas. Deep-rooted gender stereotyping as well as the normalizing of violence towards the ‘other’ of the predominantly privileged male devotee are visible in these texts. The chapter is divided into three parts. In the first, a general discussion on gender in the ancient and early medieval Indian periods will be undertaken. Further, the nature of gender relations as revealed through a range of sources in the ancient period in North and South India will be highlighted to place the discussion in the following sections in context. The section that follows focuses on the manifestation of violence against women in the South Indian Saiva religious tradition. The final part attempts to situate the invocation of violence against women in contemporary India, in particular by taking recourse to tradition, imbricating the past within the present.

I The acceptance of the history of gender as a valid field of inquiry is closely tied to feminist interventions in social and intellectual life in the twentieth century.2 In addition, the dominance of the materialist interpretation of history led to serious thought being given to women’s place in society, not in descriptive terms but as historical agents involved in its production and reproduction. One of the most outstanding analysts of women’s historical contribution and their invisibility in the historical record, Simone de Beauvoir argued that the deconstruction of myths and ideologies was essential to unravel the shrouds over the past.3 The objectification of woman removed her as a historical subject, and women’s subordination and marginalization are constantly reaffirmed by mythology.4 It is in this context that the studies on ancient India, which began to not merely locate women as subordinate and oppressed figures in history, but to also interrogate the social prescriptions and institutional framework through which this was achieved, are of great significance. R.S. Sharma, one of the doyens of ancient Indian history, was amongst the first to critically examine these issues when he scrutinised the close correspondence in sacred texts and law books between the laboring classes, classified under the rubric of śūdra, and women.5 What this general kind of clubbing of different socially oppressed categories meant was that the specificity of the oppression was overlooked. In spite of his sensitivity to the question of women’s subordination and invisibility in the historical record, Sharma’s major works do not prefigure ‘woman’ either as a category of analysis by herself, or as an independent subject of inquiry. For instance, in the masterly study Śūdras in Ancient India, women are mentioned within a specific caste in the social hierarchy of varṇa-jāti, but never by themselves, to highlight the nature of social rules and regulations.6 44

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It was only in the 1980s that serious engagement with women, gender relations, and patriarchy came to the fore in academic inquiry in the Indian context. Indian feminists were deeply interrogating theoretical issues related to patriarchy, and drew upon the work of Gerda Lerner7 and other feminist scholars in this regard, leading to significant shifts in the study of the social history of ancient and early medieval India in the last three decades.8 Rather than see the absence of women as emanating from a simple androcentrism, or worse still because of the biological impediments to their being social actors, Lerner had focused in her work on the creation of patriarchy on the structural basis for this ‘perceived’ absence.9 She articulated a clear conceptual framework within which women’s subordination could be understood, and their complicity in this regard, was highlighted. For Lerner, ‘Patriarchy in its wider definition means the manifestation and institutionalization of male dominance over women and children in the family and the extension of male dominance over women in society in general’.10 Rejecting the idea of an unending and changeless patriarchy, she drew our attention to the various shifts and transformations that took place over the centuries and attributed this to various factors, including the pressure that women exerted against the system. Various texts written in Sanskrit, Pali, Prakrit, and Tamil were closely interrogated by Uma Chakravarti, Kumkum Roy, Suvira Jaiswal, and others, and the roles of women as historical subjects were retrieved. In the course of these enquiries, the patriarchal structures within which gender difference and identities played out were brought to light. The normative texts, which had the status of legal authority on all matters meant for the regulation of social life, were studied for the prescriptions, injunctions, and proscriptions imposed on all social categories, and particularly women. The narrative literature in the form of poetry, plays, and novels, meant for secular purposes, were also examined, leading to interesting discoveries of contradictions and parallel strands of social consciousness. Because of the embedding of the gender roles and identities within religious traditions, a new coinage of ‘brahmanical patriarchy’ was offered.11 Given the significance of marriage as a social institution, many works have looked at the category of texts known as Gṛhyasūtra (household ritual books) and Dharmaśāstra (legal texts) to understand the patriarchal structures in ancient India. The most representative for the study of gender relations is the Mānavadharmaśāstra, a legal text composed sometime around the second to third centuries CE in the Gangetic region.12 A number of commentaries of a later period indicate its continuing hold on brahmanical society until at least the eighteenth century. Two chapters of this work bring women into focus, although the other ten adhyayas also have passing references to them, revealing patriarchal and extremely hierarchical views. While delineating rules for marriage, there are descriptions of inappropriate women – diseased, with bodily hair, talkative, sallow complexioned, 45

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who is not related, who has a clear paternity, who is not a servant, etc.13 While describing different types of marriages, other than the best kind – Brahmāvivāha – there are descriptions of women being carried off forcibly – rākṣasa and raped (when a man has sex with a woman who is sleeping/ drunk/out of her mind) – paiśāca.14 The entire discussion is centred around privileged men – the brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya, and vaiśya constituting the dvija or twice-born, and the lower caste men and all women are incidental to the description. That women are gifted by their fathers in the four best forms of marriage underscores their being viewed as possessions. The ninth adhyaya, despite the stated objective of elaborating the eternal duties of man and wife, focuses on prescriptions for women. A well-known and oft repeated verse tells of a woman being guarded in her childhood by the father, in youth by the husband, and by the son in old age, and that she was not fit for independence.15 The concern here, and throughout the text, is about social controls over the institutions of the family and private property. The limitations placed on women here suggest the fear of their agency and mobility. There is an explicit misogyny evident in the descriptions of women as immoral, sexually on the prowl, and with a voracious appetite. More importantly from the brahmanical perspective, the emphasis on marriage reveals concerns about the patriline and resources – by regulating the lives of women, especially wives, there was a careful monitoring of the rightful male heirs getting their dues. Clearly, the normative view was one that aimed at curtailment of women’s choice and action, where they were seen as possessions and with no agency. This is a view that appears to have gained currency in normative traditions in other language and regional cultures. The history of the Tamil south does not follow the same trajectory as developments in the North Indian Gangetic plains. The earliest extant sources that provide a coherent understanding of the society is the corpus known as the Sangam literature, dated between the third century BCE and the third century CE. Primarily a collection of poems in the dual genre of puram and akam, the earliest strata of these poems is seen as reflecting the values of a heroic society in which cattle raids, wars, and gift-giving were the means for resource mobilization and circulation.16 The poems are highly stylised, where elite women and men (cāṉṟōr) are depicted in certain situations and moods according to poetic convention.17 Despite the limitations imposed by the form, the poems reveal the lives of women to be dependent on men, but unlike what we find in the Mānavadharmaśāstra. Possibly because of the genre, they provide different portraits of women – as lovers, wives, prostitutes, servants, friends, mothers, foster mothers, and daughters. More than one-fourth of the poems were authored by women, and there is a celebration of femininity in the sexually explicit descriptions. Although the non-elites were not the subjects of the poems, they find a space as background material; women were engaged in various menial tasks in the fields, making baskets, cooking, trading, and entertainment.18 46

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Around the time when Manu composed his legal treatise, the Tamil region saw the gradual but conspicuous influences from the North through the dispersal of the Buddhist, Jaina, and brahmanical religious traditions here, as well as trade. This was revealed in the literary production, where references to brāhmaṇas and sacrifices, the Buddhist and Jaina philosophy and their monastic traditions, and the circulation of cultural myths suggesting Indo-Aryan ‘colonization’ became very common.19 One particular text, the Tirukkuṟaḷ, composed in c. 500 CE, stands out because of its ordering of the three human goals (trivarga) – dharma (righteousness), artha (wealth), and kāma (desire), in Tamil – aṟam, poruḷ, and kāmam/ iṉpam.20 Like in Manu’s text, the purpose behind these injunctions was to provide the elite males with a moral canvas through which their interests could be served, materially and spiritually.21 Similar notions of pride in the woman’s chastity and the disparagement of her straying from the virtuous path are aired. There is specific targeting of the prostitute as loose, immoral, and a home-breaker. It is of some significance to note that the author Tiruvaḷḷuvar, known in popular lore as a weaver from the paṟaiya caste in Mylapore, Chennai, is thought to be a Jaina in academic scholarship. In other words, although there is a resonance in this text with that of Manu’s with regard to the lack of agency accorded to women, the author did not belong to the brāhmaṇa or other elite strata. This could be taken as an indication of the seeping in of the normative Sanskritic patriarchal traditions in the region by this time. The historical dimensions of this process will be discussed in the next section.

II The early medieval period in the region that forms modern Tamilnadu is marked by major changes as far as the political economy and the sociocultural traditions of the region are concerned. It appears that the earlier subsistence economies located in specific ecozones such as forests, hills, river valleys, and sea coasts were being transformed, that the expansion of agriculture into various sub-regions from the river valleys created sufficient surpluses to support large populations and led to craft specialization as well as an organised system of trade, and, finally, that urban centres were emerging on a scale unknown before this time. What is striking about this period is what I have referred to elsewhere as the apparently concomitant transformation of the cultural landscape.22 From the sixth century, we can identify the emergence of brahmanical institutions in the form of temples and brāhmaṇa settlements, and this is also the period when we have the beginning of a new literary genre in Tamil, ubiquitously referred to as the ‘bhakti literature’ and seen as the outcome of some kind of bhakti or devotional movement, organised along sectarian lines of the Saivas and Vaisnavas, eulogizing the brahmanical deities Śiva and Viṣṇu respectively. 47

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Conventionally, bhakti has been understood as a liberatory force, providing the means and space for marginalised sections such as women and lower castes to express themselves in public. In these discussions, the emancipatory potential of bhakti lay in its evocation of equality amongst the community of devotees. Scholars such as Suvira Jaiswal have pointed out that bhakti has its roots in the Vedic conception of communal sharing, although it is the leader of the community (tribe/clan) who decides on the nature and quantum of sharing.23 It has further been argued that bhakti may be understood as an ideology, which served the interests of the feudal mode of production, where the bhakta or devotee was in relation to the lord or bhagavan, what the serf was to his master.24 Scholars like R. Champakalakshmi and Kesavan Veluthat, on the basis of a close analysis of terms of reference in the bhakti hymns, have argued that there are many ways in which the temporal and sacred domains are collapsed in the compositions: the deity and the king, the temple and the palace, the rituals for both, and the devotee and the serf are referred to by common terms. In other words, bhakti may be understood as a legitimizing force of the ruling elite that helped in perpetuating their control over the subject population. In my own understanding of bhakti, I have tried to demonstrate how with the spread of the ideology of devotion, a large number of temples were being built in places that had earlier cultic associations with local deities. I have also tried to argue that a major transformation of the cultural landscape occurs when the transcendental brahmanical deities Śiva and Viṣṇu were rooted in sites dotting the entire Tamil country. Mythologies of these deities, known to the Sanskritic tradition, were Tamilized, i.e., produced in Tamil and influenced by preexisting traditions of worship in the region. My study of the local goddess traditions and their absorption and assimilation as well as marginalization within the Saiva tradition is one such illustration. As mentioned earlier, between the sixth and ninth centuries CE, a number of hymns in praise of Śiva and Viṣṇu were composed by the saint ideologues of those traditions, the nāyaṉār and āḻvār, which were later collected together to form part of the canonical texts of Tamil Saivism and Vaisnavism. With the institutionalization of the bhakti hymns in temple ritual by the tenth century, the building of temples in places sung of by the bhakti saints, and the apotheosis of the bhakti saints, a new development occurred in the Saiva and Vaisnava religions. The lifestories of the saints became as significant as the hymns they composed. By the twelfth century, the lore around the saints had been compiled together in a systematic form in hagiographies. As recent studies have shown, the Vaisnava saints were eulogised over and over in compositions that varied significantly in the emphasis they placed on particular aspects and figures within the tradition, because of which they have been broadly classified as hagiographies and biographies.25 For the Saiva tradition, a single text remained the primary focus as far as the accounts of the lives of the nāyaṉār were concerned. 48

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The hagiography of the Saiva saints was composed by a vēḷāḷa by name Cekkiḻār, born in Kuṉṟattūr in Toṇṭaimaṇṭalam, a minister at the court of the Cōḻa king Anapāya, and was called the Periya Purāṇam. The Cōḻa king has been identified as Kulōttuṅka II (1133–1150 CE). A short biography of the author is found in the early fourteenth century in the Cekkiḻār Purāṇam, composed by the Saiva philosopher Umāpati Śivācārya. We are told here that the motivation for Cekkiḻār’s magnum opus was Kulōttuṅka’s fascination with the Jaina epic Jīvakacintāmaṇi. The latter recounts the adventures of the hero Jīvaka, his erotic escapades with seven women whom he married, his ascendance as a king, and finally his renunciation once he learns about the Jaina doctrine and seeks the shelter of the Jaina t īrthaṅkaras. Dennis Hudson, a prolific scholar on Tamil religious traditions, is of the opinion that Cekkiḻār was essentially trying to wean the king away from erotics.26 This, however, is a later story, and in any case, the hagiography itself in the invocation declares the king Anapāyaṉ to be a firm Śiva bhakta, who gilded the temple of temples of the Saivas at Chidambaram.27 Perhaps we can attribute the text to the assertion of Saiva claims to royal patronage, as we are also told that the author had been requested to present this work at the royal court.28 The concept of aṉpu comes up frequently in this text. This term can be simply translated as love and is linked to another term, iṉpam – literally meaning sweetness but generally used to denote joy.29 What was the nature of this love, and where does violence come into the discourse? The text is replete with instances where the love of the bhakta for Śiva and of Śiva for the devotee are highlighted. Equally striking are the numerous instances where this love appears almost fanatical, obsessive, and outside the normal.30 Often, the narrative highlights acts of violence – towards the self, towards the ‘other’, and towards the extension of the self. A poignant example reflecting the first type of violence can be found in the Kaṇṇappa Nāyaṉār Purāṇam, where Tiṇṇaṉ (‘the mighty one’), the chief of the Maṟavar clan of hunter-gatherers residing in Pottapi, is described as coming under the spell of the lord of the Kāḷatti hill, when he accidentally came across the Śiva temple while on a hunting expedition.31 His unorthodox offerings to the deity in the form of the anicon called the liṅga included the smoked meat of pig, deer, and other animals, and water carried in his own mouth to bathe the liṅga. To prove Tiṇṇaṉ’s devotion to the horrified brāhmaṇa custodian of the temple, Śiva instructs the latter to hide and watch the former’s display of true devotion and unflinching bhakti. When the hunter came at dusk as was his wont to make his offerings, an eye of the liṅga began to bleed. Tiṇṇaṉ we are told spontaneously responded by trying to stem the bleeding initially with the herbs and roots he knew had medicinal properties. Failing in his purpose, he finally remembers an old proverb that ‘to cure an illness apply like to like’.32 He proceeds to pluck out his own eye and place it on the bleeding 49

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eye, upon which the bleeding miraculously stops. However, the lord had not finished with him; even before the hunter ceased jumping with joy, the other eye began to bleed. Tiṇṇaṉ without a second thought placed his foot on the liṅga to mark the spot where the bleeding eye was, and was in the process of blinding himself completely by gouging out his other eye, when finally Śiva bestowed His grace on him. Other examples of self-flagellation can be found in the story of Arivāṭṭaya Nāyaṉār Purāṇam (‘the saint with the sickle’);33 Ēṉātināta Nāyaṉār Purāṇam (‘the saint lord of the generals’);34 Tirukkuṟipput Toṇṭar Nāyaṉār Purāṇam (‘the saint who discerned others’ wishes’);35 Pukaḻccōḻa Nāyaṉār Purāṇam;36 Kaliyanar Nāyaṉār Purāṇam;37 Catti Nāyaṉār Purāṇam;38 etc. The second kind of violence that we come across is against others, those who were seen as obstructing the path of the bhakta. Among the many stories in this regard, the interlinked ones of Kulaccirai and Campantar narrated in the Kulaccirai Nāyaṉār Purāṇam bring out the sectarian rivalry that was rife between the Jainas, a popular religion in South India since the beginning of the first millennium CE, and the Saivas. The achievement of Kulacciraiyar, a minister in the Pandya court, was that he not merely connived with the Cola princess who was queen here, Mankaiyarkkaraci, to bring Campantar, one of the three most revered Saiva saints, to Maturai and convert the ruler Netumaran, he is credited with annihilating them by destroying their monasteries and impaling them at the stake.39 Campantar is also seen as approving of the violence unleashed against the unbelievers.40 Taṇṭi Aṭikaḷ similarly succeeded in driving out the Jainas from Tiruvarur.41 Among the stories of the bhaktas that portray violence against family members who are seen as an extension of the self, the moving story of ‘the little saint’ narrated in the Ciruttoṇṭar Nāyaṉār Purāṇam exemplifies this. Here, the saint who lived to feed Saiva bhaktas and offer service to them accepts to fulfil the wishes of a Bhairava, who were known to be meat-eating ascetics.42 On being asked for human flesh, particularly that of the only son of parents who must willingly slaughter the child and cook him as an offering, Ciruttoṇṭar does not merely agree, but he willingly sacrifices his own son. His wife, Tiruvenkāṭṭunaṅkai, does not merely accede to his decision, she joins him in butchering and cooking the child. An interesting remark is made over here – ‘the father thought that his peerless son had bestowed on him a special blessing, while the mother reckoned that her son had saved her husband’s life’.43 Here, the wife of the male bhakta is complicit with the husband in committing violence. But the primary actor in the story remains ‘the little servant’. As a wife, her sole concern is to seek her husband’s salvation. This is where the power of patriarchy can be seen unfolding, where the woman is seen as completely subordinate to her husband, so much so that she does not even lament or, like her husband, take pride in her child’s contribution to their salvation. Here, the act of physical violence is committed 50

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against another, but the violence is unleashed in the metaphorical sense on the woman, where she is depicted as giving up all maternal feelings despite having borne the child she is killing. Similar kinds of violence can be seen in various other stories, where the act of violence can be seen in the rendering of the woman as voiceless, with no identity beyond that of a wife and daughter, and with no sense of personhood, who could be mutilated, given away, and at times physically abused. The Iyaṟpakai Nāyaṉār Purāṇam narrates the story of a wealthy merchant in the Cola capital of Pumpukar, a great bhakta who gifted his wife to a brāhmaṇa ascetic.44 We are informed that the wife was chaste and obedient, and fulfilled all her wifely duties. Despite her surprise at the order of her husband that she go away with the ascetic, she willingly sets off saying, ‘you are the lord of my life. If this is what you graciously command, what else can I do but obey?’ The greatness of the bhakta is extolled as he slaughtered all his and his wife’s relatives who tried to stop the ascetic. At the end of this story, we are told that the wife was also rewarded for her devotion. It is patriarchy itself which comes to the rescue when the man asserts his rights over the wife, whereby she can be treated as a possession and given away at will. The story of the ‘saint who was the pride of Kancarur’, Māṉakañcāṟa Nāyaṉār Purāṇam, narrates how the great vēḷāḷa general, despite his wealth and position, did not have a child, and after great penance was blessed with a daughter.45 When she came of marriageable age, an alliance was found for her, and the whole town celebrated the occasion. Just before the groom’s party was to arrive, Lord Śiva taking the form of a meat-eating ascetic arrived at the venue and demanded that the lustrous hair of the bride be given so that he could use it as a sacred thread. The father of the bride didn’t think twice before lifting his sword and cutting off her tresses. When the groom arrived and was told of this, he lamented not his bride’s shaven head but the fact that he had missed the spectacle. What is particularly important in this story is that traditionally the cutting/shaving off of the hair is associated with widowhood. It signifies the desexualizing of the woman, and as a practice may have some connection to the sramanic practice of plucking out hair. That a woman in the prime of her youth, on the verge of marital bliss, is denied her sexuality and any agency is part of the normative values conveyed in this legend. In the Nīlanakkar Nāyaṉār Purāṇam, a brāhmaṇa accompanied by his wife offered worship at a Śiva temple.46 On seeing a spider fall on the linga, the lady tried to blow it away. Thinking that the linga had been defiled by her spittle, the bhakta abandons her. This is perhaps the only story where the woman’s bhakti is shown as superior to that of her husband, for Śiva appears in the man’s dream with a body full of blisters and points out that there was only one spot that was unblemished. This was where the lady’s spittle had fallen. But she does not get to be revered as a canonised saint, and in fact even her name is not mentioned in the text. 51

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A couple of stories employ actual physical violence against women to illustrate the power of the bhakta’s devotion. The story of Kalikkampar ‘the pillar in the age of Kali’ is told in the Kalikkampa Nāyaṉār Purāṇam.47 The devout bhakta, ever ready to serve other bhaktas, does not hesitate in offering equal status to all devotees. When his wife hesitated to wash the feet of a former servant who had subsequently become a devotee of Śiva, Kalikkampar cut off the hand holding the water pot. Another such instance can be found in the Kaḻaṟ Singa Nāyaṉār Purāṇam where the king of the Kāṭavar cut off the hand of his queen for having picked up a flower meant for worship to Śiva.48 The hapless queen had already been mutilated by another Śiva bhakta, Ceruttuṇai, who seeing her smell the flower had cut off her nose! The worst still is found in the Kōṭpuli Nāyaṉār Purāṇam.49 On returning from war and finding that the food reserves kept aside for offerings to Śiva had been consumed by his starving family, Kōṭpuliyār mercilessly massacred his entire family, not sparing even an infant. This kind of violence may be seen as crude, direct, beyond the affective domain, and hence perhaps would fit better in the second category of violence against the other. While in the earlier narratives related to women, it is the affective relationship that is highlighted, which in fact becomes the basis for the actions of the bhakta, in the last two cases, it seems as if the bhakta severs himself from the family – the social self is quite absent. You may well ask here, is the bhakta always male? As Vijaya Ramaswamy and other scholars have pointed out, there are women saints but they are conspicuous because they are so few and far between.50 Only three of the legendary 63 nāyaṉmār are women. Of these, only one has an independent status (Kāraikkāl Ammaiyār), while the other two – Mankaiyarkkaraciyār and Icaiñāniyār – are better known as the Pandya queen and the mother of Sundarar, an important saint in the group, respectively. Even in the one legend mentioned, it is the ‘emotional atyachaar’ or violence that is ideological that is committed, where the woman is abandoned by her husband on account of his fear of her powers as a Śiva bhakta. The life stories of the Saiva nāyaṉmār may by themselves be plotted within the narrative of devotional sacrifice. However, the resurrection of these stories at a particular time, in a given context, suggests a deliberate choice for the purpose of declaring a triumphal Saivism. In other words, the devotional sacrifice that perhaps emerged as a struggling tradition, in this telling gets subverted and becomes the mainstream. Stories of bhaktas from different social classes, espousing their individual forms of devotion are woven together to form a tapestry. In some cases, there is an interweaving of stories of different nāyaṉār and their respect for each other is extolled. In others, there is emphasis on the distinct contribution of a particular bhakta. What ties them together is their pursuit of the path of devotion, whatever may be the consequences. And in most of the stories recounted by Cekkiḻār, the ambiguous happy ending lies in a closure of 52

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this-worldly life through the attainment of the tiruvaṭi or sacred feet of the lord – in other words, death. Returning to Dennis Hudson’s argument (violence against the social self/ extension of the self) about the way gender attitudes are woven into the narratives, the wife and daughter are principally the extension of man, and hence their sacrifice is ultimately that of the man in the brahmanical tradition. There are numerous such instances of portrayals of wives smilingly accepting the sacrifice of conjugal life, the sacrifice of an only son, the sacrifice of worldly comforts, and ultimately the sacrifice of the self. These are secondary elements in the tellings, because they are ultimately following in the footsteps of their husbands. In the context of devotion, this leads us to question how the ideology of bhakti is in itself perpetuating hegemonic normative ideas about gender and community. It is imperative for us to question these hegemonic ideas to resurrect women as social agents and critically understand how patriarchal values are embedded in traditions. It also becomes useful to deconstruct violence and its employment in the constitution of the male self.

III Agency of women in their own submission has therefore antecedents in the religious texts of medieval Tamilakam. There have been instances of violence against women in many parts of the region in recent times. Interestingly, in most cases of such violence, a normative universe is prepared which makes the women an agent for her own submission to the cause of violence. It, therefore, requires a serious epistemological intervention as has been done elsewhere to argue that the explanatory frames, which are relied on to explain violence against women, are to be changed as they themselves are part of the making of women as agent of their own submission. It is here that the historical constitution of gender identities and relationships become a serious issue. The early medieval Tamilakam and its political economy was bringing in a new agrarian structure, which concomitantly resulted in complex social structures; inherent also was the evolution of patriarchal norms, as we have seen. When we map these processes from the contemporary parlance, the historical explanation quite often seems fragmented and lacking coherence. However, the solutions do not lie in the subscription of a linear view. At the same time, one is faced with a situation where the contemporary patriarchal norms derive their legitimacy from the texts and stories of the same historical period. It is therefore a significant question as to how does one critique such recourse to texts and stories for contemporary legitimacy. In the contemporary context where there has been an increasing incidence of violence against women, the issue has acquired an urgent dimension. The recent works of scholars on the issue have been able to raise many of the 53

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significant points of intervention.51 What is interesting is that most of them indicate misogyny, and brahmanical patriarchy as the twin issues defining the entire gamut of violence against women. While misogyny is employed as a category to indicate the unquantifiable limits of hatred against women, brahmanical patriarchy provides an explanatory category.52 Displays of misogyny are linked to the specific form of social organization, characterised as brahmanical patriarchy.53 There are obvious problems with a simplistic understanding of violence against women. While it is true that patriarchies are reinforced by religious prescriptions and taboos, social conditioning can cut across religious boundaries. A more nuanced understanding places violence against women within a broader narrative of social status and economic power.54

Notes 1 Victor Turner, The Ritual Process: Structure and Anti-Structure, Oxon: Routledge, 2017 (1969), p. 96. 2 Johanna Alberti, Gender and the Historian, Oxon: Routledge, 2014 (2002), chapter 1. 3 Simone de Beauvoir, The Second Sex, www.marxists.org/reference/subject/ethics/ de-beauvoir/2nd-sex/introduction.htm, 1949, ‘Introduction: Woman as Other’. 4 Judith Okley, ‘Rereading The Second Sex’, in Elizabeth Fallaize (ed.), Simone de Beauvoir: A Critical Reader, London: Routledge, 1998, pp. 22–23. 5 Ram Sharan Sharma, Perspectives in Social and Economic History of Early India, Delhi: Munsiram Manoharlal Publishers, 1983. 6 Ram Sharan Sharma, Śūdras in Ancient India: A Social History of the Lower Order Down to Circa A.D. 600, New Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 1958, pp. 24, 50, 70, 130–132, 185, 287, etc. 7 Gerda Lerner, The Creation of Patriarchy, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1986. 8 Some of the works of note are: Uma Chakravarti, ‘Whatever Happened to the Vedic Dasi? Orientalism, Nationalism and a Script for the Past’, in Kumkum Sangari and Sudesh Vaid (eds.), Recasting Women: Essays in Indian Colonial History, New Delhi: Kali for Women, 1989, pp. 27–87; Uma Chakravarti and Kumkum Roy, ‘In Search of Our Past: A Review of the Limitations and Possibilities of the Historiography of Women in Early India’, Economic and Political Weekly, 1988, 23:18, pp. WS-2–WS-10; Shalini Shah, The Making of Womanhood: Gender Relations in the Mahābhārata, New Delhi: Manohar, 1995; Kumkum Roy (ed.), Women in Early Indian Societies, New Delhi: Manohar, 1999; Jaya Tyagi, Engendering the Household: Brahmanical Precepts in the Early Gṛhyasūtras, Middle of the First Millenium BCE, Delhi: Orient Longman, 2008; Suvira Jaiswal, The Making of Brahmanical Hegemony: Studies in Caste, Gender and Vaiṣṇava Theology, New York: Columbia University Press, 2016. 9 Ibid., p. 37. 10 Ibid., p. 239. 11 Uma Chakravarti, Gendering Caste: Through a Feminist Lens, Calcutta: Stree, 2003. 12 Patrick Olivelle, Manu’s Code of Law: A Critical Edition and Translation of the Mānava-Dharmaśāstra, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005, p. 25. Also see, The Laws of Manu, With an Introduction and Notes, trans. Wendy Doniger with Brian K. Smith, New Delhi: Penguin Classics, 2000 (1991).

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13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20

21

22 23 24 25

26

27 28 29 30 31 32 33

34

The Laws of Manu, pp. 43–45. Ibid., p. 46. Ibid., p. 197. K. Kailasapathy, Tamil Heroic Society, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1968, See, R. Mahalakshmi, ‘Intimately Bound: Woman and Family in Early Tamil History, c. 300 BCE–1300 CE’, in Ashish Saxena (ed.), Mapping Marginality and Social Justice, Rawat Publication, 2013, pp. 219–237. Ibid., p. 222. See, R. Mahalakshmi, The Making of the Goddess: Korravai-Durga in the Tamil Traditions, New Delhi: Penguin, 2011, chapter 1. The Puruṣārtha or four goals of human life, namely dharma, artha, kāma, and mokṣa, has been interpreted as an integrative schema to order the pursuit of different goals in life. In the Dharmaśāstras and epics, the focus is primarily on the first three, and together these are referred to as the three-fold path of the householder or trivarga. See, Alf Hiltebeitel, ‘Hinduism’, in Joseph Mitsuo Kitagawa (ed.), The Religious Traditions of Asia: Religion, History and Culture, London; Routledge Curzon, 2002 (1987), p. 17. For a detailed analysis, see, ‘Woman and Home in the Tirukkuṟaḷ: The Normative Construction of the Family in the Tamil Region in the Middle of the First Millennium CE’, in Kumkum Roy (ed.), Looking Within, Looking without: Exploring Households in the Subcontinent through Time Essays in Memory of Nandita Prasad Sahai, New Delhi: Primus, 2014, pp. 203–216. R. Mahalakshmi, ‘Benevolent Consort or Dangerous Adversary? The Accommodation of the Goddess in the Hymns of the Tamil Saiva Saint Appar’, Studies in History, 2011, 27:2, p. 269. Mahalakshmi, op. cit., p. 96. Ibid., pp. 96–97. Ranjeeta Datta, From Hagiographies to Biographies: Ramanuja in Tradition and History, New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2015; Bharati Jagannathan, Approaching the Divine: The Integration of Alvar Bhakti in Srivaisnavism, New Delhi: Primus, 2015. D. Dennis Hudson, ‘Violent and Fanatical Devotion among the Nāyaṉārs: A Study in the Periya Purāṇam of Cekkiḻār’, in Alf Hiltebeitel (ed.), Criminal Gods and Demon Devotees: Essays on the Guardians of Popular Hinduism, New York: SUNY Press, 1989, p. 374. Alastair McGlashan, The History of the Holy Servants of the Lord Śiva: A Translation of the Periya Purāṇam of Cekkiḻār, Canada, Victoria: Trafford Publishing, p. 20, verse 8. Ibid. Hudson, op. cit., p. 377. Ibid. McGlashan, op. cit., pp. 73–88, verses 650–830. Ibid., p. 88. For the Tamil text, see www.shaivam.org/siddhanta/thiru12u_03. htm#dt110 verses 650–835, 3.3.1–3.3.186. McGlashan, op. cit., pp. 93–95: This is the story of a prominent vēḷāḷa Tāyaṉār in the prosperous town of Kanamankalam, who tries to behead himself with a sickle when he dropped the food offerings he was taking for the deity in the local temple. See, www.shaivam.org/siddhanta/thiru12u_03.htm#dt110 verses 908–930, 3.6.1–3.6.23. McGlashan, op. cit., pp. 70–73: This story is about a prominent member of the toddy-tapping community, who was also an instructor of the art of sword fighting at the royal court. His rival Aticūraṉ tried to defeat him in battle but could not, and hence lured him into a one-on-one combat. Knowing of his firm devotion to

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35

36

37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50

51

Śiva and Śiva bhaktas, Aticūraṉ tried to win the duel by subterfuge. He wore the sacred ash on his forehead and, as suspected Ēṉātinātaṉ in an attempt to save face for himself and his rival, tried to behead himself. See, www.shaivam.org/ siddhanta/thiru12u_03.htm#dt109 verses 608–649, 3.2.1–3.2.42. McGlashan, op. cit., pp. 116–118: A washerman of Kanci, blames himself for not drying the dirty waistcloth of a Saiva ascetic because of unprecedented rainfall and tries to smash his head against the washing stone. See, www.shaivam.org/ siddhanta/thiru12u_04.htm#dt119 verses 1193–1207, 4.5.106–4.5.125. Ibid., pp. 336–339: This great ruler, who was also a Śiva bhakta, is believed to have won many victories. On one occasion, when he spotted the severed head of bhakta recognizable through the ash on the forehead and the matted locks, he immolates himself. See, www.shaivam.org/siddhanta/thiru12u_08.htm verses 3942–3991, 8.41.1–8.42.9. Ibid., pp. 342–344: The devotee offered his own blood to light the lamps in the temple when he was unable to provide oil. See, www.shaivam.org/siddhanta/ thiru12u_08.htm verses 4022–4038, 8.45.1–8.45.17. Ibid., p. 344: This saint cut off the tongue of those who did not speak well of Śiva or his devotees. See, www.shaivam.org/siddhanta/thiru12u_08.htm verses 4039–4045, 8.46.1–8.46.7. Ibid., p. 159. See, www.shaivam.org/siddhanta/thiru12u_05.htm verses 1695– 1705, 5.22.1–5.22.11. Ibid., p. 240. See, www.shaivam.org/siddhanta/thiru12u_06a.htm verses 2753, 6.28.856. Ibid., pp. 304–306. See, www.shaivam.org/siddhanta/thiru12u_06b.htm verses 3592–3617, 6.31.1–6.31.26. Ibid., pp. 311–318. See, www.shaivam.org/siddhanta/thiru12u_07.htm verses 3660–3747, 7.36.1–7.36.88. Ibid., p. 316. See, www.shaivam.org/siddhanta/thiru12u_06a.htm verse 3723, 7.36.64. Ibid., pp. 53–56. See, www.shaivam.org/siddhanta/thiru12u_02.htm#dt203 verses 404–439, 2.3.1–2.3.36. Ibid., pp. 91–93. See, www.shaivam.org/siddhanta/thiru12u_03.htm#dt111 verses 871–907, 3.5.1–3.5.37. Ibid., pp. 168–171. See, www.shaivam.org/siddhanta/thiru12u_05.htm verses 1828–1865, 5.26.1–5.26.38. Ibid., pp. 341–342. See, www.shaivam.org/siddhanta/thiru12u_08.htm verses 4012–4021, 8.44.1–8.44.10. Ibid., pp. 350–351. See, www.shaivam.org/siddhanta/thiru12u_10.htm verses 4096–4108, 10.53.1–10.53.13. Ibid., pp. 353–354. See, www.shaivam.org/siddhanta/thiru12u_10.htm verses 4134–4145, 10.57.1–10.57.12. Some of the prominent works on this theme are: Vijaya Ramaswamy, Walking Naked: Women, Society, Spirituality in South India, Shimla: IIAS, 1997; Vidya Dehejia, Slaves of the Lord: The Path of the Tamil Saints, New Delhi: Munshiram Manoharlal, 1988; R. Mahalakshmi, ‘Outside the Norm, Within the Tradition: Karaikkal Ammaiyar and the Ideology of Tamil Bhakti’, Studies in History, 2000, 16:1, pp. 17–40; Karen Pechilis, Interpreting Devotion: The Poetry and Legacy of a Female Bhakti Saint of India, London: Routledge, 2012. For instance, see, Kalpana Kannabiran and Vasanth Kannabiran, De-eroticizing Assault: Essays on Modesty, Honour and Power, Calcutta: Stree, 2002; Lenore Manderson and Linda Rae Bennett (eds.), Violence against Women in Asian Societies, London: RoutledgeCurzon, 2003; Kalpana Kannabiran and Ritu Menon,

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From Mathura to Manorama: Resisting Violence against Women in India, New Delhi: Women Unlimited, 2007; Tamsin Bradley, Women and Violence in India: Gender, Oppression and the Politics of Neoliberalism, London: I.B. Tauris, 2017. 52 Jean Chapman, ‘Violence against Women in Democratic India: Let’s Talk Misogyny’, Social Scientist, 2014, 42:9/10, p. 50. 53 Ibid., pp. 53–54. 54 Kannabiran and Kannabiran, op. cit., p. 59.

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2 SILENCED WOMEN, SPEAKING MEN Locating gendered epistemic violence in nineteenth century German representations of India Felicity Jensz

The colonial project was commonly presented as a moral project in which the supposed morally and culturally superior Europeans provided help to ‘raise’ the unfortunate ‘other’ who through fate was born in ‘heathen’ environments. In this light, European colonisation was presented as an act of moral responsibility. Nineteenth century British texts, for example, commonly depicted Indian women in a negative context, in order to present colonial expansion as an act of moral responsibility and a duty for British women to involve themselves in.1 From the eighteenth century, Protestant missionaries from varied European countries contributed to the creation and maintenance of images of the ‘helpless brown woman’ through numerous missionary periodicals, diaries, letters, and journals, and later in the nineteenth century through photographs. Indeed, many of the first encounters that Western Europeans in Europe had with India were through missionary texts. Through their activities in India, missionaries were cast as experts for a European audience, and their writings were seen as offering the authentic and authoritative version of the Indian woman’s experience. Missionary writings were considered to have an authority and a legitimacy that was based upon personal experience and moral credibility.2 In missionary texts, non-Europeans were often reduced to stereotypes or stripped of individuality. The purpose behind these tactics was to present an image of the ‘other’ in need in order to raise support in the home base for missionary work, as well as to underscore supposed notions of European Protestant superiority and to remind the readership of their supposed privileged role as Christians and subjects of a ‘civilised’ country.3 Much has been written on how British missionary periodicals constructed an image of India for a British audience and how this, in turn, reflected 58

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British understandings of self. Yet, comparative little attention has been given to missionary texts written in German. This chapter will therefore explore the various strategies used in German missionary writings to subject Indian women to epistemic violence, and thereby to silence them and to belittle their cultural and religious perspectives. Within this chapter I will focus primarily on the representation of women in a nineteenth century publication entitled the Evangelisches Missions-Magazin. I will demonstrate that missionary texts allowed certain voices and ideas to be circulated and others to be silenced through strategies of testimonial quieting, testimonial smothering, and testimonial optimising, which I will expand upon below. These strategies contributed to the construction of Indian women in ways that can be considered epistemic violence. These forms of epistemic violence were part of a broader programme of homogenising and creating distance from non-European women in order to legitimate and justify European hegemony as well as to present Protestant women as morally superior and therefore morally responsible.

What is epistemic violence? Colonialism was a violent enterprise that used (and continues to use) various forms of violence to legitimate and maintain hegemonic structures. Physical violence was widespread in colonial contexts, and it permeated all sections of society.4 Three mains forms of violence were used to create and maintain borders and boundaries in colonial societies: epistemic(knowledge), instrumental (police and military forces), and structural (social and regulatory organisations) violence. Here, my focus is on epistemic violence, which is a form of violence mediated through knowledge, and which can be considered as the construction of knowledge of others that causes harm to others. It is a broad practice that is not necessarily intentional, but it often creates fear.5 It can be considered as an attack on a person’s culture, ideas, and value systems through the projection onto the colonial world of a dominant (often white European) epistemology.6 Epistemic violence can be present in the written (author/reader) or spoken (speaker/hearer) word. The spoken word can be considered in terms of interactive ‘testimony’. Commonly, epistemic violence in texts has been connected to the practice of silencing in which subjects of the texts are limited or barred from contributing to the knowledge produced about them – with these subjects often constituting the subaltern.7 From the initial focus of subaltern studies on uncovering the histories of those written out, the focus turned at the end of the 1980s to the central question of representation.8 In her influential 1988 essay, ‘Can the Subaltern Speak?’, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak links epistemic violence to the silencing of the subaltern by the colonial power. She states: ‘the clearest available example of . . . epistemic violence was the remotely orchestrated, far-flung, and heterogeneous project 59

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to constitute the colonial subject as Other’.9 Indeed, epistemic violence has often been used as an analytical tool in a colonial context, which itself is closely tied to modernity. The ‘project of modernity’ itself is generally considered as ‘the Faustian drive to submit the entire world to the absolute control of man under the steady guide of knowledge’.10 The construction and control of knowledge play a central role in this definition. The link between knowledge and discipline in a Foucauldian sense frames the project of modernity as an exercise in epistemic violence in which differences are repressed and the voices of a select subset of white males are privileged. Important here is the construction of the ‘other’ through the selected use of power/knowledge and the creation and maintenance of boundaries that demark the privileged from the non-privileged voices. These technologies of power are seen themselves to be imperative to the creation of self. In the context of epistemic violence and the project of modernity, Santiago Castro-Gomez uses the concept of the ‘coloniality of power’ to broaden the Foucauldian concept of ‘disciplinary power’ to include the use of knowledge of the colonial space (and of the ‘other’) in the construction of the European self.11 Studies such as Catherine Hall’s 2002 ‘Civilising Subject’ underscore the ways in which knowledge of the colonial ‘other’ was imperative to the construction of British ‘self’.12 In relation to discourses on India, Spivak analyses in ‘Can the Subaltern Speak?’ the hegemonic imperialistic ideological formation that was based on cultural representations of Indian women in the writings of white men, and how these representations underscored ‘imperialism’s image as the establisher of the good society [as] marked by the espousal of the woman as object of protection from her own kind’.13 It was not, however, only white men who had a vested interest in creating such images of Indian women in need of ‘protection’. As Antoinette Burton has demonstrated, British women also ‘collaborated in the ideological work of empire, reproducing the moral discourse of imperialism and embedding feminist ideology within it’.14 Burton demonstrates this point by examining Josephine Butler’s campaign to raise awareness of the plight of Indian prostitutes and the associated imperial assumptions connected to feminist activism, as well as by examining the feminist periodical literature of the period, which depicted Indian women as enslaved. Such examples support the argument that ‘Indian women acted as a foil against which British feminism gauged its own progress’.15 My analysis of epistemic violence is based in this chapter on the work of Kristie Dotson. Drawing on subaltern studies and feminist theory, Dotson has usefully described epistemic violence in testimony as ‘a refusal, intentional or unintentional, of an audience to communicatively reciprocate a linguistic exchange owing to pernicious ignorance’.16 Pernicious ignorance itself is described in terms of a reliable ignorance (that is, ignorance that ‘is consistent or follows from a predictable epistemic gap in cognitive resources’) that harms another person, or group of people.17 This description 60

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of epistemic violence in testimony relies on a dialogue between speaker and hearer and is contingent on a ‘failed communication exchange owing to pernicious ignorance’.18 Such communication exchanges are themselves dependent on the credibility of the speaker, and ascribing too little credibility to the speaker due to identity prejudice on the part of the hearer is considered an epistemic injustice.19 Although the format of the written word does not allow us to uncover a communicative exchange easily, the concept of ignorance and of ‘testimonial quieting’ and ‘testimonial smothering’ can be applied to written forms of epistemic violence as they alert us to various forms of silencing. In terms of epistemic violence, Dotson considers ‘testimonial oppression’ as either ‘testimonial quieting’, where the audience does not recognise the speaker as a ‘knower’, or as ‘testimonial smothering’, which she considers to be ‘the truncating of one’s own testimony in order to insure [sic] that the testimony contains only content for which one’s audience demonstrates testimonial competence’.20 I wish to introduce a third term here: ‘testimonial optimising’. I consider this to be the construction of one’s own testimony in the light of the perceived testimonial competence of the audience in order to ensure that the testimony elicits the greatest possible support for the ideological aims of the self. This chapter is primarily interested in locating epistemic violence in its written form in nineteenth century German texts on India. With this in mind, we now turn to the question of what concepts of gender and violence were constructed in German language texts of India during the period of British imperialism.

German images of India The first point of access to knowledge about India for many Germans in the early eighteenth to the mid-nineteenth century was through missionary texts. In such texts, the credibility of the speaker/author was ensured due to his (and, less frequently, her) authentic experience and first-hand knowledge. Many of the first texts written for a Protestant audience were by DanishHalle (later English-Danish-Halle) missionaries in southern India, which were published as the Hallesche Berichte.21 Copies and translations of the periodical were read across the boundaries of denomination and country, with the reports contributing to the transfer of knowledge between India and Europe, as well as to the construction of an Indian ‘other’.22 This practice of knowledge transfer continued through the nineteenth century and often blurred national discourses in respect to common Western notions of modernity, morality, and Christianity. As the Hallische Berichte contained writings on religion, but also on philology, philosophy, and the natural sciences, they represented, as Rekha Kamath Rajan has noted, the first systematic organ for information about India for a German-speaking public.23 61

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The initial reading public were part of the elite of the Early Modern period, with many belonging to the nobility. Over the course of the eighteenth century, subscriptions to the Hallesche Berichte shifted from Pietistic to scientific circles.24 Such a shift indicates that the transfer of missionary knowledge about India to a European audience was heterogeneous and dynamic, which also underscores the point that missionary writings contributed to the creation of multiple knowledges about India. The voices of female Indians were seldom present in the Hallesche Berichte, and when they were, they were distilled through the voices of male missionaries who retold the conversation.25 There was in these first missionary texts from India a ‘reliable ignorance’ about women as their voices were all but ignored in the patriarchal society of the eighteenth century, with this leading to an incomplete, or skewed, view of Indian society. The lack of attention given to the lives and roles of women was itself a reflection of the subordinate place of European women within a privileged male episteme. Thus, the pernicious ignorance of a German readership in relation to Indian women was itself a reflection of European understanding of gender, with this predictable epistemic gap not rectified in that century. More German missionary societies founded missions in India in the nineteenth century and the German reading public were provided by German missionaries with further images of Indian people, and their culture and religion. Broadly speaking, the nineteenth century saw a plethora of missionary periodicals established with almost all newly founded missionary societies in Britain and Germany, as well as other European countries producing periodicals for their members and supporters. That is, the editors who produced these periodicals were usually situated in Europe or in the main urban area of the colony, far from the spaces in which cultural contact took place. These editors had sometimes worked as missionaries themselves, but sometimes also they had no working knowledge of the colonial space, and nor of the individuals who lived there. Thus, editors themselves had varying levels of knowledge and worked within a system that engaged in testimonial smothering and testimonial optimising in order to elicit particular responses from the audience. In this configuration, the limited testimonial competence of the audience of missionary writings was by definition reinforced by subsequent testimonial smothering within such periodicals. This self-referential system limited the influx of new testimony and ensured the perpetuation of testimonial oppression and epistemic violence. One source of knowledge for a German audience about India was the Basel Mission’s Evangelisches Missions-Magazin (EMM), which was published in Basel from 1816.26 As a digest publication, the EMM aimed to synthesise material for a German-speaking audience from some 30 German and some 50 non-German missionary periodicals, thereby providing the reader access to a broad spectrum of missionary news, reports, and book reviews that spanned denominational, linguistic, and geographical boundaries.27 62

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The digest format created a heterogeneous image of non-Europeans that was disconnected, fragmentary, and sketchy. By juxtaposing various cultures and religions, the frame of reference, or the dominant episteme (that is, Protestant European), became sharper, focusing as it did on the implicit comparison between peoples, places, and states of ‘heathenism’ and ‘civilisation’. Granted, the European audience of the EMM were themselves heterogeneous and may have read articles in multiple ways. However, since the EMM does not provide any insights into how its readers read the magazine (through readers’ letters, for example), it is difficult to uncover their voices or agency in shaping what was published. The presentation in the EMM of a unified Protestant missionary stance in non-European spaces was more important than underscoring differences between Protestant groups. That is, no explicit comparisons were made between British and German-speaking missionary practices. This is not surprising given that the EMM was a digest publication published in Switzerland that had been established by a group that itself had close connections to British missionary groups such as the Church Missionary Society. Protestant missionary work was an inclusive affair that relied on the transfer of ideas, people, texts, and goods across denominational, national, and imperial boundaries – creating a global network of missionary practices and Christian religion.28 From the nineteenth century, stereotypes of the non-Christian ‘other’ as degraded and as being located at different levels of a hierarchy of civilisation were common in English and German missionary periodicals, with such stereotypes also being disseminated in the colonial press of the German empire by the end of the nineteenth century.29 It is difficult to ascertain the extent to which the reports in the EMM were subject to self-censoring by missionaries, or, to use Dotson’s terms, the extent to which missionaries were complicit in testimonial smothering due to the perceived testimonial competence of the audience.30 It is well documented that missionary texts were edited before they were published for a European audience, so that the missionary realities would align with audience expectations.31 Missionaries themselves were socialised in religious reading contexts and wrote reports based on the perceived testimonial competence of a European audience. There was a certain homogenisation of reports across denominations as well national borders. Particular tropes reoccurred in various missionary writings, with audiences expected these tropes to appear in the writing of the missionaries and missionaries shaping their writings to fit the perceived testimonial competence of their audience.32 The mediation of voices was not only based on authors’ access to knowledge but was also shaped by testimonial smothering either through the hand of the author or through editorial interference. In such a constellation, the testimony of Indian women was subordinate to the perceived expectation of European audiences, with knowledge about Indian women often not being obtained from Indian women themselves but rather through male mediators.33 Thus, 63

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the testimony of Indian women was silenced, and its content mediated through missionaries, who themselves engaged in testimonial smothering to create a sense of gender universality that both adhered to the perceived testimonial competence of their European audience and informed this competence. This follows the same pattern evident in the Hallische Berichte of the eighteenth century detailed above. Moreover, the lack of Indian voices in nineteenth century reports also points to a stagnation in how European women’s roles were perceived. Despite, for example, the significant increase in numbers and importance of female missionaries during this period they still remained underrepresented in missionary writings, reflecting their continued subordination to males. Missionary periodicals became increasingly intent in the nineteenth century on crafting an ambivalent image of the ‘other’ one that painted nonEuropeans as wretched and in need of Christianisation in order to ‘raise’ their cultural, spiritual, and intellectual standing. At the same time, a distance was created between European readers and non-European subjects (who were often homogenised), so that, when conversion was not imminent, missionaries could blame non-conversion on the ‘other’ and not on the missionary message itself. Missionary periodicals were therefore full of propaganda that presented a ‘one-sided view of the missionary endeavour which often does not allow for alternative perspectives of non-European peoples to be expressed other than in descriptions of actions that were defiant or contradictory to missionary expectations’.34 By its nature, the medium silenced women, and engaged in testimonial smothering and testimonial optimising, all of which contributed to epistemic violence.

The construction of difference The discursive framework in which Protestant missionaries operated as products of the European episteme was full of binary oppositions and paradoxes. Drawing on the work of Homi Bhabha, the psychoanalyst Derek Hook argues that many European descriptions of the ‘other’ contain a ‘double paradox’: We have firstly the imperative to exaggerate the differences of the other and yet also make them stable, “reliably knowable”. Secondly, we witness a situation in which the confrontation with radical difference threatens to give way to the possibility of identification, to the perception of similarity or a common humanity.35 This second paradox potentially destabilises one’s own identity and therefore engenders anxiety. Anxiety can be considered as the malady of the colonial psyche. Other examples of conceptual frameworks that rely on binary oppositions and paradoxes include Frederick Cooper and Ann Laura Stoler’s description 64

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of the civilising mission in terms of two conflicting tendencies: those of incorporation and differentiation.36 Anna Johnston has offered a similar conceptual framework in her concept of the ‘double discursive positioning’ of missionaries.37 For her, missionaries created a sense of universal religion to which all people could be party, and yet also expressed the opinion that nonChristians were depraved in the absence of Christianity. Common to these analytical frameworks is the tension between two opposing notions that can never be reconciled or fully disentangled, but rather remain entwined, messy, and fuzzy. This then acts as a way to create uncertainty about the means one should use to arrive at the correct or right notion with this uncertainty itself being exploited so that the ‘other’ needs the continued supervision and input from Europeans, which gives the latter a sense of superiority. In terms of India, missionary texts contributed to the image of a helpless Indian woman and, in doing so, legitimated and accelerated the work of European missionaries there. A common strategy was the eliciting of pity, an emotion that is considered to be contingent on stereotypes, in order to remind European Christians both of their responsibilities to those regarded as being less fortunate and of their own privileged position.38 We can therefore consider the missionary contributions to knowledge about India to be ‘testimonial optimisation’, a term with which I refer to the way in which testimonial smothering is engaged in not only to reflect perceived levels of testimonial competence but also to engender positive responses from the audience in terms of support for missionary endeavours. Images of India were not just static, however; and, when they changed, it was often in a negative fashion. The Indian Uprising of 1857, for example, was an impetus for Europeans to reconsider their views of India, which often resulted in an image of India that was framed by a fear of future uprisings and the threat posed to British rule. Binary oppositions between European/ non-European, civilised/uncivilised, knowing/unknowing were widespread in the nineteenth century and became even more entrenched over the course of the century. Yet, as noted, these binaries were never fully defined leaving room for anxieties. I will now examine stereotypes of gender, religion, and education in terms of the epistemic violence embedded in missionary texts in the EMM in the period just after the Indian Uprising. In these texts ideas of gender, religion, and education intersect with each other. These were just three aspects of identity formation amongst many others, with obvious omissions here being caste and class, with all of these strains linking together in the tapestry of representations that missionary texts weaved for Protestant European audiences.

Gendered religious differences In the colonial world and during the broader nineteenth century, gender was more than descriptive; it was hierarchical.39 The positing of Indian women 65

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as lower than men by Europeans reflected British and German notions of women as being inferior to men. Contemporary reports on Indian women depicted them as the unequal chattels of their husbands, arguing that the equality of the sexes is a doctrine utterly repugnant to native ideas. The women recoil from it even more than the man; and any attempt to show the Hindu female that respectful preference which is accorded to the sex in this country is deemed a violation of decorum which fills her with confusion or with resentment.40 Hinduism was regarded as the major cause of this inequality, and thus a Christian education was deemed able to provide a double release from both social and religious oppression. The early volumes of the EMM often referred to women in relation to religious rituals, idol worship, human sacrifices, female gods, and rituals such as Sati.41 Sati encapsulated the European belief of the folly of Hindu religious practices and was written about in great detail in many missionary periodicals, including the EMM.42 These articles were often arousing in their vivid descriptions of the plight of Indian women and the need for Europeans to intervene in such practices – a form of testimonial optimisation. This trope of the need to emancipate women from their perceived cultural imprisonment was, and still is, widespread in the legitimating discourses of imperial agendas.43 The discussions on Sati also shaped the way that Indian religion was constructed for a European audience – a form of testimonial smothering. Both of these practices contributed to pernicious ignorance and also to epistemic violence, as women were constructed in a way that underscored European belief in their own religious superiority while legitimating the conversion of Hindus to Christianity. Indeed, India as a whole was constructed as being in need of conversion, or at least of Christian help. In an article on the origins of religion, the EMM reported that Hinduism had influenced ‘every civilized nation’ during the time that Jesus was on earth, but that it was now in the mid-nineteenth century ‘deathly sick’.44 Aligning Hinduism with the classical civilisations of Egypt, Rome, and Greece bestowed the former with tradition and legitimacy. Yet the opinion that the religion was now ‘deathly sick’ reflected Protestant anxiety that the Hindu influence on other parts of Asia could undermine Protestant missionary work there. This, combined with the assertion that Hinduism was ‘doomed’,45 created an image of an ‘exotic’ religion that was both appealing and dangerous, an ambivalent position that could turn without warning. It was dangerous because it was untamed and unpredictable and did not, or could not, follow European rules. Its very existence destabilised European perceptions of self, and of social, cultural, religious, and political order. Yet, as the EMM implied, Indians could be rehabilitated if they abandoned their social system and adopted European morals and 66

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religion, with the Christian message being the only antidote to the deathly sick Indian society.46 Women, and especially mothers (or potential mothers), were considered as capable of influencing their children and husbands and were therefore the targets of missionary work. It was broadly believed that women needed to be converted in order to prevent men from being tempted back into paganism.47 Thus, missionaries placed their focus on women as the moral pillars of society. It was believed that once women were converted, then they could help stabilise the Indian family through Christian morals and leaven the whole society.

Epistemic and sexual difference Even when Indian women were described in more positive terms, they were still presented as being in need of improvement, and often in terms of their loose sexuality. This focus on sexuality was, as Lara Ann Stoler has noted, a way for colonisers to control colonised women and thus men.48 Given the intense scrutiny that sex, sexuality, gender, and intimacy were granted throughout colonial spaces,49 it is not surprising that Indian women were often reported on in terms of what they lacked, with European missionaries positioning themselves as instructors in moral and gender conformity. For example, in 1860, a report from a Basel missionary working in Nilagiri, India was printed in the EMM. The missionary stated that suicide by opium ingestion was so common amongst young women forced into marriage against their will, or amongst young wives whose mothers-in-law made their lives intolerable, that he always carried a nauseant with him.50 By doing so, he had saved the lives of five women. It is not the intention here to scrutinise the veracity of his claim, but rather to examine what knowledge was produced and disseminated about women in India, particularly in the light of Mary Louise Pratt’s concept of ‘anti-conquest’, according to which the innocence of the protagonist is asserted at the same time as European hegemony.51 It was only with the help of European medical knowledge that, according to this missionary, Indian women could be saved. And therefore the pathetic (in the sense of pathos) women were saved through the work of missionaries, which once again legitimated the need for such missionaries. Yet, the voices of such women were not heard in the periodical; rather, their testimonies were mediated by white missionaries, who in turn used their words in testimonial optimisation. Women were provided with no subjectivity, but were constructed as instruments of patriarchal agency, as well as missionary legitimation, and rendered subaltern. Sexuality and marriage were entwined concepts in the EMM, as the following extended anecdote from 1860 makes clear. In this reprinted report from a Bengali newspaper, a member of the Young Bengal Movement, which was a group of radical freethinkers formed in the 1830s, claimed that the 67

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two guilty pleasures of the Young Bengal Movement were strong drink and adultery. These vices were to be understood in terms of the cultural upheaval that the Bengal, indeed much of India, had been subjected to under British colonisation. The article noted that in a transitional state from traditional social and moral structures a period of radical change was inevitable. According to the informant, a Young Bengal was an educated, erudite man who loved female company, dancing, music, and singing, and who was enchanted by women who read books and could write letters. Brothels were exactly the place where a Young Bengal could find such a woman and he was wont to go there to find educated, amiable girls who were trained in good conversation and literature, and who could enchant him, all to the detriment of his relationship with his own wife. The question was then raised as to why the wives of Young Bengals did not themselves learn to read, write, sing, and dance in order to provide their husbands with the agreeable company that they desired. The Young Bengal replied that it was true that ‘our housewives were the models of beauty, grace and gentleness, prototypes of conjugal virtue and meekness, were mirrors of motherly and sisterly love, had immeasurable patience in sufferance of evils, and sacrificed themselves to the extremes of selflessness’; yet these virtues did not attract the Young Bengal as they were seen to be part of ‘the old convention of the closure and stultification of women’. According to the informant, all girls were married by the time they were ten. This young age of bride was also a cause of complaint for many missionary groups, who were not able to influence the new husbands to allow their brides to continue with missionary schooling. The Young Bengal further explained: A Hindu woman may have all of the artistic merit of a Jenny Lind, but she is not allowed to sing. She may have the skills of the most perfect dancer, but she is not allowed to dance. She is basically denied the ability to learn to read and write. It is no wonder when a Young Bengal learns from the novels of England the attraction of a pleasant, female company and models his idea of a good housewife on such ideals that he is no longer satisfied with the current educational standard of our housewives. One rather sacrifices morality and seeks in the brothels the pleasure that one does not find at home.52 The response to the question of what could be done to change the situation was that one needed to work towards the goal of more female education. From the 1830s, public education had assumed an important position in India as a form of civilising mission, with the use of English as the language of instruction intended to appeal to the middleclass and to elicit their approval for British rule. It was a form of epistemic reframing that aimed to privilege the European over the Indian episteme. One step towards this 68

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was through bilingual training so that male Indians could act as mediators between the colonisers and the colonised – a form of ‘Brown Englishman’.53 However, from the educational reforms in the 1860s, more focus was placed on educating women as the moral stalwarts of society. The London Review of 1861 asserted: That female education is essential to the improvement of any country, and that, until we have raised up a race of instructed Christian wives and mothers [in India], it is vain to imagine that its teeming millions will be leavened by the influence of Christianity, are points which no one controverts.54 Western education was presented as the only way to raise the women of India, and, therefore, by extension, to improve the moral climate of the country. Such claims were made all over the British Empire and also by German missionaries and humanitarian individuals both in the British and the German colonial context.55 Paradoxically, providing Indian women with a literary education (that is, an education beyond Christian moral instruction) was seen as morally suspect by contemporary European observers, since such an education was provided traditionally only to ‘a limited class .  .  . who are educated for the purpose of an infamous profession’ – that is, prostitution.56 Nineteenth-century Western feminists often blamed prostitution on Indian cultural and religious backwardness,57 and, in doing so, stripped Indian women of their subjectivity. Missionary education was a form of moral training that intersected with fears about the uncontrolled sexuality of ‘pagans’ and with broader fears about imperial instability. If Indian men do not offer women opportunities to be educated by Christian missionaries, then they themselves are categorised as ‘bad’. Thus, a two-pronged attack was launched at Indians: men as ‘bad’ and women (when measured against a standard of common sisterhood) as a threat to British women’s (and by extension Protestant women’s) own rights. Nineteenth-century Bengali public opinion did not oppose female education, and yet the education that Protestant missionaries offered was at odds with the expectations placed upon a woman’s role in Hindu society.58 This anecdote of the Young Bengals was first printed in an Indian newspaper, the English-language Hindu Patriot, which, according to the editorial voice of the EMM, provided a clearer view of the current Hindu generation than 100 missionary reports could.59 It was common in British missionary periodicals to use extracts from Indian newspapers to verify missionary claims, with such sources being deemed authentic and reliable.60 The reprinting within German-language periodicals without editorial comment suggests a normalcy of epistemic violence that transcended European borders. In this anecdote provided by Bengali freethinkers, prostitution was not the concern; rather, the concern was for marital duty to be upheld. Wives 69

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were ultimately cast as the victims of Western norms, as we can see in the reference to Jenny Lind, a Swedish opera singer and philanthropist, and to English novels depicting genial female company. The reader’s attention was directed towards saving the wife and not the prostitutes, with the latter being the ultimate subaltern objects within the text. The structure of the stories is that young married Young Bengal men were known to go to prostitutes and the justification for this was that colonial fantasies disseminated in novels depicting gentle British women generated a longing for such traits in their own wives. Ideals of Britishness had been increasingly circulated in Indian education from the 1830s, after TB Macaulay’s ‘Minute on Education’ had argued for education to include the promotion of European literature.61 Given this exposure to European knowledge, there was a need perceived by Young Bengals to break free of traditional structures, with free thought acting as an analogy to modern and therefore British thought. And, by extension, they also perceived the need for their wives to be their intellectual equals. In the text, the need for a prostitute was fuelled by intellectual rather than carnal pleasure, by high rather than low culture, and by internal rather than external beauty. The women were to be pitied as they were portrayed as the victims of ignorant tradition, and yet this whole scenario was created without voice being given to a single woman. Both the wives and the prostitutes are objects of male desire, with the ‘solution’ to the perceived problem being the acquisition of Western knowledge. By reporting such incidents, missionary groups (including the groups associated with the EMM) legitimated their positions as providers of Western knowledge and presented a testimonial optimisation not only for the legitimisation of missionary work but also for its acceleration. The inherent misogyny in the reports inheres in the fact that they assume that the wives of the Young Bengals would willingly accept Western education in order to entice their husbands to stay at home and to refrain from visiting prostitutes. I am not arguing that Indian women did not wish to engage with Western education; rather, I am arguing that the epistemic violence evident in the pages of the EMM produced an image of Indian women that saw them as being trapped in traditional gender roles that were themselves no longer desired by their husbands and were the cause of their husbands’ infidelity, partly as a form of testimonial optimisation. These constructions of the helpless Indian woman can be read as a form of pernicious ignorance that homogenised Indian women and thus contributed to epistemic violence as a means of making Indian women victims in need of European ‘protection’. In a more general sense, the derisive reports of Indian cultural practices provided by a Young Bengal played into broader stereotypes of Indian women as being in need of intervention, preferably by Western missionaries.62 The wives of Young Bengals stood for all Indian women, and of course 70

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the education that missionaries had in mind was a ‘moral and religious’ education intended to create lasting bonds between pupil and the denomination to which the missionary belonged. Moreover, women were seen as the foundations of a moral domestic environment, with non-European women trained in gender roles that reflected the Christian ideals of motherhood. By shaping the ‘heathen other’ into a Christian subject, missionaries imparted their own ideals of moral, social, and gender roles, with the relevance of missionary schools being embedded in the general discourse prevalent in Britain that called for the integration of inferior social groups into society. And, indeed, after the publication of this article on the Young Bengals, there was an increased focus on the education of women in India, which was mirrored in the increase in Zenana missions in the second half of the nineteenth century. That is, missionaries placed themselves in descriptions of educational work as the only suitable providers of Western education for Indians. Yet, the actual provision of education in India was not just a matter of imposition; rather, it was a highly nuanced endeavour, with the institutionalising of Western education in India leading to a more stringent division of East and West on the educational front and a strengthening of the Us/Other divide.63

Conclusion This chapter is built upon the assumption that stereotypical images of Indian women in German-language periodicals were a form of epistemic violence. Epistemic violence is considered here to be a form of violence mediated through knowledge and considered as the construction of knowledge of others that causes harm to others. What, however, if the images of degraded women led to increased support for the mission and subsequently provided Indian women with access to education, medicine, and social and religious ideals that benefitted them? What, however, if Indian women found their own ways to counter these negative images? These question cannot be answered from the sources at hand, since testimonial smothering was an important mechanism for testimonial optimising. The primary source here was one German-language periodical, which drew upon German and nonGerman sources. It reflected not necessarily a German-specific ideal of India women, rather disseminated and underscored broader European stereotypes of Indian women to a German reading audience around the time of the Indian Rebellion, at a time when colonial anxieties of more uprisings and insurgencies was high. The stereotype of Indian women as in need of being released from their purported cultural and gendered oppression was not novel to the genre of missionary periodicals, nor specific to religious circles, but rather circulated in humanitarian and feminists writings of the time. In missionary texts, Indian women were rarely, if ever, permitted to write, and were therefore subjected to testimonial quieting. Their stories were not 71

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commonly available to a European audience in their own words, and they could therefore not fill epistemic gaps or counter reliable ignorance with facts based on personal experience. They were simply not deemed reliable knowers in the Western episteme. The absence of female voices in missionary descriptions suggests a testimonial quieting, which itself reflects the testimonial competence of German readers shaped since the eighteenth century by German missionary organisations. The competence of German readers was also shaped by testimonial smothering and testimonial optimisation. It was not a mere oversight. Rather, Indian women were described and solutions to their perceived problems were projected onto them. Descriptions of them in missionary periodicals were a form of epistemic violence that reverberated through the living rooms of the Protestant reading public, creating an image of the other that was to be pitied and acted upon, an image that legitimated and accelerated Protestant missionary work, particularly in the realms of education, amongst women in India, in the second half of the nineteenth century.

Notes 1 See, for example, Antoinette M. Burton, ‘The White Woman’s Burden: British Feminists and the Indian Woman, 1865–1915’, Women’s Studies International Forum, 1990, 13(4): 295–308, doi:10.1016/0277-5395(90)90027-U. 2 Judith Rowbotham, ‘“Hear an Indian Sister’s Plea”: Reporting the Work of 19thCentury British Female Missionaries’, Women’s Studies International Forum, 1998, 21(3): 247–261, doi:10.1016/S0277-5395(98)00022-3. 3 Ibid., 248. 4 Joch McCulloch, ‘Empire and Violence, 1900–1939’, in Philippa Levine (ed.), Gender and Empire, The Oxford History of the British Empire: Companion Series, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004, pp. 220–239. 5 Kristie Dotson, ‘Tracking Epistemic Violence, Tracking Practices of Silencing’, Hypatia, 2011, 26(2): 236–257, p. 240. 6 Justin D. Edwards, Postcolonial Literature, Reader’s Guides to Essential Criticism, Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire and New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008, p. 65. 7 Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, ‘Can the Subaltern Speak?’ revised edition, from the ‘History’ chapter in ‘Critique of Postcolonial Reason’, in Rosalind C. Morris (ed.), Can the Subaltern Speak? Reflections on the History of an Idea, New York: Columbia University Press, 2010, p. 35. 8 Partha Chatterjee, ‘Reflections on “Can the Subaltern Speak?” Subaltern Studies after Spivak’, in Rosalind C. Morris (ed.), Can the Subaltern Speak? Reflections on the History of an Idea, New York: Columbia University Press, 2010, pp. 81–86. 9 Spivak, ‘Can the Subaltern Speak?’, p. 35. 10 Santiago Castro-Gomez, ‘The Social Sciences, Epistemic Violence, and the Problem of the “Invention of the Other”’, Nepantla: Views from South, 2002, 3(2): 269–285, here p. 270. 11 Ibid., p. 276. 12 Catherine Hall, Civilising Subjects: Metropole and Colony in the English Imagination 1830–1867, Cambridge: Polity Press, 2002. 13 Spivak, ‘Can the Subaltern Speak?’, p. 52.

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14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22

23

24

25

26

27

28 29

30 31

Burton, ‘The White Woman’s Burden’, p. 295. Ibid. Dotson, ‘Tracking Epistemic Violence’, p. 238. Ibid. Ibid., p. 240. Rachel McKinnon, ‘Epistemic Injustice’, Philosophy Compass, 2016, 11(8): 437–446, here, p. 438. Dotson, ‘Tracking Epistemic Violence’, p. 244. Daniel Jeyaraj, ‘Hallesche Berichte: Quellezur Südindienkunde’, in Michael Bergunder (ed.), Missionsberichte aus Indien im 18. Jahrhundert, Halle: Verlag der FranckeschenStiftungenzu Halle, 1999, pp. 94–110. Felicity Jensz, ‘Briefe, Bibeln und Bilder: Das Medienbewusstsein der Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge in Bezug auf die Verbreitung von Informationenüber die Dänisch-Hallesche Mission in Tranquebarinnerhalb der englischsprachigen Welt am Anfang des 18. Jahrhunderts’, in Veronika AlbrechtBirkner et al. (eds.), ‘Schrift Soll Leserlich Seyn’. Der Pietismus und die Medien. Beiträgezum IV. Internationalen Kongress für Pietismusforschung, Halle: Verlag der Franckeschen Stiftung Halle, 2016, pp. 611–624. Rekha Kamath Rajan, ‘Der Beitrag der Dänisch-Halleschen Missionare zum europäischen Wissen über Indien im 18. Jahrhundert’, in Heike Liebau, Andreas Nehring, and Brigitte Klosterberg (eds.), Mission und Forschung. Translokale Wissensproduktion zwischen Indien und Europa im 18. und 19. Jahrhundert, vol. 29, Hallesche Forschung, Halle: Verlag der Franckeschen Stiftung Halle, 2010, pp. 93–112. Ulrike Gleixner, ‘Expansive Frömmigkeit. Das Hallische Netzwerk der Indienmissionim 18. Jahrhundert’, in Heike Liebau, Andreas Nehring, and Brigitte Klosterberg (eds.), Mission und Forschung. Translokale Wissensproduktion zwischen Indien und Europa im 18. und 19. Jahrhundert, vol. 29, Hallesche Forschung, Halle: Verlag der Franckeschen Stiftung Halle, 2010, pp. 57–66, here p. 65. Mrinalini Sebastian, ‘Local Cosmopolitanism and Globalised Faith: Echoes of “Native” Voices in Eighteenth-and Nineteenth-Century Missionary Documents’, in Judith Becker (ed.), European Missions in Contact Zones: Transformation through Interaction in a (Post-)Colonial World, Veröffentlichungen des Instituts für Europäische Geschichte, vol. 107, Mainz, Göttingen: Vandenhoeck&Ruprecht, 2015, pp. 47–64. The magazine was begun under the title Magazinfür die neueste Geschichte der protestantischen Missions- und Bibelgesellschaften (Magazine for the Latest History of the Protestant Mission and Bible Society) in 1816 and changed its name to the shorter title in 1857. Vorwortzumneuen Jahrgang, in: Evangelisches Missions-Magazin (EMM) 22 (1879), 2–3. See also: Felicity Jensz, ‘The Cultural, Didactic, and Physical Spaces of Mission Schools in the Nineteenth Century’, Österreichische Zeitschrift für Geschichtswissenschaften, 2013, 24(2): 71–92. Rebekka Habermas, ‘Mission im 19. Jahrhundert – GlobaleNetze des Religiösen’, Historische Zeitschrift, 2008, 56: 629–679. Livia Loosen, ‘“Arme Heiden” oder Individuen? Darstellungen der Indigenen Bevölkerung durch weibliche deutsche Missionsangehörige in der Ehemaligen Deutschen Kolonie Neuginea’, in Martin Fuchs, Antje Linkenbach, and Wolfgang Reinhard (eds.), Individualisierung Durch Christliche Mission?, Wiesbaden: Harrossowitz, 2015, pp. 237–249. Dotson, ‘Tracking Epistemic Violence’, p. 244. See, for example, Lize Kriel, ‘From Private Journal to Published Periodical’, Book History, 2008, 11: 169–198.

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32 Anna Johnston, Missionary Writing and Empire, 1800–1860, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003; Terry Barringer, ‘“Why Are Missionary Periodicals [Not] So Boring?” The Missionary Periodicals Database Project’, African Research and Documentation: Journal of the Standing Conference on Library Materials on Africa, 2000, 84: 33–46. 33 Burton, ‘The White Woman’s Burden’, p. 299. 34 Jensz, ‘The Cultural, Didactic, and Physical Spaces of Mission Schools in the Nineteenth Century’, p. 74. 35 Derek Hook, ‘The Racial Stereotype, Colonial Discourse, Fetishism, and Racism’, The Psychoanalytic Review, 2005, 92(5): 701–734, doi:10.1521/prev.2005.92. 5.701. p. 702. 36 Frederick Cooper and Ann Laura Stoler, Tensions of Empire: Colonial Cultures in a Bourgeois World, Berkley: University of California Press, 1997. See also Jana Tschurenev, ‘Incorporation and Differentiation: Popular Education and the Imperial Civilizing Mission in Early Nineteenth Century India’, in Carey A. Watt and Michael Mann (eds.), Civilizing Missions in Colonial and Postcolonial South Asia: From Improvement to Development, London: Anthem Press, 2011, pp. 93–124. 37 Johnston, Missionary Writing and Empire, 1800–1860, p. 199. 38 Rowbotham, ‘Hear an Indian Sister’s Plea’, p. 248; see also Marianne Gullestad, Picturing Pity: Pitfalls and Pleasures in a Cross-Cultural Communication: Image and Word in a North Cameroon Mission, New York and Oxford: Berghahn Books, 2007. 39 Philippa Levine, ‘Introduction: Why Gender and Empire?’, in Philippa Levine (ed.), Gender and Empire, The Oxford History of The British Empire Companion Series, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004, pp. 1–13, here p. 7. 40 ‘ART. VI.-1. The Daughters of India: Their Social Condition, Religion, Literature, Obligations, and Prospects’, London Review, (April 1861): 145–166, here p. 150. 41 See, for example, ‘Aufhebung des Schwingens in Indien’, Evangelisches MissionsMagazin (EMM), 1857 (1): 247–252. 42 See, for example, ‘Die Ostindische Compagnie und die Mission’, EMM, 1858 (2): 218–244, here p. 363. See also ‘Hindu Widow (c. 1889) the Plight of Hindu Widows as Described by a Widow Herself’, The Ethics of Suicide Digital Archive (The University of Utah and Oxford University Press) accessed 24.08.2017. https://ethicsofsuicide.lib.utah.edu/selections/hindu-widow-anonymous/. 43 Rosalind C. Morris, ‘Introduction’, in Rosalind C. Morris (ed.), Can the Subaltern Speak? Reflections on the History of an Idea, New York: Columbia University Press, 2010, pp. 1–18, herep. 7. 44 ‘Die Mission in Ostindien und die eingeborenenGehülfen’, EMM, 1857 (1): 275–298. 45 ‘Der Militäraufstand in Indien’, EMM, 1857 (1): 401–447, here 405. 46 ‘Die Mission in Ostindien und die eingeborenenGehülfen’, EMM, 1857 (1): 275– 298, here p. 283. 47 Rowbotham, ‘Hear an Indian Sister’s Plea’, p. 250. 48 Ann L. Stoler, ‘Making Empire Respectable: The Politics of Race and Sexual Morality in 20th-Century Colonial Cultures’, American Ethnologist, 1989, 16(4): 634–660. 49 See, for, example, Tony Ballantyne and Antoinette Burton, Moving Subjects: Gender, Mobility, and Intimacy in an Age of Global Empire, Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2009; Stoler, ‘Making Empire Respectable’; Elisa Camiscioli, ‘Women, Gender, Intimacy, and Empire’, Journal of Women’s History, 2013, 25(4):138–148. 50 ‘Die Nilagiri’, EMM, 1861 (5): 189–242, here p. 196.

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51 Mary Louise Pratt, Imperial Eyes: Travel Writing and Transculturation, 2nd ed., New York and London: Routledge, 2008, here p. 7. 52 ‘Missions-Zeitung. Indien im Jahr 1860’, EMM, 1861 (5): 242–248, here p. 243f. 53 See, for example, Tschurenev, ‘Incorporation and Differentiation’; Tim Allender, ‘Learning Abroad: The Colonial Educational Experiment in India, 1813–1919’, Paedagogica Historica, 2009, 45(6): 727–741. 54 ‘ART. VI.-1. The Daughters of India’, p. 153. 55 See, for example, Robert A. Trennert, ‘Educating Indian Girls at Non-Reservation Boarding Schools, 1878–1920’, The Western Historical Quarterly, 1982, 13(3): 271–290; Carol Summers, ‘“If You Can Educate the Native Woman .  .  .”: Debates over the Schooling and Education of Girls and Women in Southern Rhodesia, 1900–1934’, History of Education Quarterly, 1996, 36(4): 449–471; Carey A. Watt and Michael Mann (eds.), Civilizing Missions in Colonial and Postcolonial South Asia: From Improvement to Development, London: Anthem Press, 2011; Rebekka Haberman and Richarl Hölzl (eds.), Mission Global. EineVerflecthutngsgeschichteseitdem 19. Jahrhundert, Köln and Wien: Böhlau, 2014. 56 ‘ART. VI.-1. The Daughters of India’, pp. 154–155. 57 Burton, ‘The White Woman’s Burden’, p. 300. 58 Tschurenev, ‘Incorporation and Differentiation’, pp. 110–111. 59 ‘Missions-Zeitung. Indienim Jahr 1860’, pp. 242–248, here p. 244. 60 Burton, ‘The White Woman’s Burden’, p. 302. 61 Allender, ‘Learning Abroad’, p. 731. 62 Allender, ‘Learning Abroad’, p. 731, here p. 736. 63 Ibid., p. 731.

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3 GENDERED BEHAVIOUR Religious norms and sexual deviance in the Basel India Mission in the first half of the nineteenth century Judith Becker

In January 1856, several Indian catechists and elders from different Basel Mission stations in Karnataka sent a letter to the missionaries Hermann Gundert und Samuel Hebich. In this letter, they accused the missionary Christian Leonhard Greiner from Mangalore of having an affair with a young Indian woman called Mina or Mine, wife of the catechist Samuel, who was working in Udapi. The person quoted here is Aaron, an elder in Kalyanapura: My sister-in-law in Gudde intends to become a Christian, but, says she, I now see the liaison between Mr Greiner and Mina. I hoped to find justice here, where shall we go now? My inmates heard this and other things and scolded me: You have led us to a clean justice. If the catechist Samuel had not arrived, the people would probably have fallen back into heathenism.1 As I will show, the complaint relied on gender relations as practiced in the Basel Mission. I will show how gendered norms that the mission community perceived as Christian and that had been established in Europe were transferred to South India; that is, to a different cultural and religious context with different norms,2 and, at the same time, to a mission context where social control not only of the Indian converts but also of the European missionaries played an important role. I will investigate what happened when norms regarding sexual behaviour were violated by individual missionaries, and in particular what happened in the few known cases of sexual violence against Indian converts. I will also explain why reference to justice was so important and how it was interpreted. In short, justice linked the secular expectations of converts and missionaries to religious norms that were regarded as fundamental to Christianity. 76

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I draw mainly on manuscript material from the Basel Mission Archives. I also analyse the Basel Mission periodical Der evangelische Heidenbote and some edited letters and journals written by the missionary Hermann Gundert. The first and second parts of my chapter, which deal with the background to the stories, are informed by other manuscript and printed sources. There are some reports and letters by Indian converts in the archives, but, with the exception of the accusatory letter, they do not refer to gender or violence.3 I will start by briefly delineating the history of the Basel Mission in South India in the first half of the nineteenth century. I will then investigate what gendered rules were regarded as Christian by the Basel missionaries at that time, and why and how these rules were taught in India. In a third step, I will discuss the most prominent example of sexual violence against Indian converts, the case of the missionary Christian Leonhard Greiner and the Indian convert Mina. Finally, I will draw some conclusions about gender, religious norms, and violence. The stories will illustrate: how religion was used by the missionaries to explain what Basel defined as deviant behaviour; what influence religion had on understandings of sexuality, sexual practices, and violence; and also how religion was used as an argument in conflicts about the right ‘Christian’ behaviour.4 I will also demonstrate the role that religion played in the interaction between European missionaries and Indian converts, and how each side interpreted religion in a way that strengthened its case.

The Basel Mission in South India, 1834–60 The Basel India Mission was founded in 1834.5 It was part of and inspired by the awakening movement in Europe. It was established by ‘serious’ Christians, men and women from Switzerland, Germany, and other European countries, and being ‘really’ converted was a precondition for acceptance as a future missionary.6 The Basel people aimed at ‘real’ conversions in India, too.7 The sincerity of converts was shown, according to the missionaries, in their emotional and public conduct, their fervour in faith and religious practice, and also in their way of life. It is the latter that informed the norms for gendered behaviour. The first three Basel missionaries arrived in India in the spring of 1834: Samuel Hebich (1803–65), Christian Leonhard Greiner (1801–77), and Johann Christoph Lehner (1806–55).8 At first, only unmarried male missionaries were sent to India. After settling there, some wished to marry and a discussion about the sense of marriage for missionaries ensued. Would wives be more of a distraction than a help to their husbands? Could men live in India (in the ‘hot climate’)9 without a wife? After some debate, the mission committee allowed the men to marry – but they could only marry European women, and women selected by the mission committee. 77

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Until the late nineteenth century, those female missionaries of the Basel Mission who travelled from Europe to India were either unmarried mission teachers or fiancées and future mission wives. The first future wife, Friederike Frohnmeier, who was to marry Christian Greiner, travelled to India in 1841, and the first unmarried teacher, Karoline Mook (1814–60), followed in 1842.10 The former died soon after her arrival with her sister Wilhelmine becoming Greiner’s second wife a year later.11 The Basel missionaries did not work in zenanas and only seldom mentioned them because in South India, where they worked, there were no zenanas and women had a very different role than in North India.12 The first mission station that the Basel missionaries opened was in Mangalore. Four new missionaries arrived in Mangalore in 1836, amongst them Herrmann Mögling (1811–81), who would come to play a pivotal role in the Basel India Mission.13 ‘Mission’ in the Basel sense always implied preaching and congregation building as well as teaching and performing some kind of social work.14 They established schools for girls from very early on, and one of the main tasks that fell to the wives of the missionaries was to teach at these schools. In some places, the schools were entirely in the hands of the mission wives, while, in others, they were under the (pro forma or real) supervision of their husbands. Single missionary women usually worked in schools led by mission wives. Herrmann Mögling supported the mission schools in Mangalore and, in 1847, built a mission seminary where catechists were educated.15 In the Basel definition, conversion, which was the main goal of the mission, meant leaving everything behind. Above all, converts had to live in a way that demonstrated from the missionaries’ perspective Christian equality and communion: they had to transgress caste boundaries by eating and drinking together, and, in the case of Brahmin converts, by discarding the symbols of their caste such as the cord or the lock of hair. The missionaries perceived this transgression of caste boundaries as lived equality and as community building, and therefore as Christian. They also perceived it as a demonstration of justice (in the sense of equality). While offering lower-caste Indians the chance of upward mobility, and while motivated by the idea of a religious utopia, this insistence on equality destroyed Indian social customs and led to violence against Indian converts. Brahmins felt this more than Dalits, of course, and were therefore less likely to respond to the call to convert. The longer the missionaries lived in India, the more convinced they became that converts would benefit from being included in a Christian community at a very early stage in the conversion process.16 This was one of the reasons that any kind of behaviour that threatened to destroy the community had so much impact: for many of the Indian converts, there was no way back, since they had left one community for another and could often not return. 78

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Religious and European norms regarding gendered behaviour A ‘Christian’ way of life was essential for a person to be recognised as converted, and conversion was the focal point of becoming and being Christian. Religious practices, and above all values such as devotion, love, humility, fervour, and obedience, pertained to everyone, men, women, and children.17 In daily life, however, propriety played an important role in the perception of ‘Christian’ behaviour, and the notions of propriety itself were gendered – as were the practices associated with values such as love, devotion, and obedience.18 Most of the missionaries did not question this or see it as being shaped by European history. And, when they lived in the mission context, they usually tried to convey to the converts that such behaviour represented the correct, ‘Christian’ way of life. Not until they came into contact with indigenous practices and reactions did some of the missionaries begin to rethink their attitudes and recognise that such attitudes were not universally Christian but rather European. A differentiation between ‘Christian’ and ‘European’ therefore began.19 At the centre of propriety and gendered behaviour was the ‘Christian’ family with its established roles, and the missionaries thought it their duty to teach the converts to live their lives as Christian families, Christian husbands, wives, and children. But what should a Christian family look like? How should a Christian man, a Christian woman, a Christian boy or girl behave? The pre-eminent answer to these questions was: order. Order was extremely important in the European awakening movement and particularly in its German-speaking branches. It was thought to mirror the godly order and ultimately the eternal order, and it was connected to a certain perception of justice: justice as life lived in order. It was essential to the evangelicals that everyone knew, and remained in, his or her place, politically, socially, and also with regard to the family. The German Pietists of this era were very conservative, and the argument was always the same: people had to adhere to their given places, since (in an argument that was seldom voiced explicitly) God ruled the world. That these ‘given places’ had been developed in the history of Christianity in Europe and were constructions did not occur to them. They thought them decreed by God in an assumed order of creation. What strategies did the missionaries – and, from the early 1840s, their wives – use to teach their concepts of propriety and gendered behaviour? The first answer to this question is the same answer as to the question of why the missionaries were eventually allowed to marry. They thought that they needed to build model families to demonstrate to the Indians what life as a Christian meant. When the question was first discussed as to whether the Basel missionaries should be allowed to marry, the opportunity to form exemplary families and to offer the Indian converts role models was one of the main arguments for doing so.

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Another argument was that certain mission stations or schools needed women, with the missionaries referring to order and propriety again here, too. A missionary’s wife would teach propriety and order to the boys in the mission school in Mangalore, and would also be a good example of ‘Christian’ behaviour. These conservative, pious Christians were convinced that men (and particularly boys) needed women to show them the values of regularity, tidiness, and order. Secondly, the missionaries not only built model families of European Christians but also tried to establish Indian Christian families.20 One difference from local marriage practices emphasised by the missionaries was that they only married people that they regarded as grown-up – that is, those who had finished school and their education. They tried to find Christian wives or husbands for their Indian converts and to marry those who – in their opinion – fitted together, either because they were both ‘really’ converted or because they hoped that the ‘really’ converted person would lead the other to ‘real’ conversion. The missionaries sometimes reported on this to the Basel committee. But, more often, they noted it in private documents such as Hermann Gundert’s diary.21 The short entries in this private text – it seems to have been mainly meant as an aide mémoire – demonstrate his struggle to find fitting partners for the converts close to his heart, as well as his hopes for the marriage and his despair when the marriage did not work out. They also demonstrate the agency of the Indian converts. The marriages were not simply arranged. It seems, rather, that the missionary proposed future partners to his convert and maybe also tried to make his choices palatable. But the converts were not forced into a marriage. Thirdly, and even more basically, there were schools where boys and girls learnt not only reading, writing, arithmetic, and ‘European knowledge’ but also gendered behaviour. Reports about schools for girls referred in particular to the teaching of needlework and household skills. The girls were also taught ‘proper’ female behaviour.22 The European missionaries were convinced that the eventual evangelisation of India would be the task of women, and their female converts as well as the girls in their schools were meant to be taught to become women who would be role models, model wives, and mothers, who would raise their children as Christians and convert their neighbours, both through their exemplary behaviour and through their actual teaching. They attributed great importance to the women.23 Above all – in the opinion of the missionaries – the boys and girls should learn the Bible and the catechism. Reading and writing were therefore taught through the Bible and the catechism. The Bible was the assumed basis of all the missionaries’ teaching and living and also of the religious and secular norms that they taught their pupils. In view of the evangelicals’ Biblicism, they were convinced that their values derived from the Bible. And, indeed, they could find all the values that they taught in the Bible. But some of the 80

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values were not as important or present in the Bible as they would become in the evangelicals’ teaching. One of these values was propriety, which plays an important role in the Pauline letters, but not in the entire New Testament and hardly any in the Old Testament. Furthermore, ‘propriety’ can be interpreted in very different ways, and indeed the way that the evangelicals and their missionaries interpreted it differed from how the Biblical authors understood it. The fourth and last strategy that the missionaries used to teach the converts ‘proper Christian’ behaviour was discipline. I have not found any evidence in my sources of a gender difference with regard to discipline in upbringing. There was, however, an age aspect. Adapting the Pauline idea of new converts as ‘infants in Christ’,24 the missionaries considered Indian converts as children who had to be raised in faith, and they would therefore also discipline Indians who had left their teenage years for as long as they were in their care. What can we gather about Indian perspectives on families when reading the missionary documents? Why did Indian men and women react as they did and why were they so disappointed by and angry about the missionaries’ misbehaviour? Besides the fact that the credibility of the missionaries was tarnished (which was even more important given that they had built their reputation on their credibility and their moral distinction from other Europeans),25 there were also reasons within the Indian family structure and conceptions of gender and community. Social ties and family bonds were very strong and social boundaries considered as very strict, particularly in the South Indian regions where the Basel missionaries worked.26 In most of these areas, women did not live in zenanas,27 and social segregation did not run along gendered lines as much as it did in other Indian regions. It was caste that organised society, and women were important members of families. This became particularly clear when family members intended to convert to Christianity. According to the missionaries’ reports, it was often mothers who dissuaded their sons or daughters from converting. Even more often, women were used as an argument in the battle for souls. More than once, people who were willing to convert and who already lived on the mission compound were tricked into coming home to visit their allegedly sick or even dying mothers, and were then forced psychologically or even physically to stay in their parents’ house.28 This, at least, is what the missionaries reported. They may of course have focused in their reports on the mothers since this was the role that mothers had in the European conception of the time: binding their children emotionally and thereby being the focus of the family.29 This kind of report met European expectations. The place of people within their community was well defined through family, extended family, profession, and other markers. These distinctions determined who was allowed to interact with whom, with one of the most 81

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important markers being the arrangement of who is allowed to eat with whom at meal times: people of different castes were not allowed to eat and drink together. When the missionaries forced their converts to share meals, they forced them to break the boundaries of their caste and community at the same time, and thus to leave the Hindu communion. They destroyed the Indian order and replaced it with a new one, referring explicitly to equality and implicitly to a certain understanding of justice. Young men and women had to marry within their caste and usually even within their family. Therefore, the idea that the awakened missionaries had that people should marry according to their faith and not according to their social or family status destroyed these bonds with the original family, too. At the same time, though, it offered new bonds and a new family. When converts left their Hindu family in the course of the conversion process, they could find a new family and new social ties in the Christian communion. The missionaries were well aware of the importance of offering a new community to the converts.

Destruction of order and ‘Christian’ principles through sexual deviance: Christian Leonhard Greiner and Mina Because community was so significant, missionaries who destroyed the community were regarded as posing a high risk. Community was very important for both Indians and Europeans – for the former, because of their social system; for the awakened Europeans, because, with other ‘real’ Christians, they interpreted community as a sign of conversion and the presence of God. Additionally, when missionaries misbehaved in sexual or gender matters, they threatened to destroy the perceived godly and worldly order and thus justice. They destroyed the community; they did not behave in a way that recognised propriety and decorum; and, worst of all, they endangered the order set by God. That is why sexual misconduct was regarded as a dangerous assault both by Indian converts and by European missionaries. Furthermore, from the point of view of the missionaries, sexual misconduct was a sign that a person was not ‘really’ converted, with behaviour being interpreted as an indicator of faith. Questions of ethnicity, hierarchy, and violence added to the picture. The entanglement of interpretations can be illustrated by the story of the missionaries Greiner and Lehmann and the Indian convert Mina, wife to the catechist Samuel,30 whose complaints brought the case to the attention of Gundert and Hebich.31 Its appearance in the correspondence began with a letter written by Gundert and Hebich in mid-January 1856.32 The elders and catechists quoted in the letter accused Greiner of having a sexual relationship not only with Mina but also with other Indian women, most prominently with a woman called Esther and another called Bay, from Uramma. Most of these women were pupils at the girls’ school 82

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headed by Mrs Greiner, and Mina had also been a pupil at the school until shortly before the relationship began.33 The elders and catechists also said that Greiner slept in the same room as the school girls, and that one had watched him from behind a curtain sitting on the floor next to one or the other girl, tickling them, waking them up, and asking them to follow him to the adjoining room; that he had them rub his hands and feet and dress him; that he asked them why they did not love him and stroked them softly; that he touched them with his fingers and embraced them. He was also accused of neglecting his missionary duties, of not preaching often enough, of not offering the Lord’s Supper on a regular basis, and of not enforcing ecclesiastical discipline at all.34 The accusations of sexual misconduct were therefore augmented by accusations of religious and professional misconduct, with the latter being linked directly to the former. His neglect of his duties seemed to be the result of sexual misconduct. Hebich and Gundert travelled to Mangalore. The first female converts whom they interviewed, Esther and Bay, not only confirmed the accusations but even added to them.35 Accusations had been made in Mulki against both Greiner and Friedrich Lehmann (1823–79).36 Lehmann’s case was considered less important since there had apparently been no actual intercourse. Also, he had not lived in India for such a long period of time.37 Greiner had been in Mangalore since the very beginning, and he had built up what would become the main station of the Basel Mission in India. The impact of his actions on his colleagues and community was therefore all the greater.38 From a Basel perspective, order had been so undermined that the whole congregation faced the threat of collapse. The Evangelischer Heidenbote reported over the next few years of struggles in Mangalore to become a calm and thriving congregation again. Greiner’s behaviour endangered the whole Mangalore mission, allegedly because he had neglected the congregation in his pursuit of Mina and his ensuing mental disturbance. This was the perspective taken by, and for the benefit of, Europeans. From an Indian perspective, we will have to add the issues of violence and the destruction of justice. What had held out the hope of a new and more equal community had become a threat to at least some of the Indian girls. Yet, Mina was also accused of, and admitted to, having had extramarital sexual intercourse not only with Greiner but also with the Indian convert Matthai, who was Lehmann’s servant and who in turn accused Lehmann of having seduced Mina. Matthai was one of the main witnesses quoted in the letter written by the elders and catechists.39 The situation was complex, and several interpretations offered themselves to the missionaries who investigated the case and who read the reports. As the only information that we have for certain is the portrayal provided by Gundert and Hebich in their report to Basel, and the Basel notes in their committee proceedings, I will focus on their portrayal and interpretation of the case and on the story of Greiner and Mina, laying Lehmann’s story aside. 83

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After receiving the accusatory letter, Hebich and Gundert rode to Udapi, where Mina lived. They confronted Greiner with the accusations. Greiner was about to confess – or, so they thought, since after supper he disappeared. Not until the next morning could they continue their discussions with Greiner, who shocked his colleagues with his ideas for his future life: becoming a coffee planter or going to America. He did not respond to references to the ‘Heimat’ (home) – or his children.40 They interpreted this as evidence of serious mental disturbance. They learnt from Gustav Camerer (1831–58),41 a younger missionary, that Greiner had been in that state for quite some time.42 Here, neglect of religious practice, mental disturbance, strange behaviour, and sexual misconduct came together, and there was no doubt of Greiner’s guilt in all respects, albeit not necessarily in all details. The first step that Hebich and Gundert took after establishing what they considered to be the fundamental facts was to send Greiner back to Mangalore and thus remove him from the scene. They were to follow him later. However, before arriving in Mangalore, they met Greiner again in Gudde, about three hours north of Mangalore, where new facts came to light. Their evaluation of the case was clear: Mina was less responsible and less guilty than Greiner.43 He had abused her a year before her marriage in June 1847. Their relationship had continued until 1855 – that is, until the very beginning of the proceedings. This meant that Greiner had probably begun the relationship when, from a European perspective, his pupil had only recently become a young woman who had only just left school but still lived on the compound. Mina stated that he had assaulted her at that time.44 The child that she had in 1850 was perhaps his – although he claimed that that was impossible. Mina disagreed, and others observed that he cared more for this child than for his legitimate children.45 Greiner dated the beginning of his relationship with Mina to his 39th or 40th year – that is, to the year 1849/50, just before the birth of Mina’s first child and well after her marriage and her becoming a grown woman.46 Greiner’s version differed from Mina’s in the fact that it claimed that she had already left school and had married and could therefore be regarded as an ‘adult’. Then, the fault would not have been only his. Furthermore, if Mina was underage, Greiner’s behaviour was with certainty regarded as coercion. If she was an adult, it might have been regarded as mutual agreement – albeit on unequal terms. Although Greiner claimed that he was not entirely certain about the year, he can hardly have erred for three years without realising it. The dating was not further discussed, but it made a great difference, with regard both to moral conduct and to violence in the sense of coercion. First, if he had begun the relationship only in late 1849 or even in 1850, then it was much less likely that Greiner had fathered the child that Mina gave birth to in 1850. He would then not be as guilty as he would if he had an illegitimate child, and moreover a child with an Indian woman. Both racial and religious perceptions of the time informed this argumentation. 84

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Second, and more importantly, if he was correct in dating the relationship to 1849/50, then it would have constituted not an assault on a girl who had just graduated from school but an affair with a married woman. He would have still been the guilty party, but the responsibility would have been shared more equally than it would have been had the relationship begun three years earlier. As a Basel missionary, he was expected to demonstrate chaste behaviour, and not to mingle with Indian women. However, he could have argued (as Lehmann tried to argue) that Mina had seduced him, and, since European public opinion often figured Indian women as deliberately seductive, he may have harboured hopes that people would believe him.47 From Early Modern times, when Catholic missionaries came to India, Indian women were depicted as seductive. This image of Indian women was contrasted with the image of helpless females that came up later and was particularly furthered by Protestant missions that tried to engage European women in their mission. Both imaginations existed at the same time, but the latter became more and more important as the nineteenth century drew on. Although Greiner would always remain the superior party in terms of hierarchy (and therefore also in the eyes of his colleagues, the party with the greatest responsibility), his influence over the woman that lived in a different place and that was mature and established enough to make her own decisions was much weaker than it would have been over a young woman who had just graduated and was about to marry. This kind of argumentation played on social norms and Orientalist imaginations, and, had it succeeded, would have freed Greiner from the accusation of coercion. But it failed. However, particularly from the Indian perspective, Mina was not innocent, either. Indeed, Indian bystanders and most prominently Mina’s mother accused Mina of chasing missionaries in general and Greiner in particular. ‘If Mr Greiner comes, Mina dresses up, combs her hair, chats and jests like a whore . . . she hardly leaves his room’.48 Whether this was true, and what Mina’s motives may have been, were not discussed. The Indians called Mina a whore,49 whereas the European missionaries, though not acquitting her of all guilt, did not blame her. They did not comment on the fact that Mina had had at least one more extramarital affair, with Matthai, and that she had been involved with Lehmann, too. These facts casting doubt on Mina’s simple victimhood were noted down but not commented upon. This may have been because Gundert and Hebich seem to have found her confessions open, exhaustive, and sincere. They regarded the case primarily from a religious perspective, and Mina’s statements and demeanour managed to convince them of her sincerity. Reading between the lines, it seems probable that they saw her as a victim of coercion. They certainly saw Greiner as being superior in the hierarchy and therefore as the person most responsible. What they emphasised in their report to the Basel committee was the 85

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establishment of facts – or, better, since they knew that they would not be able to ascertain the truth, the establishment of testimonies and evidence, and primarily religious interpretations. Mina was readmitted to the Lord’s Supper and to the inner community of the mission church in September 1856 after making public confessions, something that was usual for this church and for many other churches in the history of Christianity.50 Greiner was sent away from the Mangalore district. He resigned from the Basel Mission in March 1856.51 We can shed a little more light on the case by comparing Greiner’s and Mina’s religious statements. Both talked about repentance, penitence, and conversion. Mina’s statements were (at least in the way that they were recorded by Gundert and Hebich) briefer and more to the point. Just after the beginning of their relationship in the summer of 1847, an awakening began in Kannur and the Kerala region. Indian and European members as well as all missionaries made public confessions, while church attendance and intensity of faith increased.52 The awakening, however, did not spread to Mangalore and the northern Karnataka stations. In December 1847, Mina listened to a sermon on repentance and confession by Samuel Hebich, the main actor in the awakening movement. In the trial of 1856, nine years later, she stated that she had felt she should confess but did not ‘because of him’.53 According to Mina, both of them, Mina and Greiner, said from time to time that they should stop the relationship but did not. She confirmed that Greiner suffered from ‘dreadful dreams and cruel pricks of compunction’, that ‘the sin’ then stopped for some months but later he returned to her. Mina could not comprehend ‘why all the repentance when one does it again afterwards’. This is the main religious difference between Mina and Christian Greiner. Their concepts of sin – or of repentance – seem to have differed considerably. To Mina, repentance did not make much sense if it was not accompanied by a change in behaviour. Repentance was therefore directly linked to actions, and not only in the past but also in the future. It had a direct secular meaning. Greiner interpreted his relationship with Mina in a primarily religious way: it demonstrated that he had not converted entirely. Mina, on the other hand, did not seem to relate the state of conversion in that way to her sexual behaviour – except for the period in 1847 when the awakening movement touched Mangalore. Furthermore, for her, sexual intercourse with a married missionary seems not to have been such a major sin as for the missionary. But this may also have been because she was the victim. On the whole, the nonchalance of her statements – in Gundert’s and Hebich’s transcription – is conspicuous. Greiner himself discussed his state of conversion repeatedly. Like most people in the Basel community, he considered public confession to be an important step in the process of conversion.54 He tried to convince his colleagues that his repentance was ‘real’ and that, because of his actions, he had suffered greatly, both internally and externally. According to Mina, he 86

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even interpreted the death of his legitimate son Hermann as a ‘judgement for this sin’.55 His conviction that he was sinning presumably made him unbalanced. His own statements are not always clear and succinct, but, in Mina’s testimony, the physical signs of his inner stress become evident: he cried and fasted, and milled about all night. He prayed and confessed to God and forced Mina to join him. Greiner sincerely dreaded hell and eternal damnation and hoped that repentance and confessional prayer would save him. That is why he repeated confession and repentance over and over again. And this was perhaps the most severe kind of violence, psychological and religious violence, that he forced upon Mina (and himself). He threatened her (and himself) with hell and damnation and forced her to join him in repentance, which spoke of a disturbed mind. Drawing her into this was – especially because he believed in it himself – as much an act of violence as the sexual abuse itself; if she believed in hell and eternal damnation, it was probably even worse. Greiner agreed with his colleagues that his sexual actions demonstrated that he had not ‘really’ converted. What they disagreed about was whether his confessions in their presence rendered him ‘really’ converted, whether the confessions were complete, and whether he and his confessions were to be believed and taken seriously. They also disagreed about his mental sanity, albeit not openly.56 When interviewed by his colleagues, he first admitted having ‘fallen and fallen very deeply’ with Mina, but only once or twice.57 As to Esther and Bay, he declared: ‘It may be that I larked around with them and that they interpreted it in a different way but everything else is invented’.58 His colleagues could not really believe his repeated claims that he had played innocently with the young women. If they were correct, thought Gundert and Hebich, then this demonstrated his total moral depravity.59 This was certainly meant in both a religious and a secular way, and pertained to both Greiner’s faith and state of conversion and to the fact that he was a European man in charge of young Indian women. With regard to the Indian women, Greiner tried in all his confessions to wash his hands as clean as possible. What he was more concerned about, however, was his own salvation. He allegedly woke in March 1855, realised his ‘great sin’ and experienced a ‘real’ conversion. He thought that he had not been ‘really’ converted before. Greiner declared that he was convinced that his sin had been ‘done away with’, but he was not as sure whether it had been forgiven. This religious distinction between doing away with sin and forgiving is highly unusual in Protestantism. It tends to suggest that Greiner himself knew that not everything was satisfactory, perhaps because he had confessed and repented so often and then returned to Mina and recommenced the relationship. His argumentation as well as his actions nullified the basis of the doctrine of justification, which was supposed to be the central doctrine of Protestantism. 87

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Greiner repeatedly included his colleagues in his failure, criticising them for not being present when he needed them. He declared his wish to be able to talk to ‘an older brother’, but he had no one there and thus struggled and wrestled on his own. He attempted several times to pin the blame on other instances than himself. Similarly striking is his repeated attempt – and constant failure – to strike the right religious tone, to refer to religious concepts and explanations in a way that would have been accepted by his Basel colleagues. He claimed, however, that ‘the light had eventually come into his soul’.60 After hearing Mina’s confessions, Hebich and Gundert interviewed Greiner again and confronted him with her statement. Greiner confessed to having had sexual intercourse with Mina and a woman called Johanna, but not with others. He then pinned the blame on his colleagues again: he wished for an awakening like that in Kannur, and, had they asked more intensely, he would have confessed more. He had long been willing to confess (although he had not been really open). Only on the last night did he realise that his course of action had been ‘entirely wrong’.61 This was Greiner’s final attempt to depict himself as religiously equal to his colleagues – as having experienced on the last night the final, ‘real’ conversion. They did not believe him. Greiner’s confessions of repentance and ‘real’ conversion could not convince his colleagues because they were expressed in a way that was entirely foreign to the Basel spirituality. In particular, they were not accompanied by expressions of his feelings of lowliness and meanness in the face of God’s grandeur. Greiner did not declare that he had reached a state of calmness through his confessions, and his actions did not give his colleagues the impression of calmness, either. Moreover, his confessions did not seem to be complete or sincere, and he still tried to defend himself.62 Conversion and repentance in German and Swiss pietism had a quite different appearance.

Justice: gender, religious norms, and violence One of the major complaints of the elders and catechists was that Greiner’s behaviour had destroyed justice. I will now conclude by illuminating the different aspects of justice that were jeopardised. 1) There is the religious aspect of justice as justification, which is the central doctrine of the Protestant faith. Greiner did confess and repent, often all night long. However, he did not believe that he would be forgiven entirely by God, and he thereby distinguished between doing away with sin and forgiveness. Thus, he also made a distinction between God’s justice and his forgiveness, between the lowliness of mankind and his elevation by God. In short, he made a distinction between the recognition of sin and grace. This made the Christian religious system much more cruel and violent than it otherwise was in the Protestant tradition. 88

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2)

3)

4)

5)

This move seems to have affected Greiner’s sanity, since he committed mental and physical violence on himself and on others. There is also from a religious perspective the question of values: Greiner violated values that were considered fundamental to Christianity, amongst them justice, equality, love of neighbours, trust, obedience, humility, and calmness. On another level, trust within the Christian communion and trust in it from the outside faded. The accusatory letter from the elders and catechists demonstrates this. The documents tell many stories about mutual spying in Mangalore, Udapi, and Gudde, wherever Greiner worked. Confidence in the Christian community from the outside was certainly as important, and it, too, decreased considerably. The elders and catechists stated that people considered leaving the community again, and that others, such as the catechist’s sister-in-law with whose statement this chapter began, drew back from entering the congregation and becoming Christians because they could no longer see the justice that had first attracted them. The Indians were no longer offered a communion that acted as an alternative to their society. The community based on communion, mutual trust, and justice, a community based on order, was destroyed. The norms held up by the Basel Mission and its supporters with regard to sexual behaviour were fairly clear: people were meant to live their lives in a chaste way. As a matter of course, they were not allowed to have lovers. Sex within a marriage was a duty, but it was not to occur outside of marriage and certainly not in the form of an affair. When Greiner began his affair with Mina, he disregarded this norm, and this was seen as destroying order and justice. When he chased girls in the Christian school, he destroyed the trust of the girls and of those who knew of his activities – trust not only in himself but also in a system that was otherwise perceived by some as bringing justice in the form of reliable institutions. In a broader sense, he also destroyed the attempts made by the Basel missionaries to teach ‘proper’ gendered behaviour. He destroyed families (the family of Mina and the catechist Samuel for one) and, more than that, he destroyed the image of ‘the Christian wife and mother’ that the missionaries had tried to transfer to India. Mina did not, could not, behave in a way that was considered proper and decorous. She became the counter-image of the ‘Christian’ model wife – and he, of course, was the counter-image of the ‘Christian’ model husband. They led what was considered by both communities, European and Indian, to be an unchaste life. The Basel missionaries stated that the ‘Christian family’ was central to their teaching and to their building of churches. And yet Greiner destroyed that family by sleeping with the catechist’s wife once the catechist had been sent to work at an outside station. Greiner’s behaviour 89

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hit at the very centre of the Basel conception of church and community life. His removal from Karnataka was the logical consequence of these violations of order, propriety, and eventually of faith. 6) The religious norms of the missionaries did not allow violence against women. On the contrary, the European missionaries prided themselves on teaching the Indians to show respect for women and to refrain from enclosing them in zenanas. They prided themselves on giving them what they thought was their proper place in God’s order. Greiner’s behaviour was wholly unacceptable to them and thwarted all their endeavours. He seemed to be destroying the godly order by leaving his place, by breaking up families, and also by not showing respect to Indian women in what he called ‘innocent larking around’ with them. Even if the Basel religious norms did not allow physical violence towards women, there was one respect in which they did open the way to violence: the strong conviction held by the missionaries of the necessity for repentance and conversion and of the dichotomy between heaven and hell, God and the devil, drove people like Christian Greiner to repent fervently on their knees and to force others like Mina to join them. In this way, Greiner used violence on Mina not only physically but also mentally – even if he did the same to himself and did not realise what he was doing. Yet, due to the very quick reactions of the other missionaries when the events became known, and also due to Greiner’s prompt removal from the scenes of his sexual misconduct, his actions did not have a lasting effect on the congregation and the progress of the Basel church in Mangalore and its surroundings. His case demonstrates the quick reactions of the Basel missionaries when faced with colleagues who misbehaved sexually, and their willingness to incur the wrath of the Basel committee. Their focus was not only on compliance with the sexual and social norms that were perceived as religiously fundamental but also and perhaps even more on the preservation of the community and of justice.

Notes 1 Basel Mission Archives (BMA), C-1.21 Indien: No. 4, Petrus, Aaron and Samuel Titus to S. Hebich and H. Gundert, Udapi, Jan. 1856, 1rf. 2 Gender conceptions were also different. This contribution will focus on European perceptions, however. See Almut Höfert, ‘Gender in Trans-It: Geschlecht und transkulturelle Perspektiven’, in: Martina Ineichen, Anna K. Liesch, Anja Rathmann-Lutz and Simon Wenger (eds.), Gender in Trans-It: Transkulturelle und transnationale Perspektiven.Transcultural and Transnational Perspectives. Beiträge der 12. Schweizerischen Tagung für Geschlechtergeschichte – Contributions to the 12th Swiss Gender History Conference, Zürich: Chronos, 2009, pp. 17–29, here p. 24. 3 There was one letter, written by Indian converts, about a female convert, Dei, whose conversion was contested. The reporting elder told her that she could

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4

5

6

7

8 9 10

11

12 13 14 15 16 17

not convert because she was female. See C-1.11 Indien: 1851, Peter/Titus/C. Greiner, Gudde/Utchilla, 2./21.6.185, BMA; Der evangelische Heidenbote 1851, pp. 79–81. This was a case of verbal gendered violence (the physical violence perpetrated by Hindus against the convert did not differ visibly from the reports of violence against male converts). On the debate about religion and violence with a focus on South Asia, see John R. Hinnells and Richard King (eds.), Religion and Violence in South Asia: Theory and Practice, London: Routledge, 2007; on the very use and definition of the term ‘religion’ as violence, see Peter Gottschalk, ‘A Categorical Difference: Communal Identity in British Epistemologies’, pp. 195–210; Arvind Mandair, ‘The Global Fiduciary: Mediating the Violence of “Religion”’, pp. 211–225; for a differentiated analysis of the (assumed) connection between religion and violence, see Richard King, ‘The Association of “Religion” with Violence: Reflections on a Modern Trope’, pp. 226–252. For the history of the Basel Mission in Europe and in India, see Wilhelm Schlatter, Geschichte der Basler Mission 1815–1915. Mit besonderer Berücksichtigung der ungedruckten Quellen, vols. 1–2, Basel: Basler Missionsbuchhandlung, 1916; Paul Jenkins, Kurze Geschichte der Basler Mission, Basel: Basler Mission, 1989; Christine Christ-von Wedel and Thomas K. Kuhn (eds.), Basel Mission: People, History, Perspectives: 1815–2015, Basel: Schwabe, 2015. See Thomas K. Kuhn, ‘Die Anfänge der Basler “Missions-Anstalt”’, in: Christine Christ-von Wedel and Thomas K. Kuhn (eds.), Basler Mission. Menschen, Geschichte, Perspektiven 1815–2015, Basel: Schwabe, 2015, pp. 17–23; Joseph Josenhans, Fünfundvierzigster Jahresbericht der evangelischen Missionsgesellschaft zu Basel auf 1. Juli 1860, Basel: Basler Mission, 1860, p. 24. On conversion in the Basel Mission, see Judith Becker, Conversio im Wandel. Basler Missionare zwischen Europa und Südindien und die Ausbildung einer Kontaktreligiosität, 1834–1860 (Veröffentlichungen des Instituts für Europäische Geschichte, Mainz 238), Göttingen: Vandenhoeck and Ruprecht, 2015. See BV 133 (J.C. Lehner), BV 139 (C.L. Greiner), BV 154 (S. Hebich), BMA. C-1.2 Mangalore: 1836, No. 5, S. Hebich, April 1836, 1v, BMA. SV 1 (K. Mook), BMA. On marriage customs in the Basel Mission from 1860, see  Dagmar Konrad, Missionsbräute. Pietistinnen des 19. Jahrhunderts in der Basler Mission (Internationale Hochschulschriften 347), Münster: Waxmann, 2013; Waltraud C. Haas, Erlitten und erstritten. Der Befreiungsweg von Frauen in der Basler Mission 1816–1966, Basel: Basileia, 1994. See BV 139 (Chr. L. Greiner); SV 1 (K. Mook), BMA; Heidenbote 1843, p. 64. It seems that the committee had considered marrying Greiner to the third Frohnmeier sister, Nane, after Wilhelmine died in 1856, but that Greiner refused her, allegedly because of her age (KP Protokoll N° 27. der Basler Miss. Gesellschaft: 1856, S. 10, 4. Sitzung, 23.1.1856, BMA). His answer ‘perturbed, distressed and humbled her’, reported the minutes. See on North India the essay by Felicity Jensz in this volume. See BV 198 (H. Mögling), BMA. On mission as institution building, see Jeffrey Cox, The British Missionary Enterprise since 1700 (Christianity and Society in the Modern World), New York: Routledge, 2008. The seminary exists today under the name Karnataka Theological College. Seewww.kaces.org/KTC/homepage (accessed on 23 July 2015). See, for example, Heidenbote 1843, p. 54. On the connection between religion and gender in different religious traditions, see Barbara Stollberg-Rilinger (ed.), ‘Als Mann und Frau schuf er sie’, in:Religion und Geschlecht (Religion und Politik 7), Würzburg: Ergon, 2014.

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18 It is remarkable, however, that these values pertained to all and not only to women, as one might think when reading nineteenth century encyclopaedias. See Karin Hausen, Geschlechtergeschichte als Gesellschaftsgeschichte (Kritische Studien zur Geschichtswissenschaft 202), Göttingen: Vandenhoeck and Ruprecht, 2013, p. 24. 19 On ‘European’ values and definitions of Christianity, see Judith Becker, ‘What Was European about Christianity? Early 19th Century Missionaries’ Perceptions’, in: Judith Becker and Brian Stanley (eds.), Europe as the Other: External Perspectives on European Christianity (Veröffentlichungen des Instituts für Europäische Geschichte, Mainz. Beihefte 103), Göttingen: Vandenhoeck and Ruprecht, 2014, pp. 29–52. 20 See, for example, Heidenbote 1845, p. 3 (Jahresbericht); Mittheilungen des Frauen-Vereins für weibliche Erziehung in den Heidenländern 1846, 2; Heidenbote 1853, pp. 49–50. 21 Hermann Gundert, Tagebuch aus Malabar. 1837–1859, ed. by Albrecht Frenz, Ulm: Steinkopf, 1983. 22 See, for example, 3. Jahresbericht des Frauenvereins zu Basel, pp. 4–8. (Heidenbote 1844). 23 They also gave them much more credit than the examples cited by Felicity Jensz in this volume – although, they too, of course, exercised ‘epistemic violence’. 24 1 Cor. 3:1. 25 See, for example, Heidenbote 1836, p. 83 (quoting S. Hebich), 1840, p. 29 (quoting J.C. Essig). 26 See Axel Michaels, Der Hinduismus. Geschichte und Gegenwart, München: C.H. Beck, 2012; Gavin D. Flood, An Introduction to Hinduism, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996. 27 There were still differences within the Basel Mission region in terms of the position and freedom of women. See Mittheilungen des Frauen-Vereins für weibliche Erziehung in den Heidenländern 1846, p. 4. 28 See, for example, Heidenbote 1854, p. 45f.; Heidenbote 1846, p. 29; Heidenbote 1851, p. 79. In this case, while the new convert was taken back by force into the Hindu community, the Hindu brothers of the older convert helped him because of the family bonds although they were of different religions. Most documents reporting on these cases were written by missionaries, who most certainly narrated from their point of view and interpreted events from their cultural and religious perspective. However, according to their reports, the Indian converts, when returning to the mission compound, often told of violence. This, of course, may also have been an argument that they used because the converts knew that the missionaries expected it and would then forgive them. 29 See Hausen, Geschlechtergeschichte. 30 This was most probably Samuel Ammanna, catechist and teacher at the boys’ school, C-1.16.1 Mangalore: 1854, No. 71, Jahresbericht der Station Mangalore 1854, BMA; C-1.21 Mulki: 1856, No. 7, Jahresbericht des nördl. Kirchspiels der Stationen Udapy u Mulky von 1856, BMA. This report counts Samuel Ammanna as a catechist until September 1856. The dates therefore fit the story; the spelling of the name differs slightly. 31 Greiner’s wife,Wilhelmine Frohnmeier, was called‘Mina’, too. See C-1.4 Mangalore: 1850, no. 19, H. Mögling, Protokoll der Mangalore Stations Conferenz, 3.6.1849– 7.4.1850, 4v (Sonntag, 12.8.1849), BMA. The incoming letters were bound in thick volumes, which collected one or more years. Words at the beginning or the end of a page are therefore not always readable. 32 C-1.21 Indien: no. 1, S. Hebich / H. Gundert, 19.–21.1.1856, BMA.

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33 After Wilhelmine Greiner’s death, Adam Bührer was transferred to Mangalore so that his wife could take on the superintendence of the school. See Magazin für die neueste Geschichte der evangelische Missions- und Bibelgesellschaften 1855, issue III, p. 12. 34 C-1.21 Indien: no.4,Petrus (Gudde) /Aaron (Kalyanapura) /Titus (Utschilla) / Samuel (Udapi), Jan. 1856, 1v, BMA. 35 C-1.21 Indien, no. 1, S. Hebich / H. Gundert, 19. – 21.1.1856, 2v, BMA. The accusatory letter written by the catechists and elders was attached to their letter. It is filed as C-1.21 Indien:, no. 4, Petrus (Gudde) / Aaron (Kalyanapura) / Titus (Utschilla) / Samuel (Udapi), Jan. 1856, BMA. The other documents belonging to the proceedings are filed as ‘B’, but contain minutes of interviews that were numbered from ‘B’ to ‘E’. The initial letter by the catechists and elders is ‘A’. 36 Lehmann had come to Mangalore from Bengal in 1850. See Heidenbote 1851, p. 66; BV 281, BMA. 37 Still, Lehmann left the Basel Mission after the case (date of leaving: 26.3.1856, BV 281, BMA). 38 Yet, his admission in Basel had already been shaky: he had to apply twice to the seminary. See BV 139, BMA. 39 C-1.21 Indien, ‘D’, S. Hebich / H. Gundert / with H. Kaundinya / Mina, 16.1.1856, BMA. 40 C-1.21 Indien: no. 1, S. Hebich / H. Gundert, 19.-21.1.1856, 2r, BMA. On the concept of ‘Heimat’ in the Basel Mission see: Judith Becker, ‘Die Heimat oder Europa. Perspektiven englisch- und deutschsprachiger Missionare aus den 1830er-Jahren’, in: Rebekka Habermas and Richard Hölzl (eds.), Mission global. Eine Verflechtungsgeschichte seit dem 19. Jahrhundert, Köln: Böhlau, 2014, pp. 215–240. 41 BV 398, BMA. Camerer had come to India in 1854, and he died in Udapi in 1858. 42 C-1.21 Indien: no. 1, S. Hebich / H. Gundert, 19.-21.1.1856, 2r, BMA. 43 C-1.21 Indien: no. 1, S. Hebich / H. Gundert, 19.-21.1.1856, 2v, BMA. 44 C-1.21 Indien: ‘D’, S. Hebich / H. Gundert / with H. Kaundinya / Mina, 16.1.1856, BMA. 45 It seems that sexual intercourse mainly took place while Greiner’s wife was away. Whether Wilhelmine Greiner had suspected or even known about her husband’s unfaithfulness cannot be established. She had already died by the time of the trial. The people involved claimed that she knew nothing, while outsiders declared that she had hated Mina for being her rival. C-1.21 Indien: no. 4, Petrus (Gudde) / Aaron (Kalyanapura) / Titus (Utschilla) / Samuel (Udapi), Jan. 1856, 1r, BMA. 46 Mina’s year of birth is not recorded. 47 See Antje Flüchter, ‘Bajadere und Sati. Bilder der Inderin im deutschsprachigen Raum der Frühen Neuzeit’, in: Martina Ineichen, Anna K. Liesch, Anja Rathmann-Lutz and Simon Wenger (eds.), Gender in Trans-It: Transkulturelle und transnationale Perspektiven. Transcultural and Transnational Perspectives. Beiträge der 12. Schweizerischen Tagung für Geschlechtergeschichte – Contributions to the 12th Swiss Gender History Conference, Zürich: Chronos, 2009, pp. 159–170. 48 Ibid. 49 The letter that was written by the Indian converts was sent to Basel as part of the proceedings by Hebich and Gundert, in German. It was probably a translation from the original letter; therefore, the term ‘Hure’ (‘whore’) may have been a German interpretation of the word used (in Kannada) by the Indians. 50 C-1.21 Indien: no. 15, S. Hebich, 22.9.1856, 2v. (Bild 303), BMA. 51 BV 139, BMA. See Protokoll N° 27. der Basler Miss. Gesellsch:. 1856, p. 27, 10. Sitzung, 12.3.1856, BMA. 52 See Becker, Conversio, pp. 396–403.

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53 C-1.21 Indien, ‘D’, S. Hebich / H. Gundert / with H. Kaundinya / Mina, 16.1.1856, BMA. 54 On conversion, see. Lewis R. Rambo and Charles E. Farhadian (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Religious Conversion, Oxford: Oxford Handbooks, 2014; D. Bruce Hindmarsh, The Evangelical Conversion Narrative: Spiritual Autobiography in Early Modern England, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004; Lewis R. Rambo, Understanding Religious Conversion, New Haven: Yale University Press, 1993; on the Basel community, see Becker, Conversio, esp. chapters 4.1.5 and 4.1.6 (pp. 433–474). 55 C-1.21 Indien: ‘D’, S. Hebich / H. Gundert / with H. Kaundinya / Mina, 16.1.1856, BMA. 56 C-1.21 Indien: no. 1, S. Hebich / H. Gundert, 19.–21.1.1856, 2r, BMA. 57 C-1.21 Indien: ‘C’, S. Hebich / H. Gundert / with Chr. Greiner, 14.1.1856, 1r, BMA. 58 Ibid. 59 C-1.21 Indien: no. 1, S. Hebich / H. Gundert, 19.–21.1.1856, 2v, BMA. 60 Ibid. 61 C-1.21 Indien, ‘E’, S. Hebich / H. Gundert / with Chr. Greiner, 17.1.1856, BMA. 62 On conversion in the Basel India Mission and the expectations, see Becker, Conversio, pp. 191–223.

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4 BODIES IN PAIN Violence and sexually ‘deviant’ male and transgender bodies in colonial India, 1862–1922 Manju Ludwig*

My aim in this chapter is to analyse various instances when the colonial state intervened in the lives of sexually ‘deviant’ male colonial subjects, so as to interrogate the historical entanglement of male and transgender sexual ‘deviance’1 with state violence. Colonial discourses about male sexual ‘deviance’ were heavily dependent on the terminology of violence. The male Indian Other was portrayed as sexually suspect and inherently violent in order to uphold alleged civilisational differences and to legitimise colonial rule. But the necessities of colonial rule and the disciplining of supposedly ‘deviant’ male bodies also required violent actions and the creation of intrusive rules and technologies, thus feeding into ambivalent ascriptions of violent behaviour. The colonial state in the British India of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries interacted with alternative sexualities such as homosexuality, transvestism, and transgenderism in a multitude of ways. Structures of violence were always inherent in these interactions, and included the infliction of physical pain but also epistemic and discursive violence. Historical scholarship on colonial regimes postulates violence as endemic to colonial endeavours, even though there seems to be no consensus of what violence as a category can encompass.2 Moving away from a mere focus on the bodily violence that accompanies colonial expansions, postcolonial studies interrogates colonial discursive formations and therefore forms of epistemic and discursive violence as are manifested, for example, in asymmetrical processes of knowledge production.3 Moreover, historical scholarship has also recently redirected its focus to include forms of bodily violence emanating from colonial power structures such as torture and corporeal punishments, as well as the complicity of colonialism in this violence.4 This chapter attempts to combine both approaches – the postcolonial and the historical – to analyse the entanglement of violence with ‘deviant’ male and transgender bodies in colonial India. 95

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The colonial logic of creating legitimacy for foreign rule meant creating essential civilisational differences between European rulers and the Indian colonised, and that was even more the case after the traumatic event of the Indian Revolt in 1857. The realm of gender relations was of course not excluded from this logic.5 Various studies have thrown light on the process by which Indian gender relations were portrayed as requiring reform, and particularly when it came to asymmetrical power relations between men and women.6 The focus of historical scholarship has by and large been on women, but more recently the focus has also been on the entanglement of colonialism and masculinity.7 Indian men were on the one hand seen in the colonial imagination as weak (and effeminate) but also on the other as treating women in a brutal manner, thereby displaying a dubious and ‘debauched’ sexuality. This interacted with the simultaneous construction of segments of Indian subaltern society as inherently criminal.8 It was in this context that irrational and illegitimate violent behaviour (as opposed to the legitimate violence perpetrated by the colonial state) was projected onto the colonised’s mind and body. However, colonial power imperatives and ideologies dictated at the same time the use of extensive and unprecedented forms of violence in order to discipline unruly or ‘immoral’ colonial subjects, which often created administrative problems and scandal in the metropole.9 To analyse the ambivalent nature of this colonial constellation and its manifold outcomes, I will first show in this chapter how colonial legal regimes created a double standard in their prosecution of non-consensual sexual relationships by negating the possibility of homosexual rape while affirming the possibility of heterosexual rape. To further the overall argument, I also broach the issue of the inclusion of the so-called eunuchs into the 1871 Criminal Tribes Act and the resulting policing and medical regime that violently disrupted the lives of the individuals concerned. Finally, I give an insight into the world of the colonial prisons and penal settlements in which colonial theories about the violent inclinations of sexually ‘deviant’ men were formed while the colonial state itself experimented with modes of punishment, including forms that mimicked sexual violence and that left the traces of violence on the bodies of the alleged ‘deviants’. These examples can illustrate how colonial discourses about male sexual deviance depended heavily on the terminology of violence on the one hand, and created violent disruptions for the people thus labelled on the other. I hope to shed some light on this colonial mechanism as well as to broaden the historical perspective on gender and violence by including men and transgender individuals in my analysis.

Sexual violence and colonial jurisprudence One of the central pillars of colonial rule in British India was its legal system. The criminal code, the Indian Penal Code (IPC), was established in 1862 96

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after a long process of codification.10 The IPC categorised sexual crimes as violations of public ‘decency’ and ‘morality’. Same-sex intercourse was made criminal and prosecuted jointly with heterosexual anal intercourse and zoophilia as a major offence under section 377; it was seen as being ‘against the order of nature’, irrespective of whether it was consensual or forced.11 Similarly, rape offences came under closer scrutiny from the new legal regime in the 1860s.12 While the crime of heterosexual rape – especially of young girls and ‘child-wives’ – helped to establish colonial discourses of othering,13 the IPC ignored the possibility that homosexual relationships could be asymmetrical and violent. While a woman in a rape case had the opportunity to establish herself as a legitimate victim, the two parties in a male same-sex relationship (which might have been forced or not) were labelled ‘active’ and ‘passive’ agents, thereby precluding the notion of victimhood in those instances. The IPC did not provide for the possibility of homosexual rape and charged all cases of sexual violence between male actors under section 377. This made the question of consent irrelevant. This double standard in the prosecution of violence in sexual relations was particularly obvious when male children or juveniles were involved. After (allegedly consensual or non-consensual) contact with adult men, they were conceptualised as ‘immoral’ themselves by the legal discourse. Consequently, they were also disqualified as credible witnesses. These boys posed a threat to the colonial moral order due to their allegedly contaminated nature, and were therefore given specific punishments such as whipping and specific arrangements for their terms of imprisonment. One significant example is the trial of Hari Das, a 15-year-old boy whose mother had been ‘sentenced to death for murdering her husband by poison’, and who grew up as an orphan in the penal settlement on the Andaman Islands.14 He was convicted by the district magistrate’s court at Port Blair in March 1916 of being a ‘passive agent in the offence of unnatural crime’ under section 377 of the IPC.15 Hari Das claimed that he had been raped and had not consented to the same-sex act. Nevertheless, and even though the district magistrate himself stated in his judgment that the contradictory statements made by two witnesses against the boy’s claim that he had been raped were ‘obviously a fabrication’, he was deemed a ‘passive agent’ and sentenced to two years’ imprisonment in a juvenile prison. One justification for the sentence was a negative character assessment. The district magistrate identified the boy as a ‘“chokra”16 for unnatural intercourse’, someone who had already been in sodomitical relationships, which situated him in the domain of voluntary prostitution.17 Due to his advanced age, the juvenile institutions on mainland India refused to take Hari Das as a prisoner, arguing that ‘youths who have been convicted of offences of this nature are carefully excluded from the juvenile jail’.18 Other prison officials claimed that taking on ‘a confirmed catamite’ would hold ‘grave risks of his contaminating the 97

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other inmates of the jails’, and that it would be ‘highly undesirable to risk the spread of this vice’.19 A non-governmental institution run by the Salvation Army finally agreed to take on Hari Das, with its manager promising to ‘keep a watchful eye upon him’.20 The colonial legal system was therefore unable in this case to differentiate between the perpetrator and the victim of sexual violence and was also unable to reform ‘suspect’ offenders within its own penal institutions. The codification of Indian law coincided with the expansion of colonial medicine in British India.21 Rape trials in particular depended heavily on the evaluations of rape victims that were provided by medical experts, since colonial officials were convinced in such cases of the ‘unreliability of native witnesses’.22 The emergence of a powerful colonial medico-legal regime resulted in invasive and often violent examinations of rape victims. Medical evidence was of great importance in a case against Afghan refugee Sardar Abdur Rahman, brother of the important political leader Ayub Khan, in Rawalpindi in 1906.23 He was charged under sections 377 (‘sodomy’), 347 (‘wrongful confinement’), and 506 (‘criminal intimidation’) of the IPC after it came to light that he had been ‘confining three boys in his house against their will, and compelling them to submit to his unnatural lusts’.24 The magistrate of Rawalpindi, GD Rudkin, sentenced the accused to six years’ imprisonment in November 1906, but the sessions judge overturned the sentence in April 1907 ‘on the grounds that the habitual commission of sodomy is not an offence under the Penal Code’ and that ‘the three boys who were habitually used as passive agents could not fix any precise date as the one on which any specific manifestation of the offence had occurred’.25 The deputy commissioner lamented that the colonial legal regime was unable to provide justice to victims of long-lasting and ‘habitual’ forms of sexual violence, and that it was even complicit in prolonging the alleged abuse: ‘T]hese disgusting Pathans had used legal machinery to further their unnatural lusts’ by having the police return one of the boys that had run away and taken refuge in a shrine.26 After the boys had been ‘taken from the accused’s house . . . by the police under a search warrant’, their statements were taken and they were closely examined by the civil surgeon. The medical evidence gathered, which described in detail the supposed medical signs that anal intercourse had taken place, such as ‘the relaxed state of the sphincter and glazed skin at the anal margin’, ‘a fissure on his anus’, and ‘an excoriated area of skin near the anal margin’, pointed to the likelihood ‘that they [the boys] had been used as passive agents’.27 Generating this medical evidence must have been an intrusive and violent experience for the three boys, but the colonial legal regime deemed it necessary due to a ‘growing unease with the available vocabulary of evidence in mid-nineteenth-century colonial India’.28 Colonial judges were quick to assume dubious moral character traits in the victims of sexual violence, thereby downplaying the victims’ violent experiences and 98

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belittling their testimonies. Rudkin, for example, stated in his judgment that he was ‘not at all prepared to accept their [the boys’] evidence fully’,29 and justified this by pointing to evidence from the cross-examination of the boys that had revealed that one of the boys ‘used to play at the theatre’ and ‘had also visited prostitutes’30 – activities that made him inherently suspicious and untrustworthy in the eyes of the colonial legal regime. This example illustrates the gradual growth in the importance of opinions provided by medical experts in cases of sexual violence, with these opinions themselves necessitating intrusive and humiliating examinations and a degradation of native testimonies. In another case, Premsingh Ramprashad, a pensioner and former employee of the colonial state, had been found guilty under section 377 of the IPC of having had ‘intercourse against the order of nature with the complainant Ruttia, a Mochee boy of 12 to 13 years of age’, and had been sentenced to three years’ imprisonment on the grounds of medical evidence.31 Even though the medical officer could not ‘definitely say that the injuries to the boy were caused by an unnatural act, he is strongly of opinion that they were’.32 The mere opinion of the medical expert came to count for more than the statements of native witnesses due to their alleged vagueness. Again, the character of the boy affected was questioned and the possibility of voluntary prostitution alluded to. Whether the parties concerned gave their consent was a question that was deemed irrelevant: It is natural that he [the boy] should not confess to being a consenting party in the first instance even if that was the case. But the consent or otherwise of the boy would make no difference as the act if committed brings the accused under the Section with or without consent.33 The dismissal of the possibility of sexual violence in the domain of samesex acts is symptomatic of the colonial regime’s legal handling of male sexual ‘deviance’: there were no victims, only offenders. The refusal of colonial judges to acknowledge the violence that young (and older) male victims of rape had experienced, and the fact that such victims were placed in the fuzzy category of ‘sodomist’ or ‘unnatural offender’, illustrates how colonial legal categories and the daily dispensing of justice were complicit in perpetuating sexual violence.

Castigating youthful offenders A different regime of punishment that left traces of violence on the bodies of sexually deviant young men was the 1864 Whipping Act.34 The Act was implemented in order to provide colonial judges with an alternative model of punishment for juvenile offenders, and especially for those accused of 99

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sexual offences. The rationale behind this was that imprisonment was felt to be counterproductive, since the presence of older and ‘more hardened convicts’ would only contaminate them further. The judges could themselves decide on whether to sentence a juvenile offender under the age of 18 either to imprisonment or to whipping (the latter usually taking place in public to act as a deterrent). When it came to sentencing juveniles for homosexuality, some colonial officials even presented the idea that flogging might help to ‘cure’ or ‘treat’ sodomy. Many district magistrates supported this form of corporeal punishment and used it in cases where the juvenile had been found guilty under section 377 of the IPC. We find in the Assam Prison Report of 1899, for example, mention of a boy aged between 12 and 14 who had had his sentence of two years’ imprisonment under section 377 of the IPC converted into 20 lashes of the whip.35 The Indian government also recommended in 1880 that, with respect to ‘unnatural crime’ in the penal settlement on the Andaman Islands, officials should resort to flogging, since a ‘sound flogging in public in such cases, especially in the cases of the younger men, would tend greatly to put down the nefarious practice’.36 To deal with male alternative sexualities, the colonial penal regime therefore resorted to methods of punishment that it had previously denounced as ‘Oriental’ and as unnecessarily cruel.

Policing the sexual criminality of ‘eunuchs’ and the colonial medical gaze A campaign outside of the legal realm aimed at ‘rooting out’ the so-called institution of eunuchism in North India in the 1860s and 1870s was a further example of the efforts made by the colonial regime to regiment men that did not fit into a heteronormative lifestyle. This campaign was accompanied by waves of moral panic that saw the hyperbolisation and exploitation of supposedly native immorality and indecency for the purpose of legitimising colonial rule. The move against groups that included men who dressed as women, ‘hermaphrodites’, and also men who had sex with men was implemented as Part II of the 1871 Criminal Tribes Act in certain parts of North India and was then extended to other regions of British India.37 The Act was informed by a deep-rooted belief in the need to regiment hereditary criminal groups in India, and thus played an important role in the civilising mission.38 The crimes allegedly committed by ‘eunuch’ groups that made them suspect to colonial rulers included the kidnapping of young boys in order to ‘make the boys eunuchs forcibly and for the vilest purpose’, sexual immorality, and dressing in female attire in public places, all of which threatened colonial gender structures.39 The colonial portrayal of ‘eunuchs’ as criminal and violent collectives was predicated on the assumption that, in order to ensure the survival of their ‘class’,40 they had to emasculate the young boys that they had kidnapped, which added a further stereotype of the violent Oriental to 100

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the large pool of similar stereotypes. Colonial hysteria also assumed that ‘eunuchs’ indulged in ‘unnatural vices’, oversaw an ‘organised system of sodomitical prostitution’, and were responsible for the ‘frightful demoralization’ of the native public in general.41 The colonial state invested a great deal of time and money to registering ‘eunuchs’ and to restricting their movements as well as their modes of occupation, and used the scrutinising gaze of the police, especially in the bigger cities of Delhi, Amritsar, Lucknow, Lahore, and Peshawar.42 There were nightly raids to prove the criminality of the ‘eunuchs’, and their main sources of income (‘begging and dancing in the streets’) were outlawed, which left many impoverished.43 Their cross-dressing habits were also made illegal, thereby constricting a key marker of ‘eunuch’ identity.44 Medical knowledge was created to understand the supposedly Indian institution of ‘eunuchism’, since colonial officials such as magistrates and police officers struggled in their daily administration to determine who counted as a ‘eunuch’. One criterion was the absence of genitalia; another, impotency.45 Thus, there were medical interventions regarding the bodies of ‘eunuchs’ – for example, when attempts were made to establish impotence in medical terms. In his study on ‘eunuchs’ in colonial West India, for example, Preston found evidence that they had been subjected to experiments involving prostitutes in order for impotence to be established.46 But such medical procedures provided no clear answers, and colonial medical knowledge was largely unable to help the state implement unified and clear procedures in defining and registering ‘eunuchs’. District officials therefore favoured fuzzy moral categories over medical categories. The legal criminalisation of alleged ‘eunuchs’ nevertheless saw the taxonomical colonial regime intervening extensively regarding the bodies of ‘eunuchs’, and thereby disrupting their lives violently while ascribing inherently violent characteristics to those same bodies.

Gendered violence in colonial penal institutions: ‘unnatural vice’ and the Indian cubicle Same-sex relationships in colonial prisons and penal settlements posed a problem of order and discipline for the colonial regime, which claimed that these very institutions reformed the unruly Indian subject.47 Thus, the colonial penal regime was also concerned with developing technologies of discipline for difficult prisoners, a category that also included ‘sodomites’. Given the spatial layout of most Indian prisons and the absence of cells for solitary confinement, it was impossible to control ‘morally suspect’ prisoners, and especially so during the night. This caused considerable anxiety amongst colonial officials, who complained that Indian prisons were ‘training schools of vice and crime’,48 and that the ‘insufficiently guarded ward at night’ would lead to ‘the perputation [sic] of sodomy’.49 This of course ran counter to the civilising mission of an enlightened colonial regime. 101

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The obvious solution would have been to introduce a system of solitary cells. But, in the light of the ‘very many demands on the limited resources of the Indian Exchequer’,50 this solution was deemed too expensive by the colonial regime. After much controversy surrounding this architectural shortcoming of the Indian prison system, colonial officials developed the so-called Indian cubicle in the 1890s,51 which was a cage-like iron construction made of wire netting with galvanised iron partitions. This cubicle was designed to be built into the wards where the prisoners slept, and allowed the male prisoners to be separated during the night, thereby preventing ‘the moral contamination of the less hardened by the more depraved prisoners’.52 As a cheaper alternative to the system of solitary cells, and as a measure that promised ‘more deterrent effects than anything else in repressing crime’,53 the cubicle was at first greeted with much enthusiasm, with the central authorities highlighting the importance of ‘the speedy provision of cubicles’ to all Indian prisons.54 While the system of cubicles was in fact only introduced slowly, as their construction and installation proved expensive and their effectiveness was disputed, the cubicle became reality for many prisoners in mainland Indian prisons. In most prisons, however, the few cubicles available were reserved for juvenile prisoners and ‘those prisoners who [were] known, or [were] believed, to be addicted to immorality’.55 However, critics of the Indian cubicle pointed to the risk that it posed, arguing that ‘the health of the convicts is likely to suffer’.56 The cubicles were of such a size that prisoners could neither stand nor sit in them and, due to the solid iron partition between the cubicles that was intended to prevent ‘immoral practices’ and corrupting talk during the night, there was no proper ventilation. Some officials also pointed out that these partitions ‘considerably increase the temperature’ and are ‘injurious to the health of the prisoners’.57 Hygiene was also an issue in wards with cubicles, and some officials were alarmed at the danger to prisoners posed by fire, and especially at the ‘grave risk .  .  . that the unlocking arrangements might fail’.58 During hotter seasons, the iron bars of the cubicles became unbearably hot, leaving scars on the skin of the prisoners confined in them. The cubicle system was abandoned in the 1920s,59 but its history demonstrates the resourcefulness of the colonial regime in developing technologies to discipline ‘morally suspect’ prisoners, technologies that included painful forms of bodily intervention.

The phantasm of the murderous sodomite in the Andaman penal settlement The penal institutions were also laboratories in which theories about the violent inclinations of sexually ‘deviant’ men were developed. Drawing on rather dubious murder statistics that often stated that ‘sodomy’ had been 102

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the motivation for the murder, colonial officials in the penal settlement on the Andaman Islands linked murders committed to sexual desire between men, feelings of jealousy, and an alleged proclivity of the men concerned for interpersonal violence.60 The 1890 report by CJ Lyall and surgeon-major AS Lethbridge on the working of the penal settlement of Port Blair thus stated that ‘[i]t has already been found necessary in the cause of morality, and for the purpose of preventing murderous assaults, to separate the younger prisoners who are known to be habitually given to unnatural offences’.61 The spatial layout and organisational form of the penal settlement allowed scope for forbidden activities; this was especially the case during working hours, when convicts were sent into the woods and fields, often accompanied only by fellow convict warders. The recommendation to separate suspect prisoners was therefore impossible to implement. Colonial officials working in the penal settlement used the colonial archive to record narratives of sexual ‘deviance’ and its connection to violent behaviour. The archive reveals an astonishing tendency and readiness amongst colonial judges to cite jealousy between male lovers as a motive for murder. Sometimes used as explanations for a murderous attack were also the notion of a romantic love affair and fits of jealousy. Judges also occasionally made vague reference to economic motivations behind these supposedly romantic partnerships, which could have been interpreted as various forms of prostitution, and to the existence of sexual violence between the respective prisoners, but they did not elaborate on these elements. One striking example is the murder trial of Apser Ali in 1916. Apser Afsar Ali came to Port Blair in 1907 having been found guilty of murder under section 303 of the IPC. He rose to the rank of petty officer in the penal settlement but was sentenced to death by the additional sessions judge for murdering another prisoner, a Burmese man called San Byu. What is relevant about this specific case is that it reveals the limited power of surveillance available to the colonial regime on the Andaman Islands as well as its problematic policy with regard to convict warders and labour overseers. Apser Ali killed his subordinate San Byu ‘in the forests in the Middle Andamans where they were working, on the 21st September’ because the ‘deceased refused to allow him [Apser Ali] to commit sodomy with him’.62 This narrative suggests that the offender believed that his position as petty officer allowed him to extract sexual favours from his subordinates. Meanwhile, the colonial regime depended on, and gave a great deal of freedom to, these petty officers who were in charge of small labour gangs at the margins of the penal settlement (in this case, in the secluded forests in the Middle Andamans) and who generated economic profit for their colonial masters. One could argue that the colonial regime was complicit in these sexually charged and murderous assaults, since it was responsible for creating asymmetrical relations between prisoners and was also willing to compromise on surveillance when it served an economic purpose.63 There is, however, no hint of 103

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self-criticism in the murder files. Instead, the accusation of sodomy alone is enough to explain the occurrence of murder, even when the accusation was difficult to prove. The judge responsible, JB Leach, mentioned contradictory testimonies in his judgment, but disregarded disagreements over the cause of the murder by explaining rather presumptuously that prisoners ‘are usually very reticent about such matters’.64 Apser Ali’s petition was finally rejected in December 1916, and he was hanged. The file was then closed, with the final remark that the ‘motive seems certainly to have been sodomy’.65 The frequency of murders in a supposedly reformative domain such as the penal colony caused anxiety amongst colonial officials, since it called into question the penal regime’s power to discipline. Linking these manifold cases of murder to dissident sexual behaviour can therefore be interpreted as a colonial strategy to portray sexually ‘deviant’ Indian males as intrinsically violent and thereby to shift the blame for this scandalous, insecure, and potentially unlawful state of affairs in the Andamans from the colonisers to the supposedly debauched and irredeemably native criminal Other.

Jail discipline and the mimicry of sexual violence Competing ideas of colonial control and of mechanisms of discipline in the penal institutions, as well as the lack of surveillance, left room in the late nineteenth century for colonial prison officials to pursue their own strategies for disciplining unruly subjects. These unofficial forms of punishment within the prisons were often exceptionally violent.66 Every once in a while they caused scandal within official circles, particularly if they caused the death of a prisoner. Unofficial punishments sometimes mimicked acts of sexual otherness and gender ambivalence such as cross-dressing practices, but they also sometimes mimicked sexual violence, too. In one such case in July 1868, the superintendent of the Rawalpindi prison in the province of Punjab, medical officer Dr Lyons, had an enema administered to the prisoner Meer Baz because he thought that the prisoner was pretending to be sick in order to avoid work. The prisoner died.67 This resulted in an enquiry that involved both provincial and central government officials. The report of the committee paints a picture of a colonial penal institution in which the prisoner’s punishment was merged with medical activity, shame, and corporeal violence. Dr Lyons claimed in the report that the enema had been administered for medical reasons only, and that ‘the idea of the enema being regarded as an official punishment never entered [his] mind’. However, other statements illustrate that the enema had been administered ‘in Dr Lyons’ presence by the native doctor Nutta Sing and the hospital dresser Mahomed-Buksh’, and it had been administered in a very public manner ‘in the open yard outside the cells in the presence of a number of bystanders’.68 The enquiry report highlights the apparent publicness of the medical act and states that 104

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the enema should have been administered ‘with due regard to privacy’ in ‘the hospital, and not even [in] a solitary cell, or a barrack, much less [in] an open yard’.69 The enquiry committee concluded its report by excoriating ‘Dr Lyons’ disregard of ordinary decency’, which is ‘deserving of grave animadversion’,70 while secretary to the government of Punjab, Thornton, emphasised the ‘needless and improper aggravation of the patient’s feelings’.71 The statements in the file show that the administration of the enema was less an act of medical necessity and more a corporeal punishment designed to mimic rectal rape and therefore to humiliate the prisoner in front of his peers. The report of the committee of enquiry conveys the sexualised nature of the punishment by highlighting its public execution and the superintendent’s goal of evoking shame in Meer Baz. Dr Lyons himself stated that he knew that ‘natives have a prejudice against it [an enema]’,72 and the report criticises him for not taking into consideration native sensibilities. The colonial presumption of Indian otherness becomes apparent in the enquiry’s attempt to uncover knowledge about a specific (and not universal) dislike of enemas amongst ‘Natives’ by interviewing medical practitioners about their views on the subject. The opinions of the medical experts suggested that ‘every class of Native dislikes it [an enema] excessively’,73 and that having an enema ‘causes a feeling of shame’.74 It is in this context that the report also raises questions of ethnic and religious peculiarity by assuming a specific repulsion for enemas amongst ‘Pathans, and indeed [among] Mahomedans generally’.75 The evocation of Pathan and Muslim idiosyncrasies points to a late nineteenth century trope that linked male Pathans to alternative sexualities considered dubious by the colonial regime.76 The enquiry also discovered that Dr Lyons had previously used other methods of shaming to punish ‘unruly’ prisoners, such as having male prisoners dress in women’s clothes and having them parade on the back of a donkey in front of the other prisoners. The report describes these occurrences as ‘extraordinary punishments . . . with a view to subjecting the persons punished to ridicule and disgrace’.77 But the report does not allude to the apparently gendered nature of the punishments. The incident surrounding Meer Baz’s death demonstrates that there were several ways of using gendered shaming and violence to punish Indian prisoners in the colonial penal regime.

Conclusion Following Sinha’s appeal to treat masculinity itself as a historical problem, I have analysed in this chapter several instances of violent interaction between the colonial state in British India and subaltern male and transgender ‘deviants’.78 One could argue that the examples chosen were marginal to the larger colonial narrative as they targeted only a small number of colonial 105

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subjects, but they nevertheless offer relevant insights into colonial moral ideology and its dependency on the use of force and violence. The will to know and rule colonial subjects generated ambivalent constellations in which the colonial regime portrayed Indian masculinity as sexually dubious and inherently violent, but itself intervened in violent ways into the lives and bodies of male ‘deviants’.

Notes * The author would like to thank the organisers and audience at the conference ‘Gender and Violence in Historical and Contemporary Perspectives’ that was held at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi in September 2015, where a preliminary version of this chapter was presented. The research for this chapter was made possible through funding from Heidelberg University. The author would also like to thank Rafael Klöber for his helpful comments on the chapter. 1 By placing quotation marks around ‘sexually deviant’ men, I want to problematise the British colonial logic that classified every non-heterosexual, non-monogamous instance of sexual behaviour as ‘sexually deviant’, a category that included diverse forms of sexual and biological identities such as transvestism, transgenderism, same-sex behaviour (that is, men who have sex with men), but also bestiality and non-consensual sexual relations between grown men and young boys. All of these forms of non-heteronormative behaviour were grouped together in colonial bureaucratic language in categories such as ‘sodomy’, ‘immoral behaviour’, and ‘unnatural vice’. These terms were also used globally in the late nineteenth century. The problematic conflation of consensual and non-consensual sexual relations is already apparent in this imprecise and negative nomenclature. Jeffrey Weeks, Sex, Politics and Society: The Regulation of Sexuality since 1800, London: Longman, 1981; Joseph Bristow, Sexuality, New Delhi: Routledge, 2007. 2 Steven Pierce and Anupama Rao, ‘Discipline and the Other Body: Humanitarianism, Violence, and the Colonial Exception’, in Steven Pierce and Anupama Rao (eds.), Discipline and the Other Body: Correction, Corporeality, Colonialism, Durham: Duke University Press, 2006, pp. 1–35; Jürgen Osterhammel and Jan Jansen, Kolonialismus. Geschichte, Formen, Folgen, München: Beck, 2012, pp. 45–60; Frederick Cooper, Kolonialismus denken. Konzepte und Theorien in kritischer Perspektive, Frankfurt am Main: Campus, 2007, pp. 69–105. 3 This form of scholarship has resulted in studies that shed light on very abstract and symbolic forms of violent disruption in the lives of colonial subjects. Bernard S. Cohn, Colonialism and Its Form of Knowledge: The British in India, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1996; Edward Said, Orientalism: Western Conceptions of the Orient, London: Penguin Books, 1995. 4 Steven Pierce and Anupama Rao (eds.), Discipline and the Other Body: Correction, Corporeality, Colonialism, Durham: Duke University Press, 2006. 5 Thomas R. Metcalf, Ideologies of the Raj, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998. 6 Kumkum Sangari (ed.), Recasting Women: Essays in Colonial History, New Delhi: Kali for Women, 1989. 7 Mrinalini Sinha, ‘Giving Masculinity a History: Some Contributions from the Historiography of Colonial India’, Gender and History, 1999, 11(2): 445–460; Mrinalini Sinha, Colonial Masculinity: The ‘Manly Englishman’ and the ‘Effeminate Bengali’ in the Late Nineteenth Century, New Delhi: Kali for Women, 1995;

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8

9 10

11

12

13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31

Ishita Pande, ‘Sorting Boys and Men: Unlawful Intercourse, Boy-Protection, and the Child Marriage Restraint Act in Colonial India’, The Journal of the History of Childhood and Youth, 2013, 6(2): 332–358; Jessica Hinchy, ‘Troubling Bodies: “Eunuchs”, Masculinity and Impotence in Colonial North India’, South Asia History and Culture, 2013, 4(2): 196–212. For a history of the colonial campaign against the so-called criminal tribes, see Clare Anderson, Legible Bodies: Race, Criminality and Colonialism in South Asia, Oxford: Berg, 2004; Meena Radhakrishna, Dishonoured by History: Criminal Tribes and British Colonial Policy, New Delhi: Orient Longman, 2008. Nicholas Dirks, The Scandal of Empire: India and the Creation of Imperial Britain, New Delhi: Permanent Black, 2006. For an insight into the legal history of British India, see Radhika Singha, A Despotism of Law: Crime and Justice in Early Colonial India, New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1998; Elisabeth Kolsky, Colonial Justice in British India: White Violence and the Rule of Law, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010. For an analysis of section 377 of the IPC and the recent attempt to decriminalise the cases involving consenting adults, see Arvin Narrain and Gautam Bhan (eds.), Because I Have a Voice: Queer Politics in India, New Delhi: Yoda Press, 2005, pp. 40–48. Elizabeth Kolsky, ‘The Body Evidencing the Crime: Rape on Trial in Colonial India’, Gender & History, 2010, 22(1): 109–130; Jenny Sharpe, ‘The Unspeakable Limits of Rape: Colonial Violence and Counter-Insurgency’, Genders, 1991, 10: 25–46; Ishita Pande, ‘Phulmoni’s Body: The Autopsy, the Inquest and the Humanitarian Narrative of Child Rape in India’, South Asian History and Culture, 2013, 4(1): 9–30. A ‘peculiar focus on the rape of children’ in this case helped the colonial regime to portray a universal form of sexual crime as a ‘seemingly exotic phenomenon’. Pande, Phulmoni’s Body, pp. 10–11. National Archive of India (NAI), Home, Port Blair, File 57–65(B), 1916. Ibid. Chokra is used in South Asia as a derogatory term for a boy, especially one employed as a servant. In the context of the judgment, it also has a sexual connotation. NAI, Home, Port Blair, File 57–65(B), 1916. Ibid. Ibid. Ibid. The involvement of the colonial state and non-governmental organisations in the project of reforming juveniles and ‘criminal tribes’ is noteworthy in this context. Pande, Phulmoni’s Body, p. 12. Kolsky, The Body Evidencing the Crime, p. 111. NAI, Foreign, Frontier, File 12–20(A), 1907. Ibid., p. 7. Ibid., Appendix, p. 4. Emphases added. Ibid., Appendix, pp. 3–4. Ibid., p. 8. Anjali Arondekar, For the Record: On Sexuality and the Colonial Archive in India, Durham and London: Duke University Press, 2009, p. 12. NAI, Foreign, Frontier, File 12–20(A), 1907, p. 9. Ibid., p. 8. NAI, Foreign, Internal, File 111–12(B), 1903, Judgment, p. 1. For an extensive analysis of this trial and its implications for changes in the colonial medico-legal regime, see Manju Ludwig, ‘Britische Sittlichkeitsreform und das “Laster wider die Natur” imkolonialenIndien’, in Jana Tschurenev and Judith Große (eds.),

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32 33 34 35 36 37

38 39 40

41 42 43 44 45 46 47

48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57

Biopolitik und Sittlichkeitsreform. Kampagnen gegen Alkohol, Drogen und Prostitution, 1880–1950, Frankfurt am Main: Campus, 2014, pp. 297–300. Ibid.; my emphasis. Ibid., p. 2; my emphasis. In the context of child marriage, the question of consent was intrinsically linked to the age of the girls and boys concerned: Pande, Sorting Boys and Men, p. 334. For a historical analysis of juvenile criminality in British India, see Satadru Sen, ‘A Separate Punishment: Juvenile Offenders in Colonial India’, The Journal of Asian Studies, 2004, 63(1): 81–104. NAI, Home, Jails, File 20–37(A), 1900. NAI, Home, Port Blair, File 1–3, 1880. NAI, Home, Judicial, File 159–61(A), 1877. There are multiple and more precise terms for third gender or transgender individuals and groups that this British moral campaign targeted. Colonial officials consequently used the term ‘eunuch’, albeit for diverse gender identities. They excluded alternative gender identities outside the male-female binary and consequently portrayed Indian ‘eunuchs’ as examples of failed Indian masculinity. Hinchy, Troubling Bodies, p. 197. Harald Fischer-Tiné and Michael Mann, Colonialism as Civilizing Mission: Cultural Ideology in British India, London: Anthem Press, 2004. NAI, Home, Judicial, File 55–59(A), 1870. The inclusion of ‘eunuchs’ under a separate part (Part II) in the CTA can be explained by the fact that, in the eyes of the colonial state, ‘eunuchs’ constituted not a ‘tribe’ but a ‘class’. This term was fuzzy enough to include various heterogeneous groups. Ibid. Punjab Archives Lahore (PAL), Home, Judicial, File 22(A), 1871. For a detailed history of Part II, Criminal Tribes Act and the role of native agency in it, see Ludwig, Britische Sittlichkeitsreform, pp. 300–309. U.P. State Archives, Lucknow (UPSAL), Home, Judicial (Criminal), Proceedings 1–2, 1884. Hinchy, Troubling Bodies, p. 197. For an extensive analysis, see Hinchy, Troubling Bodies, pp. 196–212. Laurence Preston, ‘A Right to Exist: Eunuchs and the State in Nineteenth-Century India’, Modern Asian Studies, 1987, 21(2): 375. For a history of the colonial prison in India, see David Arnold, ‘The Colonial Prison: Power, Knowledge and Penology in 19th-Century India’, in David Arnold and David Hardiman (eds.), Subaltern Studies VIII, New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1994, pp. 148–187. Dr Mouat, inspector-general of prisons for the lower provinces of Bengal, Report for 1866–67 as cited in Mary Carpenter, Six Months in India. Volume 2, London: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1868, p. 212. NAI, Home, Judicial, File 55–72(A), 1869. NAI, Home, Judicial, File 22(B), 1868. NAI, Home, Jails, File 61–91, 1898. Ibid. Two competing patents for cubicles existed in the 1890s – one cubicle designed by the superintendent of the Alipore central prison, Leonard, and one by P. Donaldson, the superintendent of the Calcutta presidency prison. NAI, Home, Jails, File 11–92, 1896. NAI, Home, Jails, File 72–100, 1896. NAI, Home, Jails, File 127–29, 1899. NAI, Home, Jails, File 61–91, 1898. Ibid.

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58 NAI, Home, Jails, File 20–37(A), 1900. 59 N.A., Report of the Indian Jails Committee, 1919–1920, Volume I. Report and Appendices, Simla: Governmental Central Press, 1920. 60 This passage draws on a previously published article: Manju Ludwig, ‘Murder in the Andamans: A Colonial Narrative of Sodomy, Jealousy and Violence’, South Asia Multidisciplinary Academic Journal, 2013, http://samaj.revues.org/3633 (accessed on 22 June 2017), pp. 5–8. For a history of the penal settlement, see Satadru Sen, Disciplining Punishment: Colonialism and Convict Society in the Andaman Islands, New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2000; Aparna Vaidik, Imperial Andamans: Colonial Encounter and Island History, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010. 61 NAI, Home, Port Blair, File 74–78(A), 1890. 62 NAI, Home, Port Blair, File 17–20(B), 1916. 63 The system of prisoner warders was criticised in the 1920s. One official pointed to a correlation between the high number of Pathans in these positions and the frequency of same-sex activity in Indian prisons, reinforcing the colonial stereotype that certain ethnicities had a proclivity for ‘sodomy’: ‘Among these convict officials we have noticed a large number of men from the Frontier districts, who are generally described as Pathans. They are useful men, according to some jail officials, but we have no doubt that for most of the down country prisoners they are a great source of trouble and are largely, though not entirely, responsible for the existence of abominable and unnatural practices in the Jails’. N.A., Report of the Jails Enquiry Committee, 1925, Lahore: Government Printing, 1926. Even though the file concerning the murder case of Apser Ali defines him as ‘Mohammedan’, it could be argued that his name points to a possible colonial classification as ‘Pathan’, too. 64 NAI, Home, Port Blair, File 17–20(B), 1916. 65 Ibid. 66 Legal historians have shown that the framework of the colonial legal system that differentiated between European and Indian offenders opened up opportunities for violent behaviour towards Indian subordinates such as servants and plantation workers. Kolsky, Colonial Justice, 2010; Anupama Rao, ‘Problems of Violence, States of Terror: Torture in Colonial India’, in Steven Pierce and Anupama Rao (eds.), Discipline and the Other Body: Correction, Corporeality, Colonialism, Durham: Duke University Press, 2006, pp. 151–185. 67 PAL, Home, Judicial, File 12(A), 1869. The colonial officials discuss in the file whether the actual cause of death can be attributed to the administering of the enema or whether it was peritonitis that caused the prisoner’s death: ‘The serious question which we have now to consider is, whether the prisoner’s death resulted either directly or indirectly from the administration of the enema’. Ibid. 68 Ibid. 69 Ibid. 70 Ibid. 71 Ibid. 72 Ibid. 73 Ibid. 74 Ibid. 75 Ibid. 76 Ludwig, Murder in the Andamans, pp. 8–10. See also Pathanquotation on p. 4 and footnote 60. 77 PAL, Home, Judicial, File 12(A), 1869. 78 Sinha, Giving Masculinity a History, pp. 445–460.

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5 SATI, CHILD WIVES, AND PROSTITUTES Constituting violence and criminality in colonial India Jyoti Atwal

Two historical stereotypes of Hindu wives connect gender history and gender relations in contemporary India. One is that of Savitri, who brings back the husband from the clutches of the God of Death (yama).1 The other is the Sati (meaning the chaste one), who perishes along with her husband in his funeral pyre or even years after his death. Death and pain were textually represented as important subtexts of a Hindu wife’s identity – where perishing and pain were seen as essential components. All three Acts – Sati Act of 1829, Age of Consent Act of 1891(amended as Child Marriage Restraint Act in 1929), and 1933 Immoral Traffic Act share a logical chronology. They shared certain common concerns, which involved the woman’s body, such as – virginity, puberty, menstruation, and consummation.2 The latter was framed mostly by concerns around social and moral hygiene.3 Sati and child marriage debates in the 19th century were based on the interpretations and applicability of the Hindu shastras and puranas. The supporters as well as opponents adopted this very style and conducted shastrarth or the shastric debates. These texts were to govern laws on Hindu women’s succession, adoption, and property rights in independent India. What indeed unites these Acts is the State’s (both colonial and in independent India) concern with heinous cases of violence on women. Rajeshwari Sunder Rajan has pointed out that the State’s commitment to secularism, interpreted as protection of the freedom of religious space, conflicts with another constitutional guarantee, that of the right to life to women.4

Sati and Jauhar: traditional glorification of death As early as 1805, after consultation with the Pundits of the Court, it was reported by the Register of the Nizamat Adawlat (the chief criminal court of appeal in the Bengal jurisdiction) that in the event of the practice: 110

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being forced on a widow, or of her being desirous of retracting it, or of her being in a state of intoxication or stupefaction as also in the case of her youth, or her being in a state of pregnancy which would render the intended act illegal, it will be the duty of the police officer to take necessary measures to prevent her being burned with her husband’s body; apprising the relations, or other persons concerned, that they will be dealt with as criminals if they take further steps towards effecting of their criminal and illegal design.5 Apart from the fact of numbers of low-caste Sati and poverty, what is remarkable is that the Parliamentary Papers carry details of the lower caste widows being different in their way of performing Sati. For example, clause XI of the Circular Order of 1817 observed that books of the Shastras direct the widow to ascend the funeral pile of her husband after fire has been applied to it by the son of the deceased; and the reason assigned is that the son would otherwise be guilty of the crime of matricide. The same mode is also practiced by persons of the shudra (low-caste) in Benaras and the Western Provinces. This was a major anomaly as the culture of the Hindus was being read too textually in a reductive manner. The colonial knowledge of the Hindu texts led to a tension where the culture of majority of the low-caste population of India was being understood as variation of the brahmanical customs. Sati was not merely ‘a sadistic sport of the Bengali babus’ as has been pointed out by some scholars.6 As per the Parliamentary Papers (Houses of Commons), Sati was obviously a well-established practice in Western Bengal India and parts of present day Uttar Pradesh.7 Sati in fact continues to overshadow the feminist scholarship on historical dimensions of violence on Hindu women. Other traditionally violent practices such as jauhar does not capture attention of the feminist historians. The Sati Prevention Act of 1987 like the 1829 Sati Prevention Act was passed after much debate and caution. Despite a successful all-India ban on Sati since colonial times, the year 1987 turned out to be eventful. A newly wed 18-year-old Roopkanwar, from Deorala village in Rajasthan, committed Sati along with her husband’s body (sahamarana). Following this, feminist groups from all over India petitioned to legally ban the worshipping/glorification of Sati. Such practices, they argued, would reinforce patriarchal stereotypes about regressive cultural codes. Under the Central Government Act, the Commission of Sati (Prevention) Act of 19878 declared that the ‘glorification’, in relation to Sati, whether such Sati was committed before or after the commencement of this Act, includes, amongst other things: (i) the observance of any ceremony or the taking out of a procession in connection with the commission of sati; or 111

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(ii) the supporting, justifying or propagating the practice of sati in any manner; or (iii) the arranging of any function to eulogise the person who has committed sati; or (iv) the creation of a trust, or the collection of funds, or the construction of a temple or other structure or the carrying on of any form of worship or the performance of any ceremony thereat, with a view to perpetuate the honour of, or to preserve the memory of, a person who has committed sati. Notwithstanding anything contained in the Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860), if any person commits sati, whoever abets the commission of such sati, either directly or indirectly, shall be punishable with death or imprisonment for life and shall also be, liable to fine. Over the years, several factors have led to the success of abolition of Sati as a religious practice. Some of them are: fear of punishment; rise in the level of women’s education; efforts of the women’s associations towards training younger women in handicrafts, vocational skills, etc.; and most importantly the emergence of women as significant economic entities in both rural and urban India. Despite the positive indicators – tradition, memory, and identity play a major role in recasting gender roles in contemporary India. A powerful terrain of discussion on gender and violence in India is the cinematic representation of gender relations. A day before the republic day on January 26, 2018, a controversial film by Sanjay Leela Bhansali, called Padmaavat, was released. Padmaavat is originally an epic composed by medieval Sufi poet Malik Muhammad Jayasi in 1540 AD. It centres on queen of Chittor named Padmavati, who was coveted by Delhi’s sultan Alauddin Khilji, known for his military conquests across India and strong market regulations in the capital to keep the prices of articles in control. Besotted by Padmavati’s beauty, Khilji attacked and captured the Fort of Chittor in 1306. Thereafter, in order to ‘preserve’ the honour of her caste and community, Padmavati performed jauhar (ritual of self-immolation, often committed as a mass immolation ceremony) along with other courtly women who lost their husbands in the battle. Historically Alauddin Khilji and Padmavat of Jayasi are separated by 224 years, but what dominates the Rajput memory is this queen whose ‘brave’ act of self-immolation ‘saved’ their honour. Three months prior to the release of the film, protests began by Rajput Karni Sena demanding that certain scenes were disrespectful to their immortalised Hindu Rajput queen, Padmavati. They claimed that she has been highly respected for her devotion to her husband, King Ratansen Singh. She has been since then upheld as the icon of Rajput honour in cultural memory. Invasions by Central Asian Islamic groups created a power crisis amongst the Hindu kingdoms that existed in medieval India. However there is plenty 112

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of historical evidence to suggest that Hindus and Muslims often negotiated power relations through treaties and settlements in the economic and political interest of their people. Marriages were also part of the diplomatic policy. The European encounter also marked gender violence and patriarchal cultural realignments.9 The promotional trailers showed Padmavati performing the traditional Rajasthani ‘ghoomar’ dance. Karni sena protested against showing her as an ordinary woman. They claimed that for the Rajputs she was tantamount to a glorified mother, who was sacrosanct.10 It is rather interesting that in 1963, when Chittor Rani Padmini, a Tamil-language historical fiction film written by C.V. Sridharand directed by Ch. Narayana Murthy was released, similar critique came from the Hindu right-wing Rajputs. Stereotyping of the Hindu wife’s role in the preservation of community honour, her commitment to the husband, and her zeal to self-immolate upon his death have been important components of sexual politics in the history of India. Ironically, notwithstanding the conservative group’s critique of the film, stereotypes have been reproduced within the 2018 Padmaavat. In contemporary India where State and NGO sector projects go full steam ahead to save the girl child and to protect girls from rape and family violence,11 cinematic celebration of the historical Rajput practice of jauhar seems to be a case of misplaced valour. Rather than dying to preserve honour, the widow could have been shown to possess the courage to live honourably. Sati Prevention Act of 1987 empowers the State to prohibit the glorification of Sati. Clause 5 lays down that Whoever does any act for the glorification of sati shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than one year but which may extend to seven years and with fine which shall not be less than five thousand rupees but which may extend to thirty thousand rupees.12 In fact glorification of Sati or Jauhar in any representational form is also legitimising violence in present day society.

Child marriage and rape: question of consent It is significant to explore the debate on child marriage initiated by B.M. Malabari in the late nineteenth century. He proposed a bill to arrest the progress of infant marriage and enforced widowhood in India in 1884. He was dissatisfied with the Hindu widow’s Remarriage Act of 1856 and pointed out how it had remained a dead letter. There were clear linkages between early marriage and brutalities of traditionally enforced widowhood, which needed to be dealt with. Rather than simply ‘enable’ a widow to remarry, child marriages also needed to be banned. Malabari claimed that ‘at present 113

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there is a struggle between caste and the code’ and that ‘caste is more potent in its secret persecution that was the inquisition of Spain’.13 A widow of age nine was expected to perform the same rituals of widowhood as a widow of age 30 or 40. This included waterless fasting, tonsuring, and living in seclusion from all festivals and social gatherings. There was another deep concern over the ‘immoral’ life of widowhood, which prompted widows to murder their illegitimate new born. The debate on social reform snowballed into a campaign in favour of widow remarriage and against child marriage in the early twentieth century. Reformist category was wide-ranging and included women with feminist perspectives. Padma Anagol counters the current historiography by arguing that if Indian patriarchy felt under siege during the Age of Consent (1891) controversy, it can only be explained by the threat posed by women’s agency.14 The All India Conference of medical men held at Calcutta in 1928 resolved that in the interest of the child and the health of the mother, any union between men under 20 years and women under 16 years of age was undesirable on scientific grounds. In the King Edward Memorial Hospital at Poona, out of 1650 cases of pregnancy below 30 years of age in 3 years,6.26% were below 16 years complete. Those who became pregnant at this early age, 31% had abortions or premature labour, 17.8% showed some abnormality such as death of foetus, prolonged illness of mother after confinement, perineal tear.15 Many interesting cases featured in the Malabari Papers. One of them was set in Dharwad district of Western India, where a daughter of a rich merchant had become a widow.16 Shortly after the husband’s death, this girl conceived while she was residing in her parents’ house. The people in the village learnt about this pregnancy and, as a reaction, excommunicated the widow and her parents. The father visited a priest and paid him a bribe worth 5000–14000 rupees. Following this, the widow and her parents were readmitted into the caste. However the widow continued to be boycotted socially. This is testimony to the fact that upper caste widows who had ‘sinned’ could also be ‘brought’ back to society. The twentieth century saw more radicalised politics over community, caste, and widows. It was primarily the case of Phoolmani Dasi that intensified a debate on Age of Consent in 1891. The Indian Penal Code in 1846 had put forth the provision of making intercourse between husband and wife, below a given age, an offence. The IPC in 1860 included offence under rape and prescribed a punishment, which extended to transportation for life for the husband who consummated the marriage, when his wife was below 10 years of age. This law remained in force till the 1891 case took place. In this case from Bengal, a 10-year-old girl was raped by her husband. She bled and died as a consequence of rape. A bill was passed raising the age of consent to 12. It was meant to ‘protect the female children from immature prostitution and from premature cohabitation’.17 Public attention was directed towards 114

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health due to a demand for a sturdy class of Indians as a consequence of the First World War.18 The Age of Consent Report also claimed that Western and Ayurvedic practitioners considered 16 years to be the ideal age of marriage for girls. Active Indian political ambience and pressure created by women’s associations also led to the urgent resolution of traditional violence against women. According to the Lucknow Branch of the Lady Chelmsford Maternity and Red Cross Society Child Welfare League, out of a total number of 3160 pregnant women, 2.3% were below 16 years of age. They showed the highest percentage of abnormality at 35.75%. An elaborate field study of the maternal mortality rate and the various factors associated therewith was carried on by Dr Adisheshan, the Assistant Director of Public Health, Madras, and the histories of over 7000 confinement cases registered in Madras, Madura, Trichinopoly, and Coimbatore from 1927–1928. The maternal death rate in confinements investigated was 17.89% per 1000 births. In Europe the maternal death rate was far below India. It varied from 2.35% to 6.64%. Some of the responses of women to the Second Age of Consent Bill (Sharda Bill) are remarkable.19 Lady Ramabai Nilkanth, the Secy of the Gujarat Ladies Club, made it clear that she was in favour of fixing the minimum age at 16 for girls. She got a petition signed by 10,000 women. Ms Bhagwat, Principal of Women’s College and Hony Secy of Gujarat Women’s Conference, pointed out the illness and unhealthy life of child mothers. She mentions the case of a 13-year-old girl who had a very difficult labour and, although she survived, she could not conceive again. The debate on the Age of Consent also merged with the debate on rape outside marriage. A very interesting intervention came from Rameshwari Nehru.20 She was of the opinion that the differentiation on the basis of age was wrong and that the nature of injury should be made the criteria for punishment. In cases where no injuries were visible, the separation of husband and wife was necessary. The husband ought to pay a fine and the girl should be returned to the parents. In cases where serious injury was caused to the girl by the husband, a short-term imprisonment was necessary. In cases where the girl dies, the imprisonment could be for a much longer period. Rao Bahadur Pradhan cited three instances in which girls from 11 to 14 years old who had not attained puberty were forced to submit to sexual intercourse by their husbands. Sir Purushottamdas Thakurdas narrated an instance where he had witnessed the death of a 25-year-old woman. She died as result of paralysis, which struck her within 18 months of her marriage. She was married at 12 years to a man of 28 years. There were cases from all provinces in colonial India where girl wives had died of profuse haemorrhage.21 In keeping with the conservative view of husband’s rights over the wife’s body, rape outside marriage was condemned more intensively by the reformers. The husband, even while he had raped his wife, was responsible for fending her. By imprisoning the husband, the wife suffered the most as she seldom 115

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had a regular source of income or maintenance. Her claim to resources in her parents’ house was negligible. One of the arguments against raising the age of consent to 16 years for girls was based on the presumption that girls in India matured fast as compared to the European girls. The argument against this position was that in the status of Indian girls was such that they did not have the ‘Consenting Mind’.22 This was due to the lack of education and knowledge about their bodies. It was therefore the duty of the State to look after their welfare. The Child Marriage Restraint Act, 1929, brought in provisions for punishment for the male adult (21 years and above) who married a child. This punishment extended from simple imprisonment extending to three months and a fine. If the male was above 18 years of age but below 21, he was to be punished with simple imprisonment which could extend to 15 days, or with a fine which could extend to 1000 rupees, or with both. Punishment was also ascertained for those who solemnised a child marriage. Whosever performed, conducted, or directed any child marriage was to be punishable simple imprisonment which could extend up to three months and was liable to fine). There was punishment for parent or guardian concerned in a child marriage, which extended to three months and shall also be liable to fine. However women were excluded from this punishment. Under the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006, a ‘Child Marriage Prohibition Officer’ was appointed, for the purposes of preventing solemnisation of mass child marriages on certain days, such as Akshaya Trutiya. The District Magistrate is deemed to be the Child Marriage Prohibition Officer with all powers of a Child Marriage Prohibition Officer. The report looks at the laws relating to child marriage from various countries and the International Covenants that mandate the eradication of child marriage like CEDAW (The Convention On The Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women) and Conventions like the CRC (Convention on the Rights Of The Child), which makes it obligatory for states to protect children from all form for violence. After noting the changes to the Child Marriage Restraint Act, 1929, with reference to the age of marriage and age of consent for sexual intercourse and judgements which have upheld child marriage through the years, the report recommends that child marriage below 18 for both girls and boys should be prohibited and that marriages below the age of 16 be made void while those between 16 and 18 be made voidable. However, to ensure that young women and children are not left destitute the report recommends that provisions relating to maintenance and custody should apply to both void and voidable marriages. The report further recommended that the age for sexual consent should be 16 for all young girls, regardless of marriage. Registration of marriage was also made compulsory through this Act. 116

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There are some anomalies in the Age of Consent Act, which need to be checked. Recently a Mumbai court acquitted a 46-year-old man, observing that at the time of his crime (abduction and sex with girl below 16 years), consensual sex with a girl above 16 was not a crime.23 The girl was 17 years old in 1988. Under the current law, the age of consent for sexual intercourse is 18 years.

Social and moral concerns versus crime against prostitutes Through transformations in the politico-economic structure of Indian cities, the colonial State indirectly impacted prostitutes. Disappearance of old forms of patronage led to the impoverishment of prostitutes in general. The soldiers in cantonment areas emerged as their main clients. The Contagious Diseases Act of the 1860s, which aimed at regulation and registration of prostitutes, was repealed under pressure by Josephine Butler and her supporters in England. Around the late nineteenth century Delhi and Bombay saw the emergence of a class of ‘common prostitutes’, as opposed to the more traditional nautch girls and ‘keeps’ of the elite. The dwellings of common prostitutes came to be enmeshed with ‘other’ spaces of everyday life in cities such as Delhi. Legislation on prostitution from1911 to the end of the Second World War is highly significant. It involves three noticeable stages – toleration of brothels, their segregation, and finally their suppression/abolition. In Bombay in 1917 a case of brutal murder of a prostitute went through High Court for trial of a brothel keeper.24 This case reflects the extent of seclusion and violence, which the urban prostitute experienced while at the mercy of the brothel owners within the urban setting of Bombay. The case is a remarkable testimony to the miseries of a sex worker. Akootai was murdered to inculcate fear into the minds of other prostitutes who resided with Akootai. The extent of unchecked extreme power exercised by the brothel keepers was responsible for creating the miserable living conditions for prostitutes. The 1917 High Court murder case was named as ‘Emperor v. Syed Mirza’. Syed Khan Mirza, a Pathan, was the keeper of this brothel at Duncan road. Along with two other women – Gangabai and Gomtibai – he was charged with the murder of Akootai. In the inquiry report of local government and administrations there was a report on the condition of brothels in Bombay, which tried to look after whether evils similar to those disclosed in Bombay exist in their respective provinces. The report highlighted the fact that the Pathan keeper of a brothel in Duncan Road with two women who were his wife and daughter, were charged with the murder of one of the inmates of the house. The case closed with a death sentence for the man and the elder woman and transportation for life for the younger convict. 117

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The deposition of the police surgeon Arthur Powell25 was very crucial. He examined the dead body of Akootai at the Morgue on the February 21st. He found 18 large weals, which were caused by blow of a cane on the body. There were several large bruises on the legs, thighs, arms, back, head, and body. The fifth and sixth right ribs and the left rib were broken and death was due to these injuries. He stated that The legs buttocks and private parts were blackened by lunar caustic. Strong lunar caustic had been injected into the vagina and caused much swelling. There were stains of lunar caustic or the fingers of accused Nos. 1 and 2 whom I examined. When I held a post-mortem I found strong smell of onions or garlic in the contents of the stomach of the deceased. (Shown a yard measure) The weal marks that saw on the body could have been ‘inflicted by this yard measure.26 It is interesting to see that one of the source of power of the brothel keepers was their alternate activity as a moneylender. Phooli, Moti, Paru – each of them referred to the point in their statement that the reason they were bonded to Syed Mirza was because of the money they had borrowed from the brothel keeper. Phooli came under his control because of the 20 rupees she had borrowed from Mirza. She had remained there for seven months. In Paru’s case, Mirza paid off her debt to another man when she began working in the brothel; she had been enticed away from another brothel on Duncan Road by Mirza’s brother, who claimed he would keep her as his mistress. Moti was sold for 50 rupees to Mirza. Lingabai, who worked in another brothel, provided the information that she had borrowed ‘5 rupees from Syed Mirza at the rate of 4 annas as interest per month per rupee’ and that she had ‘paid the amount off 8–15 days before getting the liquor for Gangabai’. Thus these continuous references to money owed and repaid indicate the importance of debt in their lives. Social activist Labhshankar Laxmidas referred to the point that ‘They remain in bondage, or are passed from one unscrupulous exploiter of their misery to another who buys them with their debts’.27 The reference to the money owned and repaid is testimony to the helpless indebtedness of the prostitutes whose lives were reduced to that of a slave. The constant fear amongst the prostitutes to repay the debt created a burden on them to oblige this slave-like relationship to their masters. The British administrators looked down upon the Indians as wretched and unworthy of self-rule. The police administrators framed their response in such terms, with Police Commissioner F.A.M. Vincent declaring that they were ‘dealing with a class steeped in abysmal ignorance, people whose social and moral fabric is elemental, not to say barbaric’; the police force could not be expected to control this class with its ‘low state of evolution’.28 Legg has argued that colonial civil society and local administrations took on the

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role of ‘an ordering force’ to reclaim the city as a ‘space for sexual propriety’ (p. 42), notably based on statistics. By 1911, Delhi was reported to contain 405 prostitutes and 245 brothel houses. The public and the colonial apparatus, while discussing policies of segregation and abolition, also propped up varied ideas on how to rehabilitate and rescue prostitutes. These civic bodies involved residents and Central Social Services League, the YMCA, the Delhi Provincial Council for Women, the Delhi Women’s League, the All India Women’s Conference, and the British-based Association for Moral and Social Hygiene. In the case of Akootai, instead of focusing on the prevention policies, Vincent focuses on highlighting the ‘barbarity’ of Indians: a husband who abandoned his wife suffering from rabies at the door of a hospital and a women who died from burns inflicted by her husband. Some petitions were filed by local residents from Gandi Gali, Egerton Road, Khari Baori, Sadar Bazar, and Jama Masjid Square. The Punjab Municipal Act of 1911 was invoked to segregate prostitutes and prostitute homes and brothels were moved out to areas near slaughterhouses. Cases of violent murder of prostitutes from Burma and Bombay led to the implementation of the Suppression of Immoral Traffic Act (SITA) of 1933 in Burma, Bombay, Bengal, the United Provinces, Punjab, NWFP, and Delhi. The Association for Moral and Social Hygiene (AMSH) and the nationalist All India Women’s Conference differed in their methodology of reform and relief for rescued prostitutes. The latter believed that economic support could help eradicate prostitution, whereas the former argued for moral education. The all-India abolitionist campaign was led by a British imperialist feminist, Meliscent Shephard. She was appointed by the AMSH, which took pride in working as a naturally civilising international civil society monitoring colonial public health. Shephard also engaged in direct dialogue on abolitionism with Gandhi and Kamladevi Chattopadhaya, who both believed in reforming men rather than women. What was most crucial about these events was that since the nineteenth century, the space of the ‘Hindu family’ had been opened to public scrutiny. Gandhi in the 1930s and 1940s had to create a sanitised space for a committed non-violent freedom struggle.29 His strategy was not only to simply designate an ancient glory to the unit of ‘family’ but also to acknowledge an individual’s protest against his or her own family. In Katherine Mayo’s Mother India of 1927, the public discourse shifted its focus to the child marriage legislation of 1929, while for nationalists, the question of prostitutes came to be understood in the larger context of sick and suffering Indian women. This included child wives, widows, and abandoned women to women’s history by recovering processes and events that shaped dominant ideas on state reform and public morality in society primarily outside the domestic domain.

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In this regard, Ashwini Tambe’s research into prostitution in colonial India is a narrative of the way in which the international anti-trafficking discourse at the turn of the twentieth century incited a ‘moral panic’,30 constructing the European brothel workers as victims of ‘white slavery’. These white prostitutes were forcibly transported to brothels in colonies, an image central to the drafting of the League of Nations’ Convention against trafficking. The Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956 is the resultant Act, which provides in pursuance of the International Convention signed at New York on the May 9, 1950, for the prevention of human trafficking. The Act intends to combat trafficking and sexual exploitation for commercial purposes. While prostitution is not an offence, practicing it in a brothel or within 200m of any public place is illegal. To sum up, the enactment of Sati prevention Act, Child Marriage Restraint Act, and Immoral Traffic Prevention Act are landmarks in the history of gender and law. Even though the shastric injunctions were dominant during the colonial period, one gets a sense of manipulation of textual authority to argue in favour of reforms. Sugata Bose has argued that religious sensibility could in the late nineteenth century be compatible with a rational frame of mind and that colonised intellectuals sought alternative sources of escape from the oppressive present.31 These religiously informed universalisms created space for humanism and universalistic practices. The debate on the Child Marriage Act was successfully pushed outside the domain of scriptures once the issues of health and mother’s welfare took over. The prostitutes were clear entities outside the household and needed protection based on global notions of welfare. The local, national, and global converged to produce challenges to the imperialist notions of welfare.

Notes 1 The first known draft of Savitri by Aurobindo Ghose is dated 1916. It was conceived as a narrative poem by which by the early 1930s Savitri assumed the status of a magnum opus. It appeared in the journals of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram in 1946. Supplement to the Revised Edition of Savitri, Pondicherry: Sri Aurobindo Ashram, 1994. 2 Scholars have looked at how throughout the nineteenth century the Hindu woman’s body was visualised by the women missionaries through efforts to deal with diseases of childbirth. Janet Price and Margrit Shildrick, eds., ‘Mapping the Colonial Body: Sexual Economies and the State in Colonial India’, Feminist Theory and the Body: A Reader, ed. Janet Price and Margrit Shildrick, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1999, pp. 388–398. 3 Stephen Legg, Prostitution and the Ends of Empire: Scale, Governmentalities, and Interwar India, Durham: Duke University Press, 2014 and Phillipa Levine (ed.), Gender and Empire, Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2004. 4 Rajeshwari Sunder Rajan, Real and Imagined Women, Gender, Culture and Postcolonialism, London and New York: Routledge, 1993, pp. 16–17. I have also pointed out that the legislative and judicial debates and reports show there was a

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pervasive colonial mindset about the fact that criminalizing the act of Sati would also mean denying the ‘privilege’ of the widow to perform her religious obligation to prove her complete devotion to her deceased husband. Acting Register of the Nizamat Adawlat to George Dowdeswell, Secretary to Government in the Judicial Department, 5 June 1805, Extract Bengal Judicial Consultations, 5 December 1812, pp. 26–27, Papers Relating to East Indian Affairs viz. Hindoo Widows and Voluntary Immolations, House of Commons, Parliamentary Papers, July 1821. To underline the significant visibility of the practice in nineteenth century Nandy argues that Sati acquired a relative ‘modernity’. Ashis Nandy, ‘Sati: A Nineteenth Century Tale of Women, Violence and Protest’, in Rammohun Roy and the Process of Modernisation, ed. V. C. Joshi, New Delhi: Vikas Publishing, 1975. Also see Tanika Sarkar, ‘Holy “Fire Eaters”: Why Widow Immolation Became an Issue in Colonial Bengal’, in Rebels, Wives, Saints: Designing Selves and Nations in Colonial Times, Ranikhet: Permanent Black, 2009, pp. 13–68. Jyoti Atwal, ‘Foul Unhallow’d Fires’: Officiating Sati and the Colonial Hindu Widow in the United Provinces’, Studies in History, 29.2 (2013): 229–272. I have highlighted certain cases of child widows who were forced to become Sati by the relatives and onlookers. 21–3–1988, vide G.S.R. 359(E), dated 21 March 1988, published in the Gazette of India, Extra., Pt. II, Sec. 3(i), dated 21 March 1988. Jyoti Atwal, ‘Women, Violence and Portuguese Identity in the Seventeenth-Century European Narratives’, in India, the Portuguese and Maritime Interactions, ed. Pius Malekandathil, Lotika Varadarajan and Amar Farooqui, New Delhi: Primus, 2019, pp. 264–276. Idea of the Mother India had been well formed and integrated into the national life of Indians since the early twentieth century. See Jyoti Atwal, Real and Imagined Widows: Gender Relations in Colonial North India, New Delhi: Primus, 2016 and Sugato Bose, The Nation as Mother and Other Visions of Nationhood, India: Penguin Random House, 2017. Beti Bachao Beti Padao Scheme: Module for Master Trainers: A Module for Survival, Education and Empowerment of the Girl Child, Ministry of Women and Child Development, Government of India, January 2015 and Navdisha: National Thematic Workshop on Best Practices for Women and Child Development, Ministry of Women and Child Development, Government of India and Government of Haryana, 2015. 21–3–1988, vide G.S.R. 359(E), dated 21 March 1988, published in the Gazette of India, Extra., Pt. II, Sec. 3(i), dated 21 March 1988. Selections from the Records of the Government of India in the Home Department, No CCXXIII, Serial no. 3, Papers Relating to ‘Infant Marriage and Enforced Widowhood in India’, Calcutta, Superintendent of Government of India, 1886, pp. 23–24. National Archives of India. Padma Anagol, ‘Feminist Inheritances and Foremothers: The Beginnings of Feminism in Modern India’, Women’s History Review, 19.4 (2010): 523–546. Report of the Age of Consent Committee, 1928–1929, Government of India: Central Publication Branch, 1929, Calcutta, p. 161. From Tirmal Rao Venkatesh, Inamdar at Dharwar, to the Under Secy to the Govt of Bombay, Dec 30, 1884. Replies of Representations of the various sections of the Hindu Community on the Subject of B.M. Malabari’s papers, p. 61. Report of the Age of Consent Committee, 1928–1929, Government of India, Central Publication Branch, 1929, Calcutta, p. 10. Ishita Pande has scrutinised the unfolding of a humanitarian narrative that reconstituted child marriage as a socio-medical problem that was discovered, diagnosed and administered, through an unprecedented focus on the body.

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19 Ibid., p. 48. Vernacular Hindi manuals also critically discussed child marriage. Kaluram Trivedi, Baal Vivah Kuthar, Jaggannath ji Jhunjhunwale, Aarah: Sasaram, 1913 and Kashinath Khatri, Baal Vivah, Allahabad: Granthkaar Sirsa, 1928. 20 Report of the Age of Consent Committee, 1928–1929, Government of India, Central Publication Branch, 1929, Calcutta, p. 236. 21 Ibid., p. 41. 22 Ibid., p. 189. 23 ‘Mumbai: Man Acquitted in 1988 Case of Abduction and Rape’, Times of India, New Delhi, 15 October 2018. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ mumbai/mumbai-man-acquitted-in-1988-case-of-abduction-and-rape/articleshow/66221252.cms (accessed on 31st October 2018). 24 For a complete discussion on this case, please see Sangeeta Besoya, ‘Contextualizing “Prostitutes” in Bombay: Crime and Politics of Law Making from 1860’s Till Present’, MPhil dissertation, JNU, 2016. 25 Report on the conditions of brothels in Bombay and of the murder of a prostitute in that city. 1917, Home Department, Police-A, Proceedings, No. 128–130. 26 Ibid. 27 The Bombay Humanitarian Fund,309, Shroff Bazaar, Bombay,7th April,1917. 28 Home Dept, Police, 22 March 1917. 29 Jyoti Atwal, ‘Revisiting Premchand: Shivrani Devi on Companionship, Reformism and Nation’, Economic and Political Weekly, 42.18 (2007): 1631–1637. Premchand’s wife, Shivrani, presented her arguments to him against the Immoral Traffic Act of 1933. She objected to the insensitive proposal to seclude and isolate the prostitutes by forcing them to live outside the city at the mercy of brothel owners. 30 Ashwini Tambe, Codes of Misconduct: Regulating Prostitution in Late Colonial Bombay, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2009. 31 Sugata Bose, The Nation as Mother and Other Visions of Nationhood, New Delhi: Penguin Random House, 2017, p. 40.

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Part III MINORITIES AND MARGINALISED WOMEN Sexuality and violence

6 UNREGISTERED CONCERNS Violence against women with disabilities in India Nilika Mehrotra and Mahima Nayar

Conceptualising disability The concept of disability has been understood in different ways through different approaches. One of the first models, the biological model, viewed disability as an outcome of bodily deficiencies, focusing only on the body. The difficulties that emerge for the disabled person were linked to what the body could not do because of being different from ‘other normal’ bodies in terms of sensory, physical, or psychosocial aspects. There was no role of the social or what other people did; systemic responses were restricted to curative aspects. These focused on rehabilitation largely in terms of aids and appliances. Social models arose in response to this, wherein disability came to be conceived as an outcome of social processes or as a constructed or created category. Disability is defined as the outcome of disabling barriers imposed by environmental or policy interventions. It suggests a strategy of barrier removal, or education to remove prejudice, with the goal of inclusion. Disabled people, in this approach, do not want anything extra, but wish to be treated the same as non-disabled people.1 Impairment needs to be included in the disability discourse as it distinguishes between daily personal experiences and cannot be ignored in social theory or political strategy of the disabled. If the disability analysis does not include impairment, disabled people may be reluctant to identify with the disability movement and commentators may reject their arguments as being ‘idealistic’ and ungrounded.2 Individual bodies intermingle with broader socio-cultural relations to produce what Grosz3 refers to as sites of ‘contestation in a series of economic, political, sexual and intellectual struggles’. Bourdieu’s4 concepts also provided an important way to make linkages between structural conditions and people’s lived experiences for disability theorists. He conceptualised the body as a bearer of value in society, or as ‘a possessor of power, status and distinctive 125

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symbolic forms integral to the accumulation of various resources’. For Bourdieu, the body and its social location are interrelated, while the management of the body is core to the acquisition of status and distinction. Habitus is knowledge or information that people carry in their heads as a result of living in certain cultures or subcultures. The habitus, and its embodied practices, are implicated in social location and inequalities. Bourdieu5 notes how different values of practices become attached to the bodily comportment of men and women and stresses how bodies become the site of physical capital, or bodies, which are ‘recognised as possessing value in social fields’. Therefore, we can see that structural inequalities that characterise the lives of disabled people are related to the processes in which apart from physical capital political, symbolic, and social capital are monopolised by the ‘dominant bodily forms’. This, then, is symbolic violence, or, as Bourdieu suggests, ‘a body knowledge that entices the dominated to contribute to their own domination by tacitly accepting, outside of any rational decision or decree of the will, the limits assigned to them’. For Bourdieu, symbolic violence is at the heart of all social relations and he described it as gentle invisible form of violence, which is never recognised. Symbolic violence tends to reproduce a medical understanding of disabled people, or where disabled people’s bodies are labelled as deviant and disordered, requiring medical and charitable interventions. Take the example of Nagma, an 18-year-old girl living in a low-income colony in Delhi. She has polio and needs crutches or wheelchair for mobility. She was repeatedly denied admission to a nearby school. The only reason she was given for denial of admission was that the school was for ‘normal’ children.6 The medical understanding of disability by the school administration had rendered Nagma ‘not normal’ and unfit for education. This is only one of the examples of symbolic violence that can be seen against the disabled. Similar findings were reported in a study by Daruwalla et al.7 who found that women with disabilities in Mumbai reported unequal access to education, as they struggled to gain admission to regular schools or to take exams. Symbolic violence is related to institutions and structures and therefore it is important to understand how in a particular socio-political context, disability is viewed largely determining the ‘place’ of the disabled. The next section explores this understanding.

Gender and disability in the South Asian context The understanding and meaning attributed to disability in South Asia is very different from the Global North. Many authors have emphasised how aspects of colonialism have not been taken into account while talking about disability in the Global South. Colonialism included imposition of Eurocentric knowledge on the colonised. So postcolonialism has resonance for disability studies and helps explain the dominance of perspectives from the metropole. Postcolonialism can lead us to understand how colonial projects 126

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were concerned with rearranging social relations – so that traditional ways of supporting impaired people would be undermined – the kinship, family, and community systems.8 Viewpoints from the centre are taken into account and views from what has been seen as the ‘periphery’ have been ignored; therefore this section highlights some of the ways in which disability has been understood. Disability in South Asia is understood largely through the religious lens. In some cultures, the disabled have been credited with special powers such as the power to heal, being a visionary, and so on. As many of the world’s disabled live in the Global South, it is important for disability studies to include the different viewpoints on disability. According to Meekosha, the social model of disability that refuses to look at impairment may be detrimental to the situation of the disabled in the Global South. Disability writers avoid the issue of impairment as that may imply going back to the medical model. In this they leave out the ‘body’, which is primary in the disability discourse. The rejection of the body or impairment discourse has grave implications in South Asia where disability is understood differently. The radical difference between impairment and disability has rightly has been critiqued for failing to recognise either that impairments are also socially constituted or that the social consequences of bodily differences can never be divorced from the body.9 Mehrotra10 further argues that people’s cultural and cosmological beliefs get shaped by social and economic forces and that the requirements of what is considered ‘normal’ in terms of everyday life are expressed in terms of values and attitudes and expressed through ideas. She states that disability needs to be understood as culturally constructed and socially negotiated. This argument can be strengthened by looking at Mehrotra’s11 work in rural Haryana. She explains how disability in the Indian context is the product of a complex interaction amongst nonbiological factors like gender, caste, class, neighbourhood relations, and the nature of kinship and family structures. Through her work in a rural area of Haryana she brings out the different ways of understanding disability. Disability is conceived differently in Haryana; it is for theoretical purposes, explained as the ‘dependency’ of an individual on others in the community (aashrit). Disability is explained in terms of the nature of work a person can undertake. Since Haryana is a predominantly an agricultural state, the ability to carry out ‘physical’ work would determine how the disabled person will be perceived. People with speech and hearing disabilities are often not considered disabled as they are able to perform the tasks required of them.12 This understanding focuses on one of the reasons for inclusion of the body in the disability discourses. The prevalence of impairment is at least four times higher for those living below the poverty line as for those above it, with as many as 80% of disabled people living in rural areas or urban slums,13 so whatever meanings are attributed to different biological anomalies, they are attributed disproportionately to the poor and the excluded. Disability, in this sense, is often inseparable 127

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from other negatively construed and experienced identities, including those related to caste and gender. Ghai adds that this challenges the liberal agenda that has so shaped Western disability studies: activist calls within India for integrated schools, for example, sidestep the fact that the majority of children from the so-called lowest castes and economically poorest families are anyway unlikely to go to school, especially if they are girls, whether they are considered impaired or otherwise. This also highlights the fact that the rehabilitation process dealing with aids, appliances, and so (that comes under the medical model) needs to be taken up by the state as individuals may not have the resources to purchase the required aids. The social model advocates in rejecting the medical model completely may fail to advocate completely for these services, which in the long run might be detrimental to the disabled. Women with disabilities in the South Asian context The previous section explored how disability needs to be understood in the context in which it is located. Within the South Asian Context, the position of women is determined by the socio-religious background they belong to. In most traditional South Asian societies, the roles of a wife and mother continue to be the most important roles assigned to women. If she is unable to perform these two roles in ascribed manner then she is likely to face difficulties. For example, a woman whose mobility is impaired is perceived by her society as one who is unable to carry out domestic and extra domestic tasks that require movement and physical labour. Such stereotypes are common in South Asia where elders arrange marriages that are a contract between concerned families rather than individuals.14 South Asian women – irrespective of impairment – may identify with different religious and cultural values to those of wider society.15 It is the convergence of multiple places and cultures that transforms the terms of South Asian women’s experiences, a process which requires them to negotiate and renegotiate their identities. Hussain16 conducted a research on disabled women from Muslim and Sikh communities in Britain. She argued that ethnicity is an added dimension to the lives of the young women interviewed, as they relay an experience of disability in which they attempt to reconcile the inability of the wider society and of the minority community to accommodate their impairments. No young disabled woman is totally detached from their parents’ ethnic, religious, and cultural traditions. These young women question their own predicaments, values, and responses and recall how they come to terms with their own British South Asian identity and disability. For both Muslim and Sikh women, marriages were difficult to arrange or negotiate and the minority who had husbands sometimes felt that they had married ‘less well’ than their sisters, often marrying new migrants rather than British-born husbands. However, despite cultural expectations that all South Asian women would get married, the likelihood for many young women in this study was 128

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that they would not get married. Her study showed that even when families were in a diasporic context, their basic cultural and religious values defined their lives and aspirations. Within the Indian context both congenital and acquired disabilities for the girl child are seen as additional rather than initial liabilities.17 The desire for sons has to be understood in the context of the ritual value of sons as well as the social and economic burden in bringing up daughters. The construction of the daughter as a burden is rooted in the cultural milieu that looks at daughters as Parai (Other).18 Johri states, ‘One of the religious duties of the father is Kanyadan, the unreciprocated gifting of the virgin, to the husband and the family. Giving dowry becomes a part of this ritual’. However, the implicit understanding in this practice is that whatever you are giving will be ‘perfect’. When she is offered, the disability of the woman would have to be compensated accordingly. If disabled girl (or her family) is unable to garner resources for her wedding, then compromises on who she can get married to must be made, for example a widower, a disabled man. Disabled sons retain the possibility of marriage as they are not gifts but the receivers of gifts. Disabled as well as non-disabled men seek ‘normal’ women as wives and therefore participate in the devaluing of people because of disability.19 For disabled women the lack of choice is further compounded particularly in the context of marriage since their impairment is viewed negatively and they are unable to conform to the norm of being able-bodied, beautiful, and efficient homemakers. A disabled woman spoke about how her choice for a marriage partner seemed to be limited to disabled men. Though some able-bodied men had shown interest when she met them at her church, their interest in her evaporated the moment her impairment was revealed to them. The same participant shared that a majority of the matrimonial alliances that her family had received were from men who were disabled and more often those who were more severely disabled than the participant herself.20 Nagchoudhuri et al. argue that barriers faced by disabled women are further compounded by poverty, limited financial resources, and isolation from the larger social context due to issues of physical mobility or other functional limitations. This reduces their access to education, health, and livelihood, making them even more vulnerable and dependent on their family as compared to both disabled men and non-disabled women with the same class and family background. Apart from class, caste status of the woman also determines her social position. Mehrotra21 argues that women with disabilities from the Dalit communities are at the most disadvantage as they suffer multiple marginalities owing not only their caste but also gender and the certain nature of disabilities. The intersections between caste, class, gender, and disability all interact to impact the social position of a woman with disability. These intersections also determine her access to social capital and thereby increased or reduced vulnerability to violence. 129

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The denial of women’s ‘traditional roles’ to disabled women creates what Michele Fine and Adrienne Asch22 term ‘rolelessness’, a social invisibility and cancellation of femininity that can impel disabled women to pursue, however hopelessly, the female identity valourised by their given culture but denied to them because of their disability. In keeping with this dichotomy of being a woman yet not a woman, another important area that often remains untouched or affected by stereotypes is the sexuality of the disabled woman. There are stereotypes related to asexuality or hyper-sexuality. The complexity of disabled sexuality is lost in public policy because there is no component on women with disabilities, for instance in the sexual and reproductive programmes. Again in the flagship schemes like Right to Education (RTE) and the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MNREGA), they are largely absent. Gender budgeting policy has not been applied for them, even in the disability specific policies and schemes.23 Within the South Asian context, religion, ethnicity, region, and caste would interact in influencing the everyday lives of women and only an intersectional approach to violence could lend understanding of the structural roots of this phenomena. Apart from these factors, disability identity is also gendered, as there are clear norms for male and female behaviour in South Asia. These work together to complicate a disabled woman’s life further. After exploring the socio-cultural aspects that influence the lives of disabled women, the next section will examine the position of disabled women through presentation of statistics related to them.

Women with disability: a statistical profile Lina Abu Habib24 reports how when a Lebanese disabled woman suggested the need to analyse the specific experience of disabled women, and to create structures for doing so within her group, her male colleagues, shocked by the proposition, retorted that ‘the disabled movement is already divided, and you are proposing a segregation which will weaken it even further’. This ideology needs to be challenged through examining disaggregated data related to disabled women. The statistics help us to understand very clearly the reasons why disabled women require separate support structures for themselves. This section very briefly presents some of the statistics. According to the 2011 World Report on Disability25of the World Health Organization and World Bank, it is estimated that approximately 15% of the world’s population lives with some form of disability. The disability level threshold indicates that the male disability prevalence rate is 12 and the female 19.2. In India out of the total population of disabled people, 44% are women with disabilities.26 Fig 6.1 shows that that there are large numbers of women with different types of disabilities. The numbers in each disability are almost equivalent to men. However, disability rights movements focus on issues that 130

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Distribution by sex (%) for each type of disability 120 100 80

48

47

44

38

42

42

45

45

52

53

56

62

58

58

55

55

In seeing

In hearing

In speech

Mental illness

Any other

Multiple

60 40 20 0 In Mental movement retardation Male

Female

Figure 6.1 Distribution by sex (%) for each type of disability Source: Census 2011

predominantly impact men. Let us look at some of the figures given by the Social Statistics Division27 in 2017: •

• •





Among all the female disabled children (5–19 years), 60% are attending institutions, while amongst the male disabled children, 62% are attending educational institutions. Out of the male disabled population, 62% are literates and amongst the female disabled 45% are literates. Among the male disabled persons, 38% are illiterates. 16% of the disabled male population has matric/secondary education but are not graduates and 6% are graduates and above. About 9% amongst the male disabled literates are graduates. Among the female disabled persons, 55% are illiterates. 9% of the disabled female population has matric/secondary education but are not graduates and 3% are graduates and above. About 7.7% amongst the female disabled literates are graduates. In the rural areas, 63% of the women with disabilities were illiterate. Among the male disabled, 62% are currently married and 6% are widowed, while for the female disabled, the corresponding figures are 54% and 13%, respectively.

Fig 6.2 shows how many more disabled women are not working as compared to men. Another interesting point to note here is that although 47% of 131

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Distribution by disabled people by work status (%) in India (Census 2011) 120 100 80 60

64

53 77

62

53 75

66

25

34

53 84

40 20

36

47 23

38

47

47 16

0 Persons Males Total

Females Persons Males

Females Persons Males

Rural

Urban

Non worker

Females

Worker

Figure 6.2 Distribution of disabled people by work status (%) in India (Census 2011) Source: Census 2011

men work in rural and urban areas, only 16%of urban disabled women are working as compared to rural disabled women (25%). These figures indicate that disabled women are largely dependent on their families or other caregivers and this can increase their vulnerability. The isolation and marginalization of women increase their vulnerability and increases the chances of violence against them. Deepak et al.28 found that amongst the women, the percentage of those who experienced violence over the past 12 months was highest in the illiterate group (87%). It decreased marginally amongst those with 1–8 years of education (83%) and was lowest amongst women with nine or more years of education (61%). This indicates an important link between level of education and violence. The relationship of violence with different social indicators is evident but none of the reports related to disability or health directly deals with the aspect of violence against women with disabilities. In the various reports we examined, there is no section related to violence against women with disabilities. It is not that disabled women are missing only from the vocabulary of the state but that even in reports and services of civil society organizations there is a difference. In case of sexual abuse against women with disabilities, there are few facilities available. For example, in a report by Human Rights Watch29 regarding child sexual abuse in India, there is no mention of the vulnerability of children with disabilities. In addition, while going through websites of organizations working on the issue of child sexual abuse, it was found that many of them do not cater to the needs of disabled children. Many of the homes for sexually abused girls do not take in girls with disabilities because of a lack of infrastructure and 132

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human resources to meet their needs (for example, the Advait foundation).30 These examples depict how even most non-governmental organizations do not recognise and/or are not able to provide adequate services to women with disabilities. The invisibility of issues related to violence against disabled women originates from how female children are viewed. It is best described in the words of Abha Khetrapal,31 a disabled woman with locomotor disability: In societies where “son preference” dominates culturally, a girl child automatically becomes a second-class citizen for the family as well as for society. And if the girl happens to have a disability of any kind, whether genetic or acquired, then the stigma has an exponential rather than an accumulative effect on gender roles that a woman has to perform. The next section attempts to present a picture based on studies conducted by individuals and groups to understand violence against women with disabilities.

Violence against women with disabilities Ortoleva and Lewis32 state, ‘Although women with disabilities experience many of the same forms of violence all women experience, when gender and disability intersect, violence takes on unique forms, has unique causes, and results in unique consequence’. In recent years, the violence and discrimination experienced by women with disabilities has become somewhat more visible and noted by the international community as a result of the advocacy work and research of women with disabilities and their allies. For example, a 2011 resolution of the United Nations Human rights Council requested that the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights prepare a study on violence and disability, recognizing that disability can be both a cause and consequence of violence against women. Violence against women with disabilities can occur at various levels and in various areas. Denial of right to live in a certain manner, access to educational and employment opportunities, hostile physical environment, denial of health care all can combine to create a violent and abusive situation for women with disabilities. Neuhas33 describes three levels at which denial of access and rights constitute violence against women in healthcare settings: 1) Physical access. Hospitals, medical clinics, and doctors’ offices are often not accessible. In addition, equipment and the barriers they present in terms of examination tables, scales, and diagnostic equipment must be considered. 133

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2) Communication access and equity. People with disabilities often lose important information because of communication barriers such as a lack of sign language interpreters, sufficient time for communication, information in easy-to-understand language, or materials in alternate formats, depending on the disabled individual’s needs. 3) Programmatic access. Disabled women are often poorly educated with regard to their own health issues. Frequently, development and other programs educating communities about health care and reproductive rights do not include women with disabilities. The last point about being poorly educated about health issues leads to increased vulnerability of disabled women to physical and sexual violence. Violence and sexual violence against persons with disabilities have been recognised as an important problem worldwide. A study amongst children and adults with disabilities living at home revealed that at least 50% were traumatised by sexual, physical, verbal, and other severe and often repeated abuse.34 Violence against children with disabilities is also common in educational settings.35 Two studies36 from India showed that women with disabilities were especially vulnerable to violence. According to these studies, from 22% to 59% of women with disabilities may be affected by physical violence. In a study conducted in Bidar in 2014,37 it was found that: • • •



Rates of violence were higher in the age group below 30 years and above 46 years. Among women, 69% reported violence in the age group below 30 years. Married men reported higher rates of violence (52.4%) in the past 12 months, compared to the unmarried men (40%). Among the women the situation was inverse, with the percentage of single women (81.2%) reporting higher incidence of violence compared to married women (68.4%). Violence in the last 12 months reported by persons of different castes was: 60% amongst the SC/ST groups and 50% amongst persons of ‘higher’ castes (50%). The Bidar CBR programme promoted setting up SHGs of persons with disabilities in the villages. These SHGs were involved in a variety of activities including basic literacy, savings and credit funds, advocacy, accessing scholarships and disability certificates. SHG members constituted around 63% of the study sample. Disaggregated data showed that amongst women non-SHG members (87%) faced more violence in the last 12 months compared to the SHG members (71%). Thus, participation in the SHG was associated with less violence only amongst women DPO members.

Women and girls with disabilities are at risk, both within and outside the home, of violence, injury or abuse, neglect or negligent treatment, maltreatment or exploitation. It can be in different forms neglect, physical abuse, 134

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sexual abuse, emotional and psychological abuse, and financial exploitation. The perpetrators can be personal attendants, health care providers, other family members, and even strangers. Disability serves in this instance to desexualise what would otherwise be asexualised act of violence because women with disabilities are often considered asexual. Razack38 reported how disabled women were stripped during grand rounds in a hospital. This act of public stripping of women with disabilities serves to preserve not only male supremacy but also ableist superiority. Violence against women and girls with disabilities is not just a subset of gender-based violence: it is an intersectional category dealing with genderbased and disability-based violence. The confluence of these two factors results in an extremely high risk of violence against women with disabilities.39 In terms of intersections between the nature of disability and the nature of violence, it is difficult to make any conclusive statements. Most of the studies have been with women with physical and sensory disabilities40 who face physical, emotional, and sexual violence. Research with women with psychosocial and intellectual disabilities has been limited. The stigma attached to these disabilities ensures that the scope and severity of violence increases. The different kinds of abuse they face include forced abortion and sterilization, forced psychiatric interventions, involuntary commitment to institutions, and forced or ‘unmodified’ electroshock (electro-convulsive therapy or ECT).41 The well-being of disabled women usually depends on their caregivers, increasing their sense of vulnerability within the domestic space. If the abuser is also the caregiver, someone that the individual is reliant on for personal care or mobility, she may hesitate to report the violence. Institutions of the justice system are often physically inaccessible and do not provide reasonable accommodation and disabled women often lack access to legal protection and representation, law enforcement officials. The testimony of disabled women is often not viewed as credible by the justice system and they are not privy to the same information available to non-disabled women. Furthermore, women and girls with disabilities are at high risk of genderbased and other forms of violence based on social stereotypes and biases that attempt to dehumanise or infantilise them, exclude or isolate them, target them for sexual and other forms of violence, and put them at greater risk of institutionalised violence. Sexual and gender-based violence also has the consequence of contributing to the incidence of disability amongst women. Daruwalla42 found that in Mumbai, neglect and verbal abuse at home and at school were very common. Sexual ‘misbehavior’, usually by members of the extended family, was not unknown and ranged from ‘gazing’ to inappropriate touching. Episodes of sexual violence often went unreported, either because parents disregarded them or because they held their daughters responsible. In the context of childhood, sexual violence was constructed not only as the act itself but also in terms of the unwillingness of parents 135

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to acknowledge it. Self-defeating beliefs and negative constructions of the self were common, particularly amongst women who had endured persistent physical or psychological violence. Being constantly spoken down to or treated as disabled tended to lead to an internalised stigmatization of one’s own disability. Feelings about the impact of their physical impairment on their family and being made to feel a burden led some women to self-blame and a sense that ‘I am the problem’. At least three respondents reported contemplating or attempting suicide. Within the rural context, Mehrotra’s43 work brings out the manner in which disabled women are viewed. Her case studies reflect the initial neglect of a disabled girl child, and in some cases parents even admitted their eager anticipation of the child’s death. Marjina, a 7-year-old girl who suffers of congenital limb deformities, was so named because her family members had lost all hopes of her living on: mar(death) and jina (life), meaning one who is alive after death. However, she found that when the child was able to cope with the disability, fighting all odds in spite of neglect, the family came together to support her. In case of the situation of women after marriage, Mehrotra44 discusses the case of Nirmala who lost her hand using an electric fodder-cutter. Nirmala got much support, being in a joint family, especially from her sister (also married into the same family) who shared most of the household chores giving her time to recoup. But the accident has created a void between Nirmala and her husband. She has been experiencing so much marital strain that she has now stopped observing the ritualistic fasts for the welfare of her husband. Disability, especially after marriage, has led to conflict and estrangement, despite her working hard. Domestic violence is a routine occurrence and disability gives another excuse for wife beating. Other kinds of abuse include sanctions that are put are put on disabled women largely arising out of the stigma. Disabled women are often neither allowed to become biological mothers, nor does society give them the right to be foster mothers and adopt a child. Her reproductive health is always at stake with forced sterilisations for eugenic reasons. There are even harrowing incidences of genital mutilations. Khetrapal45 calls this the ‘Disability Castration Syndrome’. This syndrome was lived out in the Sassoon General Hospital in Poona in 1994, where 14 girls with intellectual disabilities were forced to undergo hysterectomies. Eli Clare46 states: Gender reaches into disability; disability wraps around class; class strains against abuse; abuse snarls into sexuality; sexuality folds on top of race . . . everything finally piling into a single human body. To write about any aspect of identity, any aspect of the body means writing about this entire maze. This I know, and yet the question remains: where to start? 136

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Conclusion Where to start? This is a difficult question to address and therefore this chapter attempts to move in a deductive manner and start from the broader issue of how disability is defined and understood to the specific question of violence against women with disabilities. Violence against women with disabilities is understood and carried out depending upon how disabled women are viewed; this can be seen through the various examples presented in the chapter. We argue the need for inclusion of ‘body’ and ‘impairment’ in disability discourses in a country like India. Focusing on the social model only may lead to invisibility of the ‘lived body’ with its pains, aches, difficulties, and abilities. Within the Western context issues like ‘empowerment’ are given importance, which emphasise on the individual’s ability to make choices for her/him. This brings to the focus on individual rights. In the South Asian context, where people give more importance to the collective rather than the individual, this understanding maybe problematic. Interventions and policies may not be relevant unless designed for the cultural context in which they are situated. Narratives and statistics presented attempt to present a holistic picture of women with disabilities. Together they help us to understand how in basic social indicators, women with disabilities are lagging behind men with disabilities, bringing out the increased vulnerability of their situation. Lesser educational opportunities translate to lesser opportunities for better-paid work. This increases their dependency on the family and immediate caregivers, further heightening their vulnerability. In a country with a strong sonpreference, being born a disabled woman implies that they have to struggle to survive. The recent changes in laws acknowledge this vulnerability to a certain extent, as the Rights for Persons with Disability Act (RPD), passed by Parliament on December 14, 2016, includes sections related to women and children and also contains sections related to abuse, violence, and exploitation. But within the section on abuse, it does not mention what needs to be done specifically for girls and women with disabilities. In the section on social security, health, rehabilitation, and recreation, it mentions ‘sexual and reproductive healthcare especially for women with disability’. The inclusion of the term sexual health is important as the focus has always been on reproductive health in the case of women. However, health of women goes beyond only sexual health and it is important to emphasise that in the case of disabled girls and women, access to basic healthcare for survival is an important issue. Apart from the Rights for Persons with Disability Act, other changes have been brought about in law in the recent past. Sen47 discusses amendments in The Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013. It includes aggravated sexual assault (Section 376 (2) of the Indian Penal Code) rape committed on

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a woman suffering from mental or physical disability (for the first time in Penal Code’s history). She reports how there is an inclusion of certain sections, which eases the process of filing FIRs for disabled women and brings in provisions related to the videography of statements, the recording of a statement by a woman police officer at the person’s residence or a place convenient to her, and, more importantly, in the presence of a special educator or an interpreter. She argues that the manner in which disabled woman has been imagined in the law has more similarities with the way children are viewed in the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012. The presence of the disabled woman is marked by her special needs during rape trial, i.e., by her difference. But it is also marked by a similarity with children in the UNCRPD where a separate section on children and women with disabilities is part of the convention. The law does not take into the account the shifting identities of the disabled woman (maybe Dalit, lesbian, and so on) and works in a manner that infantilises them. This is another example of symbolic violence. In order to reduce violence against disabled women, there is a need to work with specific changes and provision of facilities and opportunities by focusing on laws and policies. Apart from that we need to constantly challenge our notions and understanding of disability and women. This implies challenging our ‘habitus’; we carry ideas about disability and women which are innate and thereby become complicit in carrying out symbolic violence.

Notes 1 Shakespeare, T. ‘Disability, Identity and Difference.’ In Exploring the Divide, edited by C. Barnes and G. Mercer, 94–113. Leeds: The Disability Press, 1996. 2 Shakespeare, T., and N. Watson. ‘The Social Model of Disability: An Outdated Ideology?’Research in Social Science and Disability 2, 2002: 9–28. 3 Grosz, E. Volatile Bodies: Towards a Corporeal Feminism. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1994, p. 19. 4 See Shilling, C. The Body and Social Theory. London: Sage, 1993, p. 124. 5 Bourdieu, P. The Logic of Practice. Cambridge: Polity Press, 1990. 6 Nayar, M. ‘Disability, Education and Distress.’ Women’s Link 18 (2), 2012: 15–19. 7 Daruwalla, N., et al. ‘Violence against Women with Dsiability in Mumbai, India: A Qualitative Study.’ Sage Open, 2013: 1–9. 8 Meekosha, H. ‘Decolonising Disability: Thinking and Acting Globally.’ Disability and Society 26 (6), 2011: 667–682. 9 Shuttleworth, R., and D. Kasnitz. ‘The Cultural Context of Disability.’ In Encyclopedia of Disability, edited by G. Albrecht, 330–336. Thousand Oaks: Sage, 2005. 10 Mehrotra, N. ‘Disability Rights Movements in India: Politics and Practice.’ Economic and Political Weekly 46 (6), 2011: 65–72. 11 Mehrotra, N. ‘Women and Disability Management in Rural Haryana.’ Asia Pacific Disability Rehabilitation Journal 19 (1), 2008: 38–49. 12 Mehotra, N. ‘Negotiating Gender and Disability in Rural Haryana.’ Sociological Bulletin 55 (3), 2006: 406–426.

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13 Ghai, A. ‘Marginilization and Disability: Experiences from the Third World.’ In Disability and the Life Course: Global Perspectives, edited by M. Priestly, 26–37. Cambridge: University Press, 2001. 14 Thomas, M., and M.T. Thomas. ‘Comments on “Disability in Asian Cultures and Beliefs by M. Miles.’ Journal of Religion, Disability and Health 6 (2–3), 2002: 131–133. 15 Modood, T., S. Beishan, and S. Virdee. Changing Ethnic Identities. London: Policy Studies Institute, 1994. 16 Hussain, Y. ‘South Asian Disabled Women: Negotiating Identities.’ The Sociological Review 53 (3), 2005: 522–538. 17 Ghai, A. ‘Disabled Women: An Excluded Agenda of Indian Feminist Movement.’ Hypatia, 17 (3), 2002: 49–66. 18 See Johri, R. ‘Cultural Constructions of Maternal Attachment: The Case of a Girl Child.’ Ph.D. diss., University of Delhi, India, 1998, p. 78. 19 See Ghai, A. ‘Disabled Women: An Excluded Agenda of Indian Feminist Movement.’ Hypatia 17 (3), 2002: 49–66. 20 Nagchoudhuri, M., S. Limaye, V. Ajgaonkar, M. Menezes. ‘Power, Privilege and Empowerment among Women with Disability.’ Perspectives in Social Work29 (2): 26–38. 21 Mehrotra, N. ‘Disability, Caste and Gender Intersections,’ In Indian Economy, in Disability and Intersecting Statuses.’ Research in Social Science and Disability 7, 2013: 295–324. Emerald Group Publishing Limited. 22 See Fine, M., and A. Asch (eds.). Women with Disabilities: Essays in Psychology, Culture and Politics. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1988. 23 See Women with Disabilities (WwDs) India Network’. Women with Disabilities in India. Women with Disabilities (WwDs) India Network’, 2012. 24 Abu-Habib, L. ‘Women and Disability Don’t Mix!: Double Discrimination and Disabled Women’s Rights.’ Gender and Development 3 (2), 1995: 49–53. 25 Mukherjee, J., and S.J. Kurien. World Report on disability. Geneva, Switzerland: World Health Organisation and the World Bank, 2011, p. 59. 26 See the ‘First Country Report on the Status of Disability in India’. This report has been submitted in pursuance of Article 35 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities, Government of India, 2014–15. 27 See Disabled People in India- A Statistical Profile 2016, a report by Social Statistics Division In the Ministry of Statistics and Program Implementation, Government of India, 2016. 28 Deepak, S., et al. ‘Violence against Persons with Disabilities in Bidar District, India.’ Disability, CBR and Inclusive Development 25(2), 2014: 35–53. 29 See Sharma, K., ‘Treated Worse Than Animals: Abuses against Women and Girls with Psychosocial and Intellectual Disabilities in Institutions in India. United States of America: Human Rights Watch, 2014. 30 Nayar, M., and N. Mehrotra. ‘Invisible People, Invisible Violence: Lives of Women with Intelluctual and Psycho-Social Disabilties.’ In India: Social Development Report 2016, edited by K. Kannabiran and A. Hans, 185–198. New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2017. 31 Khetrapal, A. ‘At the Crossroads of Gender and Abelism.’ India International Centre Quarterly 40 (1), 2013, cited in p. 125. 32 Ortoleva, S., and H. Lewis. Forgotten Sisters: A Report on Violence against Women with Disabilities: An Overview of Its Nature, Scope, Causes and Consequences. Papers Series No. 104–2012, USA: Northeastern University, School of Law, 2012.

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33 Neuhas, R. ‘Remarks by Rhonda Neuhas.’ Proceedings of the Annual Meeting. American Society of International Law, 2012, pp. 189–190. 34 Helander, E. The World of the Defenceless: Defence for Children International. Geneva: IASI, 2004. 35 See note 25. 36 See the studies done by Mohapatra, S., and M. Mohanty, Abuse and Activity Limitation: A Study on Domestic Violence against Disabled Women in Orissa. India: Oxfam, 2004. and Daruwalla, N., et. al. Count Me in Research Report on Violence against Disabled, Lesbian and Sex Working Women in Bangladesh, Indian and Nepal. New Delhi, India: CREA, 2009. 37 See note 28. 38 Razack, S. ‘From Consent to Responsibility, from Pity to Respect: Subtexts in Cases of Sexual Violence Involving Girls and Women with Deelopmental Disabilities.’ Law and Social Inquiry 19(4), 1994: 891–922. 39 The International Network of Women with Disabilities (INWWD) undertook a discussion of violence against women with disabilities in 2009–2010 to answer questions related to differences amongst violence against women with disabilities as compared to violence against women in general. 40 See studies like Deepak, S., et al. ‘Violence against Persons with Disabilities in Bidar District, India.’ Disability, CBR and Inclusive Development 25(2), 2014: 35–53. Daruwalls, N., et al. ‘Count Me in Research Report on Violence against Disabled, Lesbian and Sex Working Women in Bangladesh, Indian and Nepal. New Delhi, India: CREA, 2009. 41 See also Minkowitz, T. ‘The UN CRPD and the Right to Be Free from Nonconsensual Psychiatric Interventions.’ Syracuse Journal of International Law and Commerce 32(2), 2007: 405–428. 42 Daruwalla, et al., p. 4, see also note 7. 43 Mehotra, N. ‘Negotiating Gender and Disability in Rural Haryana.’ In Disability, Gender and State Policy: Exploring Margins. Jaipur: Rawat Publications, pp. 159–182. 44 Ibid., p. 175. 45 See note 39. 46 Eli Clarke, 1999 cited from Khetrapal, 2013, p. 129, for details see note 39. 47 Sen, R. ‘Women with Disabilities: Cartographic Encounters with Legal Interstices.’ Indian Anthropologist 46(2), 2016: 75–91.

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7 NATURE OF VIOLENCE AGAINST DALIT WOMEN Vivek Kumar Defining Dalits: a sociological perspective To begin, Dalits are constitutionally known as Scheduled Castes. However, sociologically speaking, Dalits can be defined as a social group who have the following characteristics: 1) Unique structural location in the Hindu social order as the fifth varna. 2) Suffer cumulative and collective social exclusion because of their structural location. 3) Long history of cumulative and collective social exclusion because of their structural location. 4) Unalterable social identity and status even when they attain educational, economic, and spatial mobility. 5) Construction of consciousness anchored in the historicity of cumulative and collective social exclusion because of structural location and that is why they accept Ambedkar and Buddha as their icons.1 Because of their structural location and construction of consciousness, Dalits are different from tribals, poor people, and women in general. Hence, Dalit women differ from general caste women in terms of roles and statuses they have been assigned in the Indian society. Specifically, this differentiation can be recorded on the basis of occupation they have to perform and the stigmatised social status they have been accorded. Further, their structural location also differentiates them from general caste women due to the type of harassment, humiliation, exploitation, and violence they suffer at the hands of so-called upper castes in Indian society.

Nature and types of violence against Dalit women Before we evolve a typology of violence suffered by Dalit women, we will record here a number of narratives of Dalits and Dalits women in particular to make sense of the nature of violence suffered by Dalit women in Indian

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society. At the outset, to explain this we have made use of the English translation of Dalit woman’s life history ‘Viramma’ by Racine and Racine.2 This ethnographic work produced after ten years of fieldwork is truly representative of the nature and types of violence Dalit women are subjected to in day-to-day life. According to the authors, Viramma, . . . is offering us silent memory of her caste . . . Violence has been very much part of Viramma’s horizon .  .  . Viramma depicts . . . established silent violence of system of oppression which has worked so intensely and for long . . . This is the violence of hunger . . . This is the violence of sickness, which killed nine of her twelve children in their prime. This is the hidden violence of words or a gesture expressed in all possible shades of contempt, when upper-caste landlords, government officers or simple peasants talk to Dalits, or talk about them; the violence of bondage, debt, economic dependency; the violence of a fate of uncertainty; the violence of sex, sometimes proposed and sometimes imposed upon poor women who are expected to lie down for a little money or for medical care at the local hospital”.3 Viramma is not an isolated case of humiliation and harassment suffered by Dalit women. In her autobiography. Urmila Pawar has also highlighted the humiliation, which Dalit women have to bear when she is forced to beg because of abject poverty. In her own words, the women would go to the houses of the upper caste . . . Marathas and Brahmins to beg .  .  . Especially houses that performed the compulsory Mahar duties, such as beating the dhol, disposing of dead animals, reaching messages, would go to beg as a matter of right . . . our sisters-in-law . . . would also go begging . . . [s]ome women would .  .  . carry with them the separate containers and pots for collecting various dishes .  .  . But the .  .  . (upper caste) Women who gave them food would pour everything together in their baskets .  .  . (our) women would bring basketful of rice in which many things were mixed . . . (then) they would . . . hold it against the running water in the river, shaking the basket against the flowing water they would rinse it till the clean rice remained in the basket . . . Their entire house would survive for two days on those leftovers.4 In the same vein Omprakash Valmiki in his autobiography has narrated an episode full of contempt in which his mother had gone to collect leftover

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food (Joothan) in a basket from a marriage party in the house of the socalled upper caste. According to Valmiki, The Barat [marriage party] was eating. My mother was waiting sitting outside the door with her basket’. And when his mother asked the head of the so-called upper-caste family to put something for children, that man ‘pointed at the basket full of dirty pattals [leaf plates] and said, “you are taking a basket full of Joothan. And on top of that you want food for your children. Don’t forget your place Churi”. Pick your basket and get going. That night . . . it was the first time I saw my mother get so angry. She emptied the basket right there . . . And after this incident she had also stopped taking their Joothan.5 The narrative of Baby Kamble reveals another fact of a Dalit girl child when she goes to school. Kamble narrates the discrimination in the following words, But once we were in school, we were made to sit in corner on one side. Ours was a girl’s school . . . The teachers used to awfully worried about our polluting them and harassed us a lot as if we were their enemies. They treated us like lepers really. They wouldn’t even look at us. Our classmates were all upper caste girls and they too used to be afraid of us, constantly worried about our touching and polluting them. They used to scorn us as if we were some kind of despicable creatures. We had no friends among the Brahmin girls.6 Apart from the aforesaid types of violence suffered by Dalit women there is evidence that Dalit women have had to suffer many other types of violence as well. Although this was rampant all over the Indian society, we can take a few examples to prove the point. The plight of the Dalit (Shanan) woman can be inferred from the fact that in Travancore in 1858 the disturbance could be brought under control when, Sir Charles Trevelyan, the governor of Madras, granted them permission to wear clothes over their breasts and shoulders and the Maharaja of Travancore, in whose princely state the riot had occurred found no objection to Shanan women’s putting their bosoms in the manner whatever, but not like the women of higher castes.7 The remnants of this old abhorrent practice have been reported in contemporary times by Arun).8 According to him, ‘the older Paraiyar women do not wear blouse and sandals in front of higher castes’9 even today.

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Writing in the 1920s, Briggs presents an obnoxious picture of exploitation of Dalit women in North India. According to him, There are . . . social customs, more or less objected to, but often allowed and not considered wrong, which are gradually disappearing under modern conditions: such are the jus primae noctis of landlords and gurus. The Zamindar often has liberties with the Chamar’s wife in consideration for his payments to Chamar .  .  . Furthermore there are certain customs within the caste which are most debasing. Formerly when a Satnami Chamar was married, a ceremony called Satlok took place within the three years of wedding, or after the birth of the first son . . . It was considered to be the initiatory rite of a Satnami . . . In the (rite) . . . the newly-married wife . . . (is) asked . . . whom he should revere as his guru or preceptor. She named a man, and the husband went out and bowed to him, and he then went into the woman a lay with her. The process would be repeated . . . until she was exhausted. Sometimes if the head priest of the sect was present, he would nominate the favoured men who were known as gurus.10

Typology of violence On the basis of existing sources, both primary and secondary, we have evolved a typology of violence as suffered by Dalit women in India. According to this typology, the violence against Dalit women can be categorised according to four broad headings: 1) 2) 3) 4)

Violence because of nature of occupation. Verbal violence via social ridicule. Physical Violence. Sexual violence with specific reference to rape.

Violence because of nature of occupation The existing data suggests that Dalit women are involved in different types of occupation because of their structural location in the Indian social order. They have been forced into hazardous occupation like excreta cleaning, cleaning of dead animals, piggery, butchery, toddy tapping, and cleaning of soiled clothes, etc. With regard to Dalit women associated with the occupation of excreta cleaning, Singh (2014) has collected data from 11 states of India viz. Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Delhi, Gujarat, Haryana, Kashmir, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, and West Bengal to prove this point. According to her,

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In some places 95per cent of the manual scavengers are women and in other places it goes up to 98 per cent. These women are caught in a vicious circle of caste oppression, gender exploitation and economic disparity. It is impossible to measure the extent of violations they have been subjected to . . . women don’t just get one roti and few rupees for this work, they also get extra money for removing carcasses of dead animals . . . Since a woman is more concerned about running the household well . . . quite a large number of women in the country . . . do not wish to give up manual scavenging . . . and as a result, manual scavenging continues unabated!11 They performed the role of midwives helping the other and general caste women in delivering their young ones. According to Pinto (2006),12 ‘this work . . . involves tasks which others . . . do not perform: cutting the umbilical cord, removing trash and offal, rubbing the baby with the dirt, messaging the baby and the mother and bating the infant . . . These women remove pollution from home’. Moreover, they were also forced into the profession what has been termed by certain social scientists as ‘Sacred Prostitution’13. However, it is known as ‘Devdasi System’ in general parlance in which Dalit girls were donated to local temple deity in their childhood. According to Omvedt, the Dalit girls were dedicated to the goddess Yellama/Renuka . . . Following this ‘marriage to god’ most of the girls remained in their village; they were considered accessible to any men but at the same time not bound to or polluted by these sexual relations . . . These girls were as “Murli” among Mahars, “Matangi” among the Madigas and “Basavi” among Holeyars . . . by late feudal times it also helped to institutionalize the sexual accessibility of Dalit women for higher caste men.14 In the same vein, Vijaisri (2004)15 argues that because of existential condition the Devadasis, in Telugu speaking regions – Andhra and Karnataka, were called as ‘Outcaste Sacred Prostitutes’. According to her, there was no ritual space for them. They were not granted land rights and were forced to dance during funeral processions. And in the end they were forced into prostitution as they had no alternative way of earning once they were out of their youth.16 One should not be under the impression that this practice doesn’t exist anymore. In the state of Andhra Pradesh alone, a field study conducted in 2003–2004 across 12 Jogini-prone districts in the state established the presence of approximately 25000 Joginis in these districts. Approximately 90% were living in the poorest region of Telangana, which has now become an

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independent state. In spite of the existing Andhra Pradesh Devadasi (Prohibition of Dedication) Act 1988 and Karnataka Devadasi (Prohibition of Dedication) Act 1982, girls belonging to lower castes have continued to be dedicated to the temples (e-Pathshala). However the moot question is why has all these draconian socio-cultural realities have escaped from the eyes of the mainstream social scientists.17

Verbal violence via social ridicule The second type of violence suffered by Dalit Women is verbal. This emanates from the unique type of ridicules established by so-called upper castes against Dalit women in day-to-day life. There are various types of vernacular sayings, which are used by the so-called upper castes to ridicule Dalit women and young Dalit girls. A look at the following sayings prevalent at the grassroots in Northern India is quite illustrative: Bitiya Chamar ki nam Rajaniya (Rajraniya) (Literally translated it means ‘Daughter of a Chamar with the name of Rajrani [chief queen]). The manifest meaning of this saying is that how a person of Chamar caste or so-called lower caste in the caste hierarchy can name his daughter as queen of queens. However, the irony is that because of hegemony the elders of the Dalit community often use this dictum to ridicule their own daughters who are a little extroverted. Let us see another example to make the point little clearer: Chappal Pe Chamayin Chale Sandal pe Dhobaniya Hay Mor Rama Badal Gail Duniya (Translated literally it means that because Chamayin (a Chamar woman – chamar is one of the 66 untouchables in Uttar Pradesh) has started wearing the slippers and the Dhobin (Washerwoman –Dhobi is another untouchable caste in Uttar Pradesh) the sandals, therefore society has changed). Its latent meaning is that, how can Dalit women wear a slipper or sandal? It is in this context this chapter would highlight the impact of such ridicules on the persona of the young Dalit girls and Dalit women in general. An added question which can be probed in this context will be whether Dalit women assert to mitigate such ridicules or they meekly surrender before the pressure of the so-called upper castes?

Physical violence and Dalit women Apart from occupational and verbal ridicules, Dalit women also face a third type of violence that is physical violence because of their caste identity. Let 146

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us take few examples to prove the point. Recently as late as October 15, 2017, barely 90 km from the country’s capital, in the district of Bulandshar in Uttar Pradesh, a Dalit women who was pregnant for 9 months was beaten to death. Her fault was that she accidently touched the bucket of a Thakur woman. The Thakur woman repeatedly punched the pregnant Dalit woman in the stomach and banged her head on a wall. She kept on accusing the Dalit woman of defiling her bucket by her touch. Later on her son also beat the Dalit woman with a stick. The assault was so brutal that both mother and her stillborn son died after some days. Initially police did not lodge the complaint but after the post-mortem of the dead body of the Dalit women the Police has added IPC section 304 (The Indian Express – October 26th, 2017, New Delhi). The second case is of two Dalit (Mahar) girls who were physically beaten by Maratha youth and women. The girls narrated the story that one day, when they were returning from the fields, one Maratha boy (who used to regularly tease) taunted that Mahars have become too decent and pushed her from behind so hard that she fell down. She shouted back pointing finger at him, ‘can’t you see?’ On this, he slapped her and said, ‘you Mahar, how can you point finger at me like that’. The Maratha boy’s mother and other boys also joined him in beating her.18 Remaining with the same case, Waghmore further writes that another women substantiated the point that, ‘They first hit her with sticks and when she fell down they threw stones on her’ 19. Apart from this, Waghmore also argues that, ‘another Dalit woman was murdered here in land dispute. This case is still doing the rounds of the courts and is currently in the Supreme Court’.20 In the same vein, Waghmore highlights the fact that it is not that only Mahar women became victims of violence there. Recently, a Chambhar woman became victim of Maratha violence in public view. A moot question which arises in this regard is, why this physical violence against Dalit woman? According to Waghmore, violence against Dalit women is also a means of subordination of Dalits in the local community. See also the case of Khairlanji, Maharashtra where, on September 29, 2006, Dalit women Surekha Bhotmange and her daughter Priyanka Bhotmange, 17, were stripped, paraded naked, raped repeatedly, and killed by a mob of higher caste people.21

Sexual violence with specific reference to rape The fourth type of violence, which this chapter discusses, is the nature and quantum of sexual violence against the Dalit women perpetrated by the socalled upper caste males (see table that follows). The data released by the National Crime Record Bureau and National Commission for Scheduled Castes shows that during 1991–2001, i.e., during one decade, approximately three Dalit women were raped daily by socalled upper caste males. However, what is important for us to note here is 147

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Table 7.1 Depicting number of rapes on Dalit women by so-called upper castes

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33

Year

Number of Rapes

1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013

604 635 640 692 700 727 – – 830 885 784 849 798 992 873 949 1037 923 1000 1083 1316 1331 1089 1157 1172 1217 1349 1457 1346 1349 1557 1576 2073

Source: Collated from data published in National Crime Record Bureau, Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, New Delhi and the Report of the Commission for Scheduled Castes & Scheduled Tribes, Govt. of India, New Delhi, 20th Report, 1986–87.

that the rape of a Dalit woman is not only a sexual assault on Dalit women alone. If this is not only sexual assault against Dalit women, then what is it? Is this activity related to Dalits community as a whole? The answer is not very difficult to seek. The available evidences show that this amounts to caste violence, which emanates from structural location of Dalit women. We can call the rape of the Dalit women a case of caste violence because of at least four reasons.22 One, Dalit women’s rape is on a number of occasions a group activity in which so-called upper castes invade the Dalit localities 148

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and rape Dalit women in a group, not sparing even very old women or girl children. For instance a case from Madhya Pradesh proves the point. A report put on the floor of the Madhya Pradesh assembly stated that in the year 2005 there were at least 1217 cases of gang rapes with Dalit women. What was more shocking in this was that out of these total rapes 726 rapes were committed on Dalit girls who were under 18 years of age.23 The similar incidents happened in Laxmanpur Bathe, Bihar in the year December 1997. The second reason why rape of Dalit women is caste violence is because, had Dalit women’s rape been only a sexual act, then the victim (Dalit Woman) would have been left alone after assault. However, it has been observed that the victimiser often desecrates the private parts of Dalit women after rape24 or they have even burnt them alive. The third reason to call Dalit women’s rape a caste act is because Dalit women are raped when they and their male counterparts or the Dalit community as a whole assert their fundamental and human rights enshrined in the Constitution of India or even demand their minimum wages. In this context Dalit women are raped to shatter the morale of every member of the caste by bringing shame to the whole community. Last but not least, reason to call Dalit women’s rapes a case of caste violence is that although all the Dalits are treated as untouchables, a Dalit woman becomes touchable for this heinous act of rape. All these acts and episodes amply prove the point that rape of Dalit women is qualitatively different from normal rape. The caste animosity and hatred is writ large.

Dalit women and biases of the court: Bhanwari Devi case The lack of enforcement of law leaves Dalit women unable to approach the legal system to seek justice. Women are often unaware of the laws; their ignorance is exploited by the so-called upper caste exploiters, by the local police, and by the judiciary as well.25 Even when the cases are registered, the lack of appropriate investigations or the Judge’s own caste can lead to acquittals even though the evidence and witnesses amply prove the crime. The failure to successfully persecute the guilty also allows for the crimes against Dalit women to continue unabated. And in the caste context it encourages the use of rape as a tool to punish and silence the whole Dalit community in the region. Bhanwari Devi’s case is a typical example of the influence of caste bias on the justice system and the inability of lower caste women to obtain justice. It is also a striking example of rape as a weapon of retaliation used to punish and silence women’s rights advocates. The nature of the district judge’s opinion sounded many alarms and the case itself was taken up by several women’s rights organization in North India. Bhanwari Devi, a Dalit woman, joined the Rajasthan Government’s Women’s Development Programme (WDP) called ‘SATHIN’ in 1985 as a grassroots worker. In April 1992, she reported the child marriage of the 149

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one-year-old daughter of Ram Karan Gujar to WDP authorities. The police came to the village and tried to stop the marriage, but family proceeded with the marriage ceremony. Angered by Bhanwari Devi’s reporting of their child’s marriage to the police, Gujars, on September 22, 1992, in the presence of her husband, gang raped her. When Bhanwari Devi tried to lodge an FIR, the police did not lodge her complaint and made the most inhumane remarks that she was too old and unattractive to merit the attention of young men. If that was the role of police, what did the lower court do? The trial judge acquitted the accused on the reasoning that, ‘rape is usually committed by teenagers, and since the accused are middle-aged and therefore respectable, they could not have committed the crime. An upper-caste man could not have defiled himself by raping a lower caste woman’.26 The third aspect of this case is that those accused of gangraping Bhanwari Devi also enjoyed political patronage. This was proved by the fact that a political leader of a right wing party organised a rally in support of the gangrape accused. Bhanwari Devi’s case, the way it was handled by police, the lower judiciary, and complicated by political patronage to accused, is not an isolated case. Such cases are rampant in different parts of the country. Hence, it can be clearly argued that the agony and trauma of Dalit women suffering from sexual violence increases manyfold because of biased police and local judiciary. This is further heightened because of political patronage rendered to the accused by the local political leaders, leaving the victim helpless.

Internal differentiation between Indian women and patriarchy On the basis of analysis of aforesaid types of violence suffered by Dalit Women, this chapter also tries to analyse the socio-political reality of Hindu Indian patriarchy. We are aware that usually Indian women and Indian patriarchy are considered a monolithic whole. But even then we can evolve an internal differentiation within the Indian patriarchy as we have done in highlighting the differences between the general caste and so-called upper caste women. On the basis of observed reality, we have seen above how so-called upper caste males perpetrate physical and sexual violence by collectively attacking Dalit localities (Bustees or neighbourhood). The upper caste males attack Dalit localities when the Dalit males and women ask for their legitimate rights from so-called upper castes. Secondly, when the so-called upper castes attack Dalit localities, they commit group rapes with Dalit women without caring for the age of the Dalit women. And this is done to break the moral of the whole community and suppress their assertion. Hence under these empirical realties we cannot equate so-called upper caste patriarchy with the Dalit patriarchy. We do not have any reported cases of such acts by the Dalit males. Hence, so long as such cases are not reported 150

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in the name of Dalit males, it will not be objective to equate the two patriarchies together.

Conclusion To conclude, we have demonstrated that Dalit women suffer various types of violence, harassment, ridicule, and humiliation in the Indian society. This chapter has tried to map violence because of occupation, tradition, verbal ridicules, physical violence, and sexual violence. The humiliation suffered by Dalit women because of their class, which forces them to beg, has also been highlighted in the chapter. The chapter has used different sources to make aforesaid points. In this we have specifically used Dalit women and male autobiographies, Dalit women biographies, empirical data collected from the field, and data collected from the government records. Why biographies and autobiographies become so important in highlighting the social condition of Dalit women. In this C Wright Mills has argued, ‘Social Sciences deal with problems of biography, of history, and their interactions within social structures. That these three – biography, history, society – are the coordinate points of the proper study of man’.27 Further, on the basis of facts, narratives, and figures, the chapter has successfully demonstrated that Dalit women are different from the so-called upper caste women. The difference has emerged because of structural location of Dalit women and the type of occupation Dalit women are forced to perform. They also differ because of the physical and sexual violence they face in the society. She is also different because of the social status of Devdasi, Dayan (witch), and Dai (midwife), which tradition has accorded to them. Last but not least the chapter also engages briefly with the nature of so-called upper caste patriarchy, which perpetrates atrocities on Dalit Women.

Notes 1 Kumar, V. ‘Dalits Studies: Continuities and Change.’ In Indian Sociology (Volume 3): Identity Communication and Culture (ICSSR Research Surveys and Explorations), edited by Y. Singh. New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2014. 2 Racine, J., and J-L. Racine. Viramma: Life of a Dalit. New Delhi: Social Science Press, 2005. 3 Ibid, pp. 311–312. 4 Pawar, U. The Weave of My Life: A Dalit Woman’s Memoirs. Kolkata: Stree, 2008, pp. 50–55. 5 Valmiki, O. Joothan: A Dalit’s Life. Kolkata: Samay, 2003, p. 11. 6 Kamble, B. The Prison We Broke, New Delhi: Orient Black Swan Private Limited, 2008, p. 140. 7 Edgar Thurston quoted in Rudolph, L., and S. Rudolph. The Modernity of Tradition: Political Development in India. New Delhi: Orient Longman, 1987, p. 39. 8 Arun, J. Constructing Dalit Identity. New Delhi: Rawat Publications, 2007. 9 Ibid.

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10 Briggs, G.W. The Chamars, republished in 1990 by Low Price Publications, New Delhi, 1920, pp. 44–45. 11 Singh, B. Unseen: The Truth about India’s Manual Scavengers (Translated from Hindi), New Delhi: Penguin Books, 2014, pp. 247–249. 12 Pinto, S. ‘Division of Labour: Rethinking the “Midwife” in Rural Uttar Pradesh, in Janet Chawla (ed.) Birth and Birth Givers the Power Behind the Shame. New Delhi: Har Anand Publications Pvt Ltd., 2006, p. 214. 13 Vijaisri, P. Recasting the Devadasi: Patterns of Sacred Prostitution in Colonial South India. New Delhi: Kanishka Publishers, Distributors, 2004. 14 Omvedt, G. Dalits and Democratic Revolution: Dr. Ambedkar and the Dalit Movement in Colonial India. New Delhi: Sage Publications, 1994, p. 27. 15 Vijaisri, P. Recasting the Devadasi: Patterns of Sacred Prostitution in Colonial South India, 2004. 16 Ibid. 17 Kumar, V. How Egalitarian Is Indian Sociology, Economic and Political Weekly, Vol. 51, Issue No. 25, 18 June 2016, Mumbai, India. 18 Waghmore, S. Civility against Caste: Dalit Politics and Citizenship in Western India, India: Sage Publications, 2013, p. 74. 19 Ibid. 20 Ibid., p. 75. 21 Teltumbde, A. Khairlanji: A Strange and Bitter Crop, New Delhi: Navayana Publishing, 2008. 22 See Kumar, V. Locating Dalit Women in the Indian Caste System, Media and Women’s Movement, Social Change: Journal of the Council for Social Development, Vol. 39, Issue No. 1, March 2009 and Kumar (2014). 23 Singh, B. Bhagwa Kaal Mein Julmo Sitiam, (Hindi), Outlook Saptahik, New Delhi, September 10, 2007, p. 28. 24 Teltumbde, A. Khairlanji: A Strange and Bitter Crop, 2008. 25 See notes 15 and 21. Also see Rege, S. As Pedagogical Practice: Claiming More Than Just a Little Place in the Academia. Chennai: Madras Institute of Development Studies, 2006. 26 Human Rights Watch. https://www.hrw.org/reports/1999/india/India994-11. htm#P2084_442121 (accessed on 13 June 2019). 27 Mills, C.W. The Sociological Imagination, Penguin, Harmondsworth, 1959, p. 59.

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8 A GENEALOGY OF MUSLIM FEMINISM IN MAHARASHTRA Systems and violence Deepra Dandekar

I present a Muslim-feminist perspective from urban Maharashtra (Mumbai) in this chapter, by framing my arguments within larger debates on Islamic feminism and experiences of everyday and systemic violence. I will first begin by defining Muslim feminism, and subsequently discuss links between Muslim women’s activism and the larger debates about Islamic feminism. By outlining two prominent Muslim-feminist perspectives from Maharashtra, I will demonstrate the conceptual applicability of Muslim feminism and feminist research methods to an analysis of systemic violence against Muslims and women within Hindu nationalist politics. I present Muslim feminism and its discourses as a palimpsest here, characterised by various overlapping interpretive layers, neither similar nor dissimilar to debates on Islamic feminism. In fact, I suggest that the Muslim feminist struggle coincides with the larger feminist resistance to patriarchal violence in Maharashtra, remaining configured to Muslim-minority politics at the same time. In other words, Muslim women seek gender equality within Islamic parameters and their activism intersects questions of gender, Islam and the local history of political movements. Drawing on the definition of tactics and strategy provided by de Certeau (pp. xvii–xix), I define Muslim feminism in urban Maharashtra as an everyday strategy characterised by daily negotiations between Muslims, the female body, and religious, economic, spatial, linguistic, regionally prevalent, familial, and ideological patriarchies.1 Muslim feminism is part of an everyday, collective struggle and activism that spans various minority interests in Mumbai to resist patriarchal and systemic violence. Muslim feminist activism is therefore specific to Muslim women’s unjust treatment within Islamic and non-Islamic patriarchy, and their role against hegemonic postcolonial identity-politics that produces a massively disadvantaged position

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for social minorities in Modern India. Muslim feminism in urban hubs and minority-religion ghettoes in Mumbai and Pune engage with additional questions of poverty alleviation, everyday economic survival, and access to basic municipality services.2 These interstitial struggles produce Muslim activism as a transformative political movement, embedded in various layers of ‘feminism’ that addresses rights-based disputes across Muslim and non-Muslim contexts, and across ideological, cultural, and historical inequalities. Before beginning, I would add a few lines about the feminist research methodology, which enabled me to undertake case studies exemplifying Muslim feminism in this chapter. Homi Bhabha provides a visual description of postcolonialism in the introduction chapter of his book, ‘The Location of Culture’, that can be applied to modern-day Muslim feminism. Bhabha (pp. 1–27) writes of the emergence of interstices and gaps that overlap and displace domains of pre-mapped cultural and linguistic differences.3 According to him, these interstitial gaps are spaces for negotiating collective and intersubjective experiences of community and its shared values. Bhabha points to how the representation of culture and language differences must therefore never be hastily read as reflections of pregiven ethnic or cultural traits, since the articulation of difference from the minority perspective is a complex negotiation that actually stages culturally hybrid identities. Speaking from his home city of Mumbai about Muslim minorities and the polarisation of Hindus and Muslims after the 1992 riots, Bhabha writes of the Dalit poet Prakash Jadhav and his use of vernacular cosmopolitanism and poetic metaphors, located at transitional boundary-lands. Bhabha identifies this boundary-land as represented by the underside of one of the most populated overhead bridges in Mumbai, the Dadar bridge that interconnects diverse cultural zones in the city and constitutes the poetic subject of intersubjectivity for Prakash Jadhav.

Links between Muslim activism and Islamic feminism To begin with, I cite Vatuk’s description (pp. 489–490)of Muslim activist groups located within a framework of Islamic feminism, while analyzing the rudiments of Muslim women’s activism in urban Maharashtra.4 Drawing mostly on her fieldwork with NGOs working on Muslim women’s rights in Mumbai, such as Awaaz-e-Niswaan, Vatuk describes Islamic feminism as a nascent political movement, aimed at achieving gender equality under Muslim personal law. According to Vatuk, Muslim feminists, while seeking gender justice, refer neither to constitutional aspects of Muslim personal law originally encoded by Muslim patriarchs, and nor to the universalistic principles of human rights that guide secular feminists campaigning for gender neutrality under the uniform civil code. Instead, Muslim feminists seek gender justice under Quranic authority by blaming the ulama for foisting patriarchal and hegemonic interpretations of the Quran 154

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on constitutional mechanisms used as instruments of oppression against women. According to Vatuk, Islamic feminism reflects a process by which religious authority becomes fragmented in a globalising Muslim world that witnesses an increase in mass education and questions clerical claims to authoritative knowledge. Though there is no doubting Vatuk’s accuracy in describing Muslim women’s activism, and NGOs such as Awaaz-e-Niswaan, I would differ with her in some respects. Though Muslim feminists certainly subscribe to specificities of anti-clerical interpretation, to say that this is only due to increased Westernised mass education in the postcolonial context would erase efforts towards and ideas of women’s reform in the colonial, and allege that uneducated and non-Westernised Muslims could never spearhead reform. Minault for example, demarcates the intellectual history of South Asian Muslim women’s reform from the mid-eighteenth century.5 Vatuk’s view that Muslim feminists do not adhere to the universal principles of feminism and to secular struggles against patriarchy also constructs Muslim feminists as Oriental. While I understand Vatuk’s intention of locating Muslim feminism within the larger struggle against Muslim patriarchy and the reinterpretation of Muslim personal law after 1947, her definition, which restricts Muslim women’s engagement to the reforming of Muslim law, produces Muslim feminism as a moderate reflection of Muslim reformism. Muslim feminism is more than just a variety of Muslim reform; it is instead fundamentally informed by other ‘feminisms’: discursive, universal, and secular feminist dissent, accompanied by a feminist ideology that helps to articulate the pitfalls of Muslim traditionalism. Muslim feminists use various minority-forums in India to resist systemic violence, since their struggle intersects larger anti-majoritarian and anti-patriarchal resistance movements. There are significant overlaps between secular feminists, Muslim feminists, Dalit feminists, and LGBT feminist activists in Mumbai, and these overlaps create multiple layers of ‘feminisms’ that share intersubjective interests about politically produced poverty, violence, racialisation, and minoritism. Ideological feminism therefore informs a confluence between Muslim feminists and Dalit or LGBT feminist activists, irrespective of Muslim women’s reinterpretation of the Quran. This sharing, confluence, and divergence indeed resembles a palimpsest, with activist groups co-informing one another. For example, Vatuk (pp. 499) herself describes how Awaaze-Niswaan mustered up a group of 100 demonstrating women holding cut-outs of maulanas with their faces crossed out, when demonstrating against the Tablighi Jamaat’s opposition to women’s customary singing at domestic ceremonies. While Tablighi values are characterised by Islamic reformism and are largely uniform, it is equally obvious that dissenting Muslim feminists have different ideas – not only about Islam and Muslim society but also about feminism, feminist activism, and the role of women. Again, despite disagreements, Muslim feminists are certainly informed about values upheld by the Tablighi Jamaat’ and therefore, their ideological divergence 155

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from the latter contribute to the formation of a discursive confluence within the local Muslim community. Possible links between local Muslim women activists and discursive Islamic feminism have been problematised by Schneider, who writes that local Muslim women activists hardly subscribe to a single ideologically driven, reformist movement labelled ‘Islamic feminism’.6 Pointing to early local Muslim activist groups preceding an Islamic feminist movement in India (emerging in the 1990s), Schneider claims that Muslim women agitating for their rights hardly refer to themselves as feminists. Again, differing with Schneider, I argue that later-day Muslim feminist ideas (despite being subsequent to early activism amongst Muslim women) had a strong impact on Muslim women’s rights movements. Later Islamic feminists hardly formed a separate and disconnected layer on top of an original ‘layer’ consisting of Muslim women’s activism, objectified as a singular Islamic process. Although debates about Muslim women, modernity, and feminism can be dated to the eighteenth century, the problematic of remaining uninformed by feminist discourses hardly constitutes ‘discontinuity’ for Muslim women activists in Maharashtra. Instead, their interaction with other feminists, reformists, or modernists creates a convergence within Muslim women’s groups, informing their everyday practice, activist tactics and strategy, their framework of rights being gradually transformed to more inclusive meaning-making. To summarise, both Schneider and Vatuk disagree about Muslim activism and it’s dis/association with Islamic feminism, though they agree with the alleged disconnection between Muslim women’s activism and mainstream/ secular feminism, which Schneider describes as a recent and specific ideological development. Schneider does not describe what this specific ideology exactly is, and neither scholar views the confluence between Muslim women’s activism and secular feminists as Muslim feminism. This ‘others’ Muslim feminists and erases their alliance with local feminists and activists in Maharashtra. Therefore, instead of differentiating between secular and non-secular feminists, and an essentialist notion of feminism, I would present the confluence between Muslim feminists, discursive feminism, and secular feminists/activists as a postcolonial relationship that enmeshes religious identity with women’s struggle for everyday needs, characterised by a sense of ‘continuity’. Minault describes the emergence of Muslim feminism as a women’s dissent movement against the patriarchal codification of Islamic law by the British (carried forward by the Muslim elites in India) that utilised information on customary and tribal traditions to produce a regressive model for the Muslim community.7 The rise of a postcolonial modernity that sought a return to Islamic texts led Muslim feminists to question the ulama, who codified Muslim personal law. These processes of questioning clerical authority, and reinterpreting/codifying Islam according to the tenets of gender equality, also expressed a variety of postcolonialism that desisted from producing binaries between modernity and tradition. The ‘return’ not 156

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only implied a return to Islamic texts but to their postcolonial rereading as well, as resources facilitating Muslim women’s everyday. Cooke’s definition of Islamic feminism (pp. 93–94) elucidates the nature of postcolonial Muslim feminism in India succinctly, by describing how Islamic feminists choose to work within the very systems that marginalized them.8 While they are viewed as victims, they use the language of their oppressors to subvert the power exercised over them. For Cooke, the subject of Islamic feminism is a double commitment that is internally juxtaposed, giving rise to the self-positioning of Muslim women that celebrates multiple belonging. This multiplicity of mutually exclusive identities creates radical subversion, demonstrating provocative and even oppositional acts of insubordination as a form of continuity. Those who do not explicitly define themselves as Islamic feminists refuse to be caged within political boundaries, as they claim to be strong women in their own traditions and resist the label of Westernisation. This strengthens them further within their communities as they link personal religion and political and individual gender identities with simultaneously contradictory alliances that resist globalisation, local nationalisms, Islamicisation, and patriarchal violence. For Cooke, Islamic feminist performances and practices are therefore on a continuum between ascribed identities of being ‘Muslim’ and achieved identities of being ‘Islamic’ or Westernised feminists. Islamic feminism is therefore a self-positioning that is committed to questioning, explaining, and reinterpreting Islamic epistemology – that is committed to expanding faith and not rejecting it. Muslim feminist activism in Mumbai was championed by Asghar Ali Engineer, who argued for the validity and modern applicability of ijtihad (interpretation) and ijma (consensus).9 According to Engineer, interpretation and consensus constituted instruments providing Muslims with a vital, modern, and dynamic model of transformative jurisprudence. Engineer criticised the cleric-centred cultures of Islam and their fostering of dependence on codified traditions and rigidly restrictive law schools. He instead, endorsed the Muslim need to live life without clerical interference and provided examples of how Muslim analogical reasoning or qiyas could be developed as jurisprudence more suited to the global age. Sikand has criticised Engineer, however, for his seemingly arbitrary and personal selection of what may be defined as the Islamic philosophical core. According to Sikand, Engineer’s definition of the Islamic core became increasingly rigid because of the latter’s claim of it being wrongly interpreted through history, due to which false interpretations became sacrosanct. Sikand argues that viewing Islam as a philosophical corpus is something that was even unintended by the Prophet, and Engineer, by so doing, reduces the history of Islamic interpretation, expression, and implementation to a historical and cultural journey that is unrelated to, and truncated from, the present. According to Sikand, this turns Engineer’s claims into yet another kind of reformist definition of Islam. However, Engineer is joined by other influential Muslim intellectuals from Maharashtra, 157

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such as Abdul Kader Mukadam, who takes inspiration from Engineer to denounce violence, Muslim minoritisation, patriarchy, Hindutva nationalism, and the narrowness of Muslim reformism.10 Their aim is largely shared by postcolonial feminists: resistance to systemic and patriarchal violence, meted out to minorities and women, by both Hindu and Muslim patriarchal agents. The common alliance between Muslim activists and feminists resisting patriarchal violence is well-represented in Hussain’s research.11 Hussain outlines the formation of Muslim demography in postcolonial times and analyses its intersection with women’s reproductive labour, as every mother, irrespective of religion, is considered the progenitor of her community’s labour force, and demographic voting power. Pointing to the similarity between Muslim and Hindu women and their common inability to assert sexual and reproductive choices, Hussain extends her argument to the impossibility of defining one kind of Indian Muslim identity either. Though Indian Muslims are treated as an undifferentiated minority, they are far from being undifferentiated. Viewing their Muslim-ness as undifferentiated, despite regional, class, and educational variations ‘others’ Muslim women’s identity as primarily religious and erases their interface with difficulties experienced by Hindu and non-Muslim women. Hussain demonstrates the shared interface between Hindu and Muslim women in terms of their common experience of being considered portals for community reproductive labour.

Hasina Khan and Hamid Dalwai I interviewed Hasina Khan in February 2015, and I considered her politics to represent the typical postcolonial feminist palimpsest aimed at ending patriarchal violence, collectively accompanied by other feminists. I discovered overlaps between her and Hamid Dalwai’s views that introduced national and regional Muslim belonging to the larger struggle of Muslim feminism, and I present a comparison between their views in this section that resonates internally, despite superficial differences. A powerful Muslim feminist and political activist, as well as an Ashoka Fellow, Hasina currently leads the Muslim Women’s Rights Network (a network of Muslim women’s organisations) initiated by Awaaz-e-Niswaan. In her interview, Hasina spoke at length about reinterpreting and codifying Muslim law according to an agenda that would suit Muslim women, inspired by LGBT activism. Additionally, she spoke of the positive role played by ‘soft’ traditional Muslim institutions (such as live-in Madrasas, Sufi shrines, and orphanages) that contributed to poverty-alleviation amongst those undergoing unfair treatment. She considered the attack these institutions come under from secular/non-Muslim groups, under rationalist pretexts, as covertly anti-Muslim.

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Codifying gender equality through the Quran is central for Hasina, since she opposes ‘othering’ discussions that associate constitutional equality between religious groups, with the uniform civil code. In the interview, she discussed how Islam and Muslims are wrongly accused of being regressive, while the same accusations are used as a convenient ploy to exploit Hindu women and to produce Hindu patriarchy as unmarked. She deliberated on various issues that falsely projected Hindus as exalted; projections that turned a blind eye to the prevalence of multiple marriages and concubinage amongst Hindus; and the absence of post-marital maintenance for women in Hindu religious law. She compared problems of women’s inheritance in Hindu marriages, and the difficulties encountered by them when fighting for the legal custody of their children with Muslim marriages that upheld Quranic rules of equal inheritance and maintenance for women. Hasina accused the popularly represented image of Muslims as regressive, to be communally inspired. Speaking about the prevalence of unregistered and arbitrary temple marriages amongst Hindus, she also described the widespread occurrence of domestic abuse, sexual violence, and purdah or veiling amongst Hindus that far exceeded the burka. Justifying the validity of choosing traditional Muslim institutions as resources in modern times-dargahs or Madrasas, Hasina spoke of reformist or anti-superstition movements as not constituting the only variety of postcolonial modernity; a reformist view, according to her, ignored that traditional institutional spaces such as dargahs sheltered and helped poor and destitute Muslims who were minorities in the Hindutva mainstream. As places of refuge for the helpless, dargahs fed the poor and provided them with a succour that government institutions should be responsible for. Viewing traditional institutions as not just religious, Hasina considered them community providers who subverted majoritarian politics and provided reprieve for ghettoes and slums, where the poor and disempowered, denied government support, lived in marginalised situations, outside the mainstream. Muslims were thus forced to protect themselves from discrimination and riots by seeking shelter in traditional institutions, such as dargahs, and by expressing their modern-religious belonging to Islam by participating in and organizing reading circles/libraries. One example of this was the Awaaze-Niswaan office in Mumbra that ran a library for Muslim girls and created a space for their self-expression. Recounting her individual experiences of crisis as an adolescent finishing school, Hasina recalled spending a few days in ritual introspection at the dargah of Mira Datar (Mumbai), described as marked by rituals and an inner transformation that allowed her to regain her old vigour. Discussing the role of caste amongst Muslims, Hasina recounted family adherence to the loharjaat (blacksmith caste). Her original surname being Kolekar, her family migrated to Mumbai from regions around Kolhapur.

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Hasina described the stifling experiences of this caste-diaspora by recounting how jaat members gathered regularly in the locality, in front of their house, to pass binding judgments on caste members, deemed malefactors. While these binding judgements were based on customary and patriarchal values important for village traditions, these were disconnected from Islam. Hasina said that her career as a Muslim activist-feminist began by opposing traditional jaat rules and by escaping the claustrophobia of the oppressive framework; she later helped others to do the same. Her final liberation was heralded by changing her surname from Kolekar to Khan. She consciously exercised feminist agency to reject the oppressive remnants of Hindu caste practice amongst those Muslims, who had once occupied feudalistic casteoccupations in rural society. It was with feminist pride that Hasina claimed a modern Muslim woman’s identity that challenged Muslim patriarchy and Hindu dominance simultaneously. Hasina’s story quintessentially represents postcolonial Muslim feminism-an activism straddling Islam and secular feminism. Her activism is interstitial and like a palimpsest, characterised by various ideologies and identities overlapping one another, wherein her feminist agency shapes her everyday life as a Muslim woman. Even as Hasina advocates gender justice, she remains aware of the violation women face, within comparative patriarchies, and this becomes the basis for her public exhortations to cease the stereotyping of Islam and Muslims. Since Hasina’s views superficially contradict Hamid Dalwai, I will briefly explain why I paired them together in this section, and how I see their ideas as constituting a genealogy. Dalwai was the first Muslim modernist to articulate Muslim feminist values in the Marathi vernacular.12 He denounced women’s historical subordination in village societies that were feudal and exploitative and viewed women as community-objects. Writing extensively about the violence faced by women in their village societies, during the Partition, he imagined the modern Muslim feminist as educated, empowered, and free from her feudal bondage, as an intellectual contributor to both modern Muslim society and India. Dalwai denounced Hindutva-wadis in equal measure to regressive Muslim conservatism, as do Muslim feminists, demonstrating against both Hindu nationalists and Muslim reformists, who seek to define women’s position in Muslim and Indian society from a masculine perspective. It was not until the next generation of Muslim feminist stalwarts such as Hasina Khan that Dalwai’s imagination of empowered Muslim feminists could come true. There are important continuities between Dalwai and postcolonial Muslim feminism that produces them as parts of an overlapping palimpsest – the representatives of a genealogy for Muslim feminism in Maharashtra. However, Hasina considered Dalwai’s opinions idealistic; he belonged to an earlier generation and she considered his opinions, emerging from the historical moment of Indian independence and Partition too optimistic and unrealistic, as he called for the acceptance of Muslim modernists  in Hindu-majority  in  India. 160

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Hasina  lives and works in the same city two generations after Dalwai, where his dream of Hindu-Muslim modernity and unity with feminist ideals is now embittered and lies shattered, and where postcolonial religious identity becomes Hasina’s only instrument of interstitial liberation and solidarity against a far larger, abstract, and diffused religious patriarchy. Hamid Dalwai (1932–1977) was born into a rural Konkani Muslim family (a village near Chiplun, Ratnagiri). His modernist and feminist views were strong and coloured by the formation of Pakistan and the violence of Partition. For Dalwai, whose opinions are summarised by Guha in 2011, traditionalist Muslim patriarchy is an obstacle to Muslim modernity.13 In Indhan (Fuel), his Marathi novel, translated by Chitre in 2002, Dalwai depicts the suffering of women in Muslim traditionalism and patriarchy in static, caste-based, and rural Konkani life.14 He describes them as helpless and passive victims of patriarchal-religious violence, exploited by both Hindu and Muslim men, and eventually massacred in the Partition riots of the Bombay presidency. Dalwai remains one of the most influential Muslim modernists of Maharashtra, and his ideas gave rise to an entire generation of Muslim activism and the establishment of the Muslim Satyashodhak Mandal (Muslim Truth-Seeking Society) in 1970. Dalwai’s ideas on nation, modernity, and religion, and the role played by modern Islam in postcolonial Maharashtra, are the first vernacular contributions to the political positionality of Muslims and Muslim women in socio-linguistic movements such as the Sanyukta Maharashtra Andolan (in the 1960s to unite Maharashtra as a cultural, linguistic, and political area). Dalwai denounces Muslim patriarchal Islamism as a violent missionary approach that converts non-Muslims, and that is based on a false nostalgia for lost Mughal grandeur that imagines independent Islamic states – to exist within the framework of the modernnation-state: a disconnected state within a state. Dalwai criticises the Deobandi rejection of English education and modernity as a symptom of Muslim insularity, backwardness, and victimhood, even as he praises Sir Syed Ahmed Khan as one of the few Muslim visionaries of his time, as an activist and scholar capable of embracing education and modernity. However, even while viewing Jinnah as an extension of Sir Syed Ahmed’s modernity, Dalwai expresses disappointment with Pakistan, since he feels that many Muslims missed the opportunity of modernizing their villages and rural traditions in India that were now left for Hindus, who had no interest in developing Muslim society. There are similarities between Hasina and Dalwai, since their views constitute an internally superimposed genealogy. Both Hasina and Dalwai identify rural Muslim practices imbued by the nostalgia for a premodern state as patriarchal and imbued with rural customary practices of caste-exploitation, communal insularity, and the claustrophobic gender oppression of clan and occupational jaat groups that Hasina broke away from. There are differences between them too, since Hasina’s efforts are mainly concentrated on empowering Muslim women, rather than in an interest in modern Hindu-Muslim 161

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parity. Dalwai’s dream of a modern parity lost its failing battle, after Muslims became an Indian minority subject to the Partition. However, Hasina does fulfil Dalwai’s dream of a Muslim feminist, who makes strong political choices against regressive rural and feudal traditions and religious patriarchies.

The case study of Zoya15 This section demonstrates systemic violence and its resistance in Muslim women’s lives in Maharashtra even for undeclared feminists, such as Zoya.16 Zoya held an Urdu-medium Master’s degree in Chemistry from a Muslim college for girls in Pune and, although she looked traditional and wore a burka, I soon discovered that she had a bike and rode it at enormous speed. Her mother Fauziya, was a single mother, and she was a residential schoolteacher in Panchgani. She therefore seldom found the time to visit Pune. Zoya, her elder brother Salman, and sister-in-law Heena lived with their 93-year-old grandfather in a small Muslim ghetto in Pune. I met Zoya in Pune, while researching Sufi dargahs in coastal Maharashtra (Konkan). My department in Germany thought that it might be promising for me to learn Urdu, since I was conducting research on Islam and Sufism. And this would probably have proved beneficial, too, had I not been interested in Konkani Sufi shrines and vernacular expressions of Marathi Islam, differentiated from North Indian Islam, Urdu-Persian linguistic traditions, and SultanateMughal history. Konkani Muslims enjoy a different historical trajectory of having arrived in Western Maharashtra via the sea-route as traders from the Arabian Peninsula in the tenth century CE. Having adapted better to the Marathi vernacular, Konkani Muslims feel disconnected from North Indian Islam, its Urdu-Persian heritage, and its participation in the two-nation theory, and Muslim identity based on this.17 Konkani dargahs, and the Islamic law-school they follow, are also different from North Indian Muslims, since they adhere to an origin associated with Arabia and not to Iran, Afghanistan, or Turkey.18 They have been utilised by the Shiv-Sena in modern Maharashtra as loyal-to-India and ‘good’ Muslims, compared to North Indian Muslim migrants to Mumbai, who are viewed as Urdu-speaking infiltrators, associated with two-nation politics.19 Konkani Muslims marginalise Urduspeaking North Indian migrants such as Zoya, since they do not share a historical background in Maharashtra.20 This discrimination adds a second layer of oppression to the North Indian, migrant, and female Muslim identity, since the latter is considered rootless in Maharashtra and increasingly identified with impoverished areas and ghettoes that have little access to government services, and are vulnerable to rioting. North Indian migrant Muslims are often demonised as violent convertors, jihadists, and conquerors and it is not uncommon to encounter Hindu nationalist labels such as ‘mini-Pakistan’ for Muslim ghettoes in Maharashtra.21

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Zoya was a North Indian Muslim, whose family was predictably considered a minority amongst Konkani and Marathi Muslims, and she lived in a ghetto, identified as an Urdu-speaking, North Indian migrant area. The family had settled in Pune after her grandfather’s last posting in the British army at the Pune cantonment, and he was proud of his much-mended uniform that he had last worn to work 70 years ago and continued to wear on all formal occasions.22 The family originally hailed from Bareilly, but Zoya and Fauziya had adopted many Marathi ways such as speaking in Marahi and Dakkhani and wearing saris. Zoya initially taught me the Urdu alphabet and later we began visiting dargahs together for my fieldwork. She was understandably not too enthusiastic about my project on Konkanis, though she strongly believed that Sufis were holy men from the past, who had intercession powers in the present. She remained ambivalent with the attention we attracted from the Marathi Muslims and Hindus, who gathered around us at every shrine when we visited, since she was repeatedly asked questions about her Marathi belonging. Zoya found the Konkani aspect of Sufi shrines difficult, especially its vernacular expressions that were far removed from the North Indian Muslim aesthetic. She would pour over some of the Marathi hagiographies we collected, a pile of Urdu dictionaries next to her, our Urdu-alphabet textbooks forgotten. She was unable to read the Konkani written in Nastaliq script and this flummoxed her. This was a challenging time for Zoya and me. Zoya began comparing smaller Konkani dargahs, which were often housed in little huts, with what she called ‘real’ Sufi shrines at Ajmer or Nizamuddin Auliya. She also took me visiting to larger shrines and looked on in triumph, as I wondered at their grandeur. She suggested good places for photographs and dispensed small lectures on Sufi shrines. She looked on in suspicion as Konkani Mujawars (shrine-ritualists at dargahs) chatted with me in Marathi, using common cultural idioms that ignored the more familiar Muslim behavioural rules of tehzeeb and gender markers that comforted her. These were important cultural markers of difference for Zoya’s marginalised identity, as she sought dignity as a North Indian Muslim woman in Maharashtra. Urdu and the burka were symbols of Zoya’s difference, and she felt isolated when these symbols were not shared by Konkani Muslims. The latter spoke neither Urdu, nor wore the burka, and were not allied with North Indian roots or North Indian Muslim surnames. I continued learning Urdu with Zoya, however, and she would tease me endlessly about being Hindu and Marathi. She teased me about my boring food, made from pumpkin, and suggested that eating ‘cow’ would change my life. On other days, when we went for fieldwork, she would set me small reading tests by pointing to Urdu signposts. Her greatest pleasure lay in dressing me in one of Fauziya’s burkas and telling people that my name was Ameena chachi (aunty), who was 50 years old and lived in Muscat. I too grew accustomed

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to the comfort and anonymity of Fauziya’s burka, as no one looked at us any longer in Zoya’s neighbourhood. Zoya blamed the systemic violence and exclusion faced by North Indian Muslim women like her on the politically integrated Konkani Muslims, who had endeared themselves to Marathi Hindus, rather than integrate with ‘real’ North Indian Muslims. According to Zoya, only ‘real’ North Indian Muslim women defied Hindutva stereotypes and epitomised Muslim emancipation and education, though this went unrecognised because of the Konkani Muslim betrayal. The North Indian Muslim burka and Urdu symbolised ‘otherness’ to both Hindus and Muslims in Maharashtra. This exclusion in Maharashtra also affected Zoya’s wedding plans. Zoya was already 27, and her family story was tragic. A pregnant Fauziya had been abandoned with a one-year-old son by her husband at 17, and, having nowhere to turn but to her retired father, who had worked in the British army, she returned to Pune and picked up her old life. Soon she finished her teacher’s-training course successfully and secured a transferable government job as an Urdu-medium schoolteacher for science. But this meant that she was frequently transferred across Maharashtra to different government schools. She brought up her children with her father, which she found very difficult, since they were poor. She had worked in different government schools for 15 years by the time I came to know Zoya, and the family had purchased a small and modern apartment outside the ghetto, in a Muslim housing society, where Salman and Heena lived. Once Zoya was married, Fauziya’s responsibilities would lessen. Fauziya had discouraged Zoya from learning English and from adopting a fashionable lifestyle, like local girls. Instead, the emphasis had been on education; even the bike had come after much insistence. Fauziya had been afraid that Zoya would be judged as the daughter of a single mother; people would accuse her of immorality, if she were too fashionable. But now, all the ‘good’ boys had passed Zoya by, and, for Fauziya, this quintessentially demonstrated Muslim patriarchal bias against single women and their children; she took Zoya’s experiences of rejection very personally. But she was also afraid of conservative and reformist Muslim families, who could dominate Zoya’s personal choices and intimate decisions, even if they tolerated Zoya’s simplicity. They could be covert Islamists, who would not allow her to exercise physical mobility and freedom or undertake further education; she was afraid they would curtail Zoya’s freedom to wear ‘Indian’ clothes – saris, colourful clothes, or jewelry. Zoya herself was unsympathetic to the reformist cause, labelling Tablighis and Jamaatis ‘chaubees number’ (number 24), an epithet that she could not explain but one I suspected was a transformed version of ‘charsobees’ (article 420, for trickster or fraudster in the Indian Penal Code). We laughed as she pointed out examples of ‘chaubees number’ to me, to characterise men she did not want to associate with. Men with long and unkempt henna-dyed beards and no moustaches, 164

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men with mascara, men with calloused foreheads, who stuffed snuff into hairy noses, men with stained and bad tobacco-teeth; men with short trousers, men with checked and tasseled scarves draped over their shoulders: all these men fell into Zoya’s chaubees. But Fauziya remained worried. If they searched for a boy in the Gulf, Zoya’s family would not have the money to compete with their ways. Neither could Zoya have an independent career. Urdu had no future, unless Zoya was sent to Pakistan. And Fauziya was against Zoya losing her Indian belonging and becoming trapped in an unknown country. She had heard many frightening stories about such alliances. While Urdu for Muslim girls sometimes made them attractive wives, Muslims themselves had become so poor that a girl with only Urdu skills became a burden, unless the family lived abroad and was rich. But then, if he was a foreigner, one could never check on his honesty. What if he already had a wife or two, and children? How would Zoya return home if she got into trouble abroad, as Fauziya had once fallen into a trap and returned to her father? Fauziya concocted horror stories. Heena, the new daughter-in-law, had brought Zoya a proposal, but Fauziya did not want to unbalance her relationship with her new daughter-in-law by taking a favour, and making her own daughter look pitiable and small in front of a daughter-in-law. Worse still, there had been an improper proposal. The family was good, but the boy had shown an improper amount of personal interest in Zoya and sought to meet her personally. This had raised Fauziya’s hackles as she viewed his improper advances as a mark his forwardness and as a personal insult, aimed at her for being a single mother. Perhaps he considered Fauziya and her daughter Zoya immoral? Although a cousin had checked the boy’s credentials and confirmed that his background was sound, Fauziya rejected him and pronounced him as untrustworthy as her own husband had been. But it looked as though the boy had kindled Zoya’s interest and this irritated Fauziya even more. Zoya made a face at me behind Fauziya’s back, when Fauziya repeatedly told me that she would never go back on her decision to reject his proposal: main thooka hua nahi chaatati (I don’t lick spittle)! Amidst all these contradictions, Zoya hardly found any space to express her own desires. She could not say whether she was willing to marry outside the city, region, or country. If she said yes, she was betraying Fauziya and abandoning her; if she said no, she was growing older and increasing Fauziya’s burdens by remaining unmarried. She felt both guilty and angry. She was forced to choose her mother’s version of their life journey: a story of sacrifice and survival. At the same time, she wanted to be free of that story and get married, since she was sick of being stigmatised as old and unmarriageable within the local Muslim community. Her choice as a migrant woman assumed a far darker metaphorical meaning of fear, loss, and family separation than was normally experienced by a Muslim girl, who still enjoyed village, clan, and cultural networks that would support her 165

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mother and her. Zoya and Fauziya were trapped between their identity as North Indian Muslims and their increasingly piquant ties with Maharashtra as minorities and migrants that often challenged their safety and dignity. Fauziya’s interstitial social location of being a single and independent mother, abandoned by her husband, was so painful that she found all those who did not understand her journey, insulting; their ‘flashy’ forwardness erasing her personal struggle for dignity and stability.

Conclusion Linking the intellectual genealogy and debates over Muslim feminism with Zoya and Fauziya’s stories suggests a trajectory of Muslim women operating within a larger framework. This framework straddles an awareness of women’s rights, an awareness of local, plural religious systems, plural linguistic registers, and a global Muslim community that produces Muslim ‘belonging’ in several ways. The commonly experienced desire that Muslim women confronted, whether Zoya, Fauziya, or Hasina, was their co-informed struggle to find a safe niche, where they could find dignity as women, and freedom from oppression as Muslims. Their everyday endeavour, to survive oppression and poverty as Muslim women, was characterised by inhabiting an interstice defined by power within interpersonal relationships, within families and activist groups. As Muslims, they demanded their rights and entitlements as minorities in Maharashtra. As women, they demanded freedom from Muslim patriarchy, reformist groups, and from Hindu nationalists. As poorer migrants, they demanded their rights against Konkani Muslims in Maharashtra and richer Gulf Muslims. Finally, every Muslim woman, with multiple alliances across ideological, vernacular, familial, religious, and migrant/non-migrant affinities created her own interstitial space that countered and resisted systemic violence. And it was this interstitial space that resembled a multilayered palimpsest of multiple histories, experiences, ideologies, and subjectivities. At last, I sum up my relationship with Muslim feminism and my interviewees. My relationship with Hasina, Zoya, and Fauziya resembled Prakash Jadhav’s Dadar Bridge that I mentioned at the beginning of this chapter, as a rather visual analogy of hybrid interstitiality described by Homi Bhabha. Researching Konkani Sufi-Islam in Maharashtra constituted a normative beginning for me. However, my research soon led me to bridge the Muslim politics of belonging in Maharashtra with patriarchal systems of violence and feminist resistance against it. The underside of this analogical bridge contained many aspects: learning Urdu, wearing the burka, and whizzing around with Zoya on the back of her bike, yelling salaam alekum at passersbys. I often felt like a Hindu interloper, intertwining myself as an onlooker to the hybrid mosaic of Zoya’s life: sometimes a woman, sometimes a Muslim, sometimes a poor migrant, sometimes a decorous North 166

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Indian, sometimes a modern resident of Pune, sometimes an Urdu speaker, sometimes Marathi, and sometimes a conflation of all this. It was a design that eluded me, because it was so deeply interstitial. It consisted of many overwritten, layered identities that couldn’t essentialise Zoya’s location to it, by fixing it to any one attribute: neither completely migrant, nor Marathi, neither feminist, but deeply critical of Hindu and Muslim patriarchy, neither completely poor, nor rich, and not an adherent of either Islamic reformism or Konkani Islam. Finally, as the days passed, and the time for my departure to Germany drew close, Zoya expressed sadness. Besieged by an everincreasing anxiety about marriage and her inability to find a husband and a ‘real’ home, she felt that she was losing someone she could confide in, even if I hadn’t gained from learning Urdu. I expressed sadness about leaving my familiar home in India and confronting the reality of becoming a coloured migrant in Europe once again. Zoya presented me with an embroidered handkerchief as a parting gift, and I went with Zoya and Fauziya for the last time to a nearby dargah, where we tied ritual wish threads and embraced each other.

Notes 1 Michel de Certeau, The Practice of Everyday Life, London: University of California Press, 1984. 2 Qudsiya Contractor, ‘Quest for Water: Muslims at Mumbai’s Periphery’, Economic and Political Weekly, 2012, 47(29): 61–67. 3 Homi K. Bhabha, The Location of Culture, London and New York: Routledge, 1994. 4 Sylvia Vatuk, ‘Islamic Feminism in India: Indian Muslim Women Activists and the Reform of Muslim Personal Law’, Modern Asian Studies, 2008, 42(2): 489–518. 5 Gail Minault, ‘South Asia: Mid-18th to Early 20th Century’, in Suad Joseph (ed.), Encyclopedia of Women & Islamic Cultures, Volume 1: Methodologies, Paradigms and Sources, Leiden-Boston: Brill, 2003, 176–185. 6 Nadia-Christina Schneider, ‘Islamic Feminism and Muslim Women’s Rights Activism in India: From Transnational Discourse to Local Movement: Or Vice Versa?’, Journal of International Women’s Studies, 2009, 11(1): 56–71. 7 Gail Minault, ‘Women, Legal Reform and Muslim Identity in South Asia’, in Mushirul Hasan (ed.), Islam, Communities and the Nation: Muslim Identities in South Asia and Beyond, New Delhi: Manohar Publishers, 1998, 139–158. 8 Miriam Cooke, ‘Multiple Critiques: Islamic Feminist Rhetorical Strategies’, Nepantla: Views from the South, 2000, 1(1): 91–110. 9 Yoginder Sikand, ‘Asghar Ali Engineer’s Quest for a Contextual Islamic Theology’, in Yoginder Sikand (ed.), Muslims in India since 1947: Islamic Perspectives on Inter-Faith Relations, London: Routledge, 2004, 12–30. 10 Deepra Dandekar, ‘Abdul Kader Mukadam: Political Opinions and a Genealogy of Marathi Intellectual and Muslim Progressivism’, in D. Dandekar and Torsten Tschacher (eds.), Islam, Sufism and Everyday Politics of Belonging in South Asia, London: Routledge, 2016, 177–195. (a). 11 Sabiha Hussain, Exposing the Myths of Muslim Fertility: Gender and Religion in a Resettlement Colony of Delhi, New Delhi: Promila & Co. Publ, 2008.

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12 Hamid Dalwai, Muslim Politics in Secular India, Bombay: Nachiketa Publications, 1968. 13 Ramachandra Guha, Makers of Modern India, Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2011. 14 Hamid Dalwai, Fuel, New Delhi: National Book Trust, 2002. 15 I have changed names and identity-markers, wherever necessary. 16 I first presented Zoya’s case-study at the International Kosmos Workshop at Humboldt University, Berlin (Identities, Agency and Fieldwork Methodologies in Risky Environments) in July 2016. 17 Deepra Dandekar, ‘Margins or Center? Konkani Sufis, India and “Arabastan”’, in K. Mielke and Anna-Katarina Hornidge (eds.), Area Studies at the Crossroads: Knowledge Production after the Mobility Turn, New York: Palgrave, Macmillan, 2017, 141–156. 18 Momin Mohiuddin, Muslim Communities in Medieval Konkan (610–1900 A.D.), New Delhi: Sundeep Prakashan, 2002. 19 Vaibhav Purandare, Bal Thackeray and the Rise of the Shiv Sena, New Delhi: Roli Books, 2012. 20 Deepra Dandekar, ‘Mumbai keAuliya: The Sufi Saints Makhdoom Ali Mahimi (Mumbai) and Hajji Malang (Mumbai-Kalyan) in Songs and Hagiography’, ZeitschriftfürIndologie und Südasienstudien, 2015/2016, (32–33): 233–256. (b). 21 Vazira Fazila-Yacoobali Zamindar, The Long Partition and the Making of Modern South Asia: Refugees, Boundaries and Histories, New York: Columbia University Press. 22 Nile Green, Islam and the Army in Colonial India: Sepoy Religion in the Service of Empire, New York: Cambridge University Press, 2009.

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9 HIJRAS India’s third gender between discrimination and recognition Renate Syed

In contrast to Western cultures, India has acknowledged from its beginnings until today a ‘third gender’, which in Sanskrit is called tritiya prakrti. There is already mention of third gender people, or keshavas, in texts of the Vedic period in the second millennium BCE – for example, in Atharvaveda 8.16 (about 1000 BCE) and in Shatapathabrahmana (about 800 BCE). The latter Brahmana, which explains the Vedic ritual by means of mythology, philosophy, and etymology, defined the keshava as na va esha stri na puman yat keshava (‘neither woman nor man, (is) the long-haired one’) (5.1.2.14). Moreover, Vedic and Sanskrit grammars recognised three grammatical genders, male (puns), female (stri), and neuter (napunsaka), and this linguistic triad was transferred to biology: people who were ‘neither woman nor man’, or na va esha stri na puman, were identified as the ‘neuter sex’ and called na-punsaka (‘not-man-ish’ or ‘neuter’).1 The principal self-designation of today’s Hijras, or third gender people, as ‘not man, not woman’ (na mard na aurat/na purush na stri) in Urdu and Hindi is still the same. The Vedic term keshava means ‘the long-haired one’, kesha denoting the long hair of head; keśavas were described as anatomically male people who preferred female hairstyles, clothing, and accessories, and who danced and acted ‘like women’ (stri-vat). Today’s Hijras, who also wear their hair long, have ‘female’ hairstyles, female clothing, and jewelry, and who use an ‘effeminate’ body language, still keep these traditions.2 Many ancient Indian texts – such as legal books, Dharmashastras, medical treatises such as the Samhitas by the physicians Caraka and Sushruta, the Kama Sutra, which is the standard work on human erotic and sexual behaviour, and the epic Mahabharata – mentioned third gender people, using four designations in Sanskrit, keshava, napunsaka, kliba, and shandha, the last two being of later usage and unknown etymology. Third gender people called themselves ‘Hijras’ in the medieval period, which is a word of unknown descent. Considered a biological sex comparable to the male and 169

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the female sex, third gender people were portrayed in medical discourses as being innocent of having caused their biological state. In contrast, they were seen in religious and mythological contexts such as the Mahabharata and the Puranas as suffering a predestined fate, as now being punished for the bad karma that they had acquired in their former life by violating the dharma, i.e., law, order, or duty. Legal texts such as the Manusmriti declared third gender people to be impure and ill-omened because of their infertility and their inability to create offspring, and excluded them from temples, rituals, rites, and inheritance. In ancient India as well as today, they are also feared because of their power both to bless and to place curses, as they are believed to have magical power given to them by their goddess Bahucara Mata in compensation for their disadvantages and suffering. They were and still are seen as potential transmitters of energies, both benevolent and malevolent, and making them angry might be dangerous; therefore, society has always treated them in a highly ambivalent way, pitying, shunning, and ridiculing them. Third gender people have suffered gender-based structural discrimination as well as individual discrimination.

Biological discrimination The medical treatises Carakasanhita, Sushrutasanhita, the Manusmriti,3 and other writings from the first centuries CE viewed the third gender as being acquired at the moment of conception; the term tritiya prakriti (‘third nature’) shows that their state was perceived as ‘natural’ and not acquired by circumstances or disease; therefore, it was considered as immutable as the three genders in language. According to ancient Indian medical theory, different mixtures of male and female fluids or semen (the woman was believed to possess a semen-like fluid, too) constituted the biological sex; the dominance of the father’s semen in quantity and quality created masculinity in the form of a son, a child of male body and male soul, which together formed the male identity (puns-svabhava), svabhava literally meaning ‘self-being’. In contrast, dominance of the mother’s generative fluid in quantity and quality brought forth femininity in the shape of a daughter, which was a child of female body and female soul; the female possessed the female identity (strisvabhava). An approximate or absolute equality in quantity and quality of father’s semen and mother’s seminal fluid produced a third gender child with equal components of masculinity and femininity, or a human being with a male body and a female soul, or a female body and a male soul.4 The third gender child was therefore seen as different from the two other sexes, since in the third gender child neither masculinity nor femininity was dominant; rather, both were mixed together and created antagonistic effects. Today’s Hijras still declare themselves badan mard, ruh aurat (‘male body, female soul’), and some, but not all, speak of inner tensions or an unstable identity based on the irreconcilable antagonism between mind and body. Since 170

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the third sex was defined in biological terms, third gender people were not treated as abnormal or pathological in ancient India, but they were nevertheless not spared from rejection and exclusion.

Psychological discrimination The ancient Indian patriarchal concept and gender hierarchy declared man’s domination over woman as a natural and God-given eternal law; man was believed to be superior in body, brain, psyche, abilities, and aspirations, man being the measure of all beings. The male svabhava (identity or inherent nature) was considered superior to the female svabhava, and man also dominated third gender people, since their svabhava was seen as flawed like the female svabhava. Third gender people were avoided as they were seen as psychologically ambiguous due to their ‘undecided’, unstable, and fluctuating svabhava, in which masculinity and femininity were seen as mixed up in different quantities, creating mental disturbances or disorder. The contradiction between body and soul or mind was believed to be a source of constant tension, strain, and disruption, which had a negative and disturbing influence on the third gender person’s psyche and environment. This assumed ambiguity and unstable identity made third gender people (like disabled or mentally handicapped people) unpredictable, unethical, and dangerous. But, discrimination against women seems to have been even harsher; from the male perspective, third gender people could be avoided, whereas women had to be lived with and therefore posed a constant danger to men. Females, seen as seductresses and at risk of being seduced by other men, therefore stood under the constant surveillance and control of their male kin: Manu, the law giver in Manusmriti 9.3, determined that a woman had to obey her father and her brothers when she was young, and her husband and her sons in later life. There was intercourse, social and sexual, between men and third gender people, as the Kama Sutra 2.9 and other texts prove, but these contacts were initiated by men voluntarily and took place sporadically and in safe places, hidden from public view. Third gender people were left alone as long as they did not create trouble in public; they lived amongst themselves in their own houses, bothered no one and did not want to be bothered.

Social discrimination Considered ‘not woman, not man’, third gender people could live neither amongst women nor amongst men, and had to leave their families of origin, as the family (kula) was the space of the close-knit patriarchal two-sex gender order, defined by marriage and the duty of procreation, and third gender people did not fit into this dichotomy. Being neither son5 nor daughter, third gender children were considered a disturbing factor in the family, clan, and caste; the parental shock of discovering that a ‘son’ was a third gender child 171

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often caused an emotional distance to the child. Having such a child, like having a daughter, was seen as a karmic punishment for their parents and therefore a source of shame and guilt. Ancient Indian culture, like patriarchy in general, favoured sons over daughters; ‘the son is heaven, the daughter a misery’, says the old Aitareyabrahmana,6 so third gender children, when the ‘outing’ came, were a profound disappointment. Ancient Indian society was focused on marriage, fertility, and progeny; third gender people, who could not marry because of their precarious gender status and lack of contact with females, had no offspring and therefore could not continue kula, gotra, and vansha (family, clan, and tribe) or fulfil their obligations towards devas (gods), pitris (forefathers), and parents. They were therefore treated with ambivalence, fear, and rejection. According to Mahabharata 8.30.70, for example: ‘The dirt of humankind are the barbarians, the cheats are the dirt of the barbarians, the dirt of the cheats are the third gender people (shandhas)’. Third gender children had to leave behind family, name, caste, and their ascribed male gender and identity, and join the Hijra community, which lived in special houses. Their exclusion from the public domain, and their confinement to semi-public spaces, led to a certain invisibility, which prevails even today; Zia Jaffrey thus calls the Hijras in the title of her study ‘The Invisibles’.

Sexual discrimination Third gender people are mentioned as sex workers in the Kama Sutra 2.9. Here they are praised for offering special sexual services, especially auparishtaka or oral sex, which women were not willing to perform, as the text says. According to the Kama Sutra, some third gender people dressed, acted, and performed like women, while others appeared in male clothing and displayed male body language and behaviour; third gender people are spoken of as females, ‘she’ (Sanskrit sā), instead of ‘he’ (sah); today, Hijras speak of themselves using female grammatical forms. They were accused by society of having sex for reasons not of procreation but of recreation, sex with men and other Hijras, sex for fun, which was considered immoral. Because of their work as prostitutes serving male customers, third gender people were considered shameless and immoral and kept away from women and children. Even today, contact between women and Hijras is infrequent and accidental.

Ethical discrimination According to ancient Indian theory, third gender people possess no morals or ethics and were likened to women, gamblers, and criminals; they were described as fickle, frivolous, audacious, obscene, and bold, and were believed to lie and to be unreliable, and were therefore not allowed to give witness 172

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in court. Third gender people were accused of possessing no manly power or bravery, as many texts declare (for example, Mahasubhashitasamgraha 9326 and Pancatantra 1.158). Klaibya, derived from kliba, means impotence, weakness, cowardice; so, in Bhagavadgita 2.3, Krishna instructs the warrior Arjuna to give up klaibya (‘unmanliness’), which was the behaviour of a coward, and to begin fighting.

Ritual discrimination Manusmriti in 3.239 says: ‘A candala (a member of a special caste), a boar, a cock, a dog, a menstruating woman, and a third gender person, shandha, should not look at twice-born people’. The animals and people mentioned are considered ashuddha (‘unclean’) and ashubha (‘unpleasant’), so even their presence and looks were regarded as disturbing and contaminating.7 The ‘Impure’, which belongs neither to heaven nor to earth, is the kliba, says the old ritual text Pancavimshabrahmana in 8.1. In this metaphor, man is compared to heaven and mind, while woman represents earth and body, but the third gender person belongs to nowhere, is stuck in mid-air, so to speak. Nobody was allowed to accept alms or gifts from their hands or to share food with them, as they were declared to be ‘impure’ and contaminating. They were excluded from sacrifices, rites, ceremonies, and the cult of ancestor worship; their participation in rituals was prohibited, as it was for members of so-called lower castes (see Katyayanashrautasutra 1.1.5). They could not participate in the culture of heritage and inheritance, were not mentioned in the genealogies and therefore forgotten (see Yajnavalkyasmriti 1.223). Third gender people were excluded from the rites called samskaras, such as the upanayana (the ‘thread ceremony’) and vivaha (‘marriage’).8 Without undergoing upanayana, third gender people were excluded from education and instruction, and from entering schools and universities. Considered stupid, they had no guru or spiritual mentor and were denied the guru-shishya-sambandha (‘pupil-teacher-relationship’) imperative for every man who belonged to the three upper castes;9 from the point of view of their environment, they remained uncultured and crude, were socially unacceptable, and compared to mlecchas (‘foreigners’ or ‘barbarians’). They could not contribute to society or mainstream culture and were left to create a parallel culture in their own environment that had its own special values and arts.

Economic discrimination Third gender people were excluded from the money that circulated in the kula (family), gotra (clan), and jati (caste); they could not participate in the  circle of reciprocity that regulated giving, receiving, and sharing. They were excluded from business, maintenance, allowances, and inheritance and 173

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were forced into mendicancy since nobody employed them. ‘Thou shalt not take food, presents, money or even alms out of the hands of a third gender person’, declared Manusmriti 4.205, Vasishthadharmashastra 14.2 and 19, and Yajnavalkyasmriti 1.212. Neither educated nor skilled, and denied alms, third gender people often had to turn to the entertainment business or prostitution to survive. They therefore created their own networks in life, sharing with and caring for each other.

Metaphysical and spiritual discrimination The dominant conviction amongst religious authorities was that third gender people suffered as a result of their bad karma, because they had sinned and done wrong in their former lives. Lord Shiva explained to the Goddess Uma that mentally and physically handicapped people, as well as third gender people, were victims of their sins in a former existence and had now been given what they deserved (see Mahabharata 13.133 and 145). Karma in Hindu belief is the outcome or consequence of a former action based on the eternal cosmic laws of cause and effect (satkaryavada). Good deeds and intentions result in ‘good karma’, which is materialised as luck, beauty, wealth, and health, while bad deeds and intentions create ‘bad karma’, which causes pain, misery, and suffering. When Lord Shiva himself declares that discriminating against certain humans is metaphysically correct and the Goddess Uma agrees, who in the human world would then dare to disagree? According to common belief and the dominant opinion expressed in numerous Indian texts, third gender people cannot acquire jnana (knowledge) or moksha (liberation); Brahmins, Buddhists, and Jains denied them metaphysical aspirations and spiritual development.10 Third gender people were not allowed to become monks; if a Buddhist monk was discovered to be a shandha, he was banished immediately from the order as he was considered a threat to the chastity of his brethren (see Mahavagga 1.61). According to the Buddhist treatise Milindapanha, third gender people were incapable of understanding philosophy and metaphysics and of achieving enlightenment (4.1.6). Third gender people were prevented from entering temples, monasteries, and schools; like women, they were excluded from philosophical and religious discourses and made ‘silent’: whatever we learn about third gender people was written by male authors, mostly Brahmins; we have no statements by third gender people themselves.

Everyday discrimination Considered neither men nor women, third gender people were not allowed to live amongst men or women, as they were seen as ‘different’ and ‘other’ by both genders; the patriarchal hierarchy of ancient Indian culture constructed separate spheres, spaces, tasks, duties, privileges, rights, restrictions, 174

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and destinies for men and women, and declared that moving from one to the other gender sphere was offensive; overstepping the strictly drawn border between the genders was not allowed, as ‘trans-ing’ or shifting to another realm or gender meant violating the laws of nature, which were of divine origin in Indian thought. As third gender people had only limited access to the public sphere, events, and general public life, they were marginalised with regard to space, movement, and appearance, and, being subaltern, they were physically as well as ideologically excluded. Third gender people experienced a great deal of hostility, but, as far as we know, they were not subjected to organised violence or systematic persecution, as other minorities in Europe were.

Foreign discrimination in the past Under the Muslim rulers of India, third gender people were accepted and often employed as servants in courts and harems; this was their ‘golden age’.11 Some played important roles in courtly life as servants and entertainers and acted as confidants to their masters or mistresses in the harems. The Indian Hijŗa Laxmi Narayan Tripathi said: During the days of kings and nawabs, . . . we were known as subgods, the updevatas. For kings and queens, we were the most trusted and loyal ones. We were employed as advisors, cooks, took care of the harems . . . Later, under the British, everything changed. We were removed from the mainstream and thrown to the corners. The whole community was devastated.12 The British Law in India discriminated against Hijras, wrongly labelling them ‘eunuchs’,13 counting them amongst ‘criminal tribes’, calling them ‘a breach of public decency’, and persecuting them under, for example, ‘Act No. XXVII . . . for the Registration of Criminal Tribes, and Eunuchs Passed by the Governor General of India in Council, 1871’.14 Their houses and property were confiscated, and their communities willfully dispersed. The British in India criminalised and demonised Hijras, depicting them as goons, thieves, and thugs, depriving them collectively of their rights and forcing them into poverty and prostitution.15 The discriminatory laws were repealed in 1952, after independence, but their stigmatisation, which is centuries old, still continues today.

Foreign discrimination today As their codex of rules and regulations is handed down from one generation to the next not through texts, but through an oral tradition taught in their houses, and as Hijras have until recently hardly ever spoken about 175

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themselves to outsiders,16 their culture remains shrouded in mystery and is open to speculation and misinterpretation, from both inside and outside Indian society. Hijras and Hijra culture are often sexualised, scandalised, and ridiculed in the Indian and Western media, with Hijras being depicted as freaks and presented as exotic ‘others’; they are mentioned in certain media only in the context of HIV and AIDS. In addition, Indian and Western academics and gender theorists define India’s third gender people according to their own theories and concepts, and describe them as ‘transgender’. But Hijras are not transgender.17 By creating a biologically defined third gender, Indian culture has constructed a ternary system of sex and gender that recognises three cisgenders as well as trisexuality; this system contrasts with the Western binary model of two sexes and genders and bisexuality. Sex between men and Hijras (sex between women and Hijras seems inconceivable; there are no sources – ancient or modern – describing social or sexual intercourse between women and Hijras) is in Indian understanding therefore not homosexuality but heterosexuality, since it involves two genders. To call Hijras ‘homosexuals’, ‘transvestites’, ‘male-to-female transsexual or transgender individuals’, or even ‘eunuchs’ is based on historical and cultural misunderstandings and imposes modern Western concepts on traditional Asian culture. This sees Western history and concepts as absolute and ignores how Hijras define themselves. For example, the Wikipedia article on ‘Hijra (South Asia)’ gives a false definition, stating in its introductory sentence: ‘Hijra . . . is a transgender individual who was assigned male at birth’.18 To subsume Hijras under the Western and modern umbrella term ‘transgender’ is to deny them their cultural specificity and historical singularity, and even contradicts modern Indian legislation (see what follows). The traditional Western binary ‘two-sex’ model today accepts (at least) four gender options: two ‘bio’ or cisgenders (female and male) and two ‘trans’ or transgenders (female-to-male and male-to-female). A ‘cisgender’ is a person who accepts the given gender, while a ‘transgender’ is a person who disagrees with the assigned gender and wishes to change or to ‘trans’. In contrast, the traditional Indian ‘three-sex’ model accepts three gender options that are established at the moment of conception and does not allow any option to change. From the Indian point of view, which prevails even today amongst the majority of Hijras and non-Hijras, a man can never become a woman or Hijra, a woman can never become a man or Hijra, and a Hijra can never change into a man or a woman. There is therefore no ‘trans-ing’ at all. This svabhava of man, woman, and third gender is believed to be the inherent nature or core identity of a person, and is considered eternal and immutable: anatomy is destiny. The idea of sexual and gender immutability is clearly connected with Hindu religion defined by the idea of unalterability regarding caste. Today’s Hijras consider themselves neither man nor woman (na mard, na aurat) but as ‘third gender’ (tisri jins). According to their own theory of 176

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being Hijra, they do not represent an intermediate state between man and woman or the state of being both, or being androgynous. Men and women in India and Pakistan generally see Hijras as different from themselves: they are not ‘us’ but ‘them’; these are the data provided by field observations and interviews with Hijras and non-Hijras in India and Pakistan.19 Hijras display what we might call ‘hijra-ing’ or ‘third gendering’, and not ‘transgendering’ or ‘male femaling’ (Richard Ekins), which are concepts that are based on the binary system of male and female. So, if Western academics and activists define a Hijra according to the Western ‘two-sex’ model as transgender, transsexual, transvestite, homosexual, eunuch, and so on, this can be seen as a form of outlandish discrimination (‘we know better/best’) and may be interpreted as Eurocentrism, or even mental neocolonialism and cultural imperialism. Imposing foreign and modern definitions on Indian culture and declaring Hijras to be ‘transgender’ means denying them autonomy and self-determination, and silencing them again. ‘Hijra’ is a term in the languages of Northern India and has no equivalent in any other language, as there is simply no translation at hand. ‘Hijra’ is an autonym or endonym, while Western terms describing Hijras are xenonyms or exonyms that do not hit the target and miss the point. The false equivalent term ‘transgender’ cannot describe the ‘Hijra’, which is thereby lost in translation. Remember, there is no ‘trans-ing’ at all in India. Anyhow, the article on ‘Hijra (South Asia)’ in Wikipedia goes to the point by stating: ‘These identities have no exact match in the modern Western taxonomy of gender and sexual orientation, and challenge Western ideas of sex and gender’. ‘Modern’ is the point here: the Indian terms are ancient, while the Western term ‘transgender’ is relatively recent.20 Although Hijras are discriminated against, they are on the other hand also accepted as a fact of life and as an indispensable part of society, which seems an apparent contradiction but is possible in India: the third gender community is the necessary gathering place for third gender children unwanted by their families. Where else could they go? Who would look after them if not the community that provides shelter, care, culture, consolation, and identity? Hijras have created their own culture in a third space or a third world; as one Hijra said, ham tisri dunya men rahti hain (‘We are living in a third world’). They have succeeded in creating a parallel culture that has survived millennia. Marginalised but accepted, and in a certain way independent, they have grasped the opportunity and formed their own communities all over India, living together in separate houses in family-like structures with the traditional hierarchies and duties of the Indian multigenerational extended family, establishing an intergenerational contract, giving each other mutual support, and caring for their sick and elderly. They have invented their own lifestyle, formulated a code of conduct, a codex of rules and specific laws dealing with their community and the society at large, created a strict value system of ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’, and created specific constructions of body and sexuality.21 They have organised 177

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themselves into khandans (‘families’) and gharanas (‘clans’), with a head or a leader called ‘master’ (guru) at the top of the hierarchy, who reigns over younger Hijras called cela (‘pupil’). These strictly hierarchical communities open their gates to other downtrodden people, and accept intersexual people and homosexuals, their houses sheltering people who have rejected gender conformity or chosen gender liminality. They have always been tolerant towards all religions, castes, and ethnic groups, and ignore the caste system;22 third gender people include all religions (mainly Hinduism and Islam) and all castes, with the ‘lower castes’ being strongly represented. ‘Our community has no caste or religion’, says the Indian Hijra Laxmi Narayan Tripathi.23 Hijras have found a niche where they can survive in an environment that largely ignores or is hostile to them, and they regulate their own affairs according to their own specific jurisdiction. They have even created their own religion, venerating ambivalent Mother Goddesses such as Bahucara Mata, who is believed to be benevolent but potentially dangerous and malevolent or even destructive if incensed (as indeed the Hijras themselves are believed to be, too). Bahucara Mata, who is worshiped by North Indian Hijras, is believed to transfer to her devotees her supernatural powers to put curses on people. Hijras are therefore considered by most people as potentially dangerous and able to inflict impotence and infertility, to bestow bad luck, and to cast an evil eye. As they are equally able to bestow grace, though, they are also considered – in certain religious ceremonies and social contexts – lucky and are therefore invited to dance at marriages or at the birth of a child.

Third gender and law Despite structural and personal discrimination, Hijras should not generally be perceived as victims, since most are able to cope with life and difficulties; labelling them as helpless victims seems to be another subtle form of discrimination. Meeting Hijras means encountering energetic, clever, and headstrong people who are often of buoyant spirits; despite all the odds, they are self-confident and reject pity and patronising attitudes towards them. Hijra activists and interest groups have lobbied since the late twentieth century for official and legal recognition as the ‘third sex’ and ‘third gender’. This has led to the legalisation of the third gender in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. India introduced a legal ‘third gender option’ next to ‘m’ for male and ‘f’ for female in 2009; this third gender option is ‘o’ for ‘other’, i.e., for people who consider themselves neither male nor female. Following British law, India’s constitution had recognised only two sexes for the first 60 years of Independence; but, by granting a legal third identity to its Hijras, the country returned to its precolonial ‘three-gender’ tradition’. Hijras at last won back legally what they had never renounced, despite harsh discrimination by the British: namely, their special third identity and culture. Soon after 178

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recognising the ‘third gender’, several Indian states announced that they would establish development boards for their Hijra communities. Hijras will be listed for the first time as ‘third gender voters’ in future elections.24 The new third category did not work in the census of 2011, though, with Hijras being listed not separately but as ‘men’ due to the bureaucratic difficulties of counting a population of over 1.217 billion people. The number of Hijras is therefore still unknown, but there are certainly several million in India. Justice KS Radhakrishnan declared in April 2014 that: ‘Hijras, . . . apart from binary gender, are to be treated as “third gender” for the purpose of safeguarding their rights under Part III of our Constitution and the laws made by the Parliament and State legislature’.25 And, in the same year, the Supreme Court of India defined the Hijras as OBC (‘other backward class’), granting them the benefits of affirmative action, privileges, and quotas, and promising inclusion and participation. The government has taken serious steps to see that third gender people are enrolled in schools and universities and can enter employment;26 the government recommends reserving places for them in educational institutions and employment in government offices. In theory at least, Hijras are granted equal rights and obligations and have the right to vote and stand for election; and, in 2015, the Indian government provided ‘gender-transition’ services’.27

Conclusion The ancient Indian tradition implemented and institutionalised discrimination, which was accepted and practiced by society and led to personal discrimination in individual encounters, and prejudices and stereotypes against Hijras still exist. The majority of Hijras still live on the margins of society, and the very word ‘Hijra’ is often used in a derogatory way. The modern Indian constitution and law try hard to eliminate discrimination against minorities including Hijras, but laws and legal measures are not sufficient where traditions have survived for millennia; the ancient laws are deeply entrenched in Hindu society and it will therefore take time to sensitise society. Legislated equality and inclusion will not change public opinion easily; important is a paradigmatic turn, a change of mindset to ensure acceptance for the third gender, for its ancient culture and long history. Only by interacting with Hijras on a personal level will people be able to dispel the myths, legends, and prejudices that they have about them; and only then will the Hijras become more visible. To help end their traditional invisibility, it is imperative to meet Hijras and to listen to them, as they can provide a counter-narrative to the Indian and foreign discourses on Hijras, discourses that often portray them in a negative manner, repeating as they do old myths and creating new ones. The last word should therefore be given to the Hijra Mona Ahmed. She told a foreign friend who had advised her to go to Singapore for sex 179

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reassignment surgery: ‘You really do not understand. I am the third sex, not a man trying to be a woman. It is your society’s problem that you only recognise two sexes’ Ahmed and Singh, 2001.28

Notes 1 For sources and references on third gender people in Vedic and Sanskrit texts, see Syed (2003) and (2015). 2 As an Indologist and cultural scientist, I have interviewed Hijras in India and Pakistan and have published a monograph and several articles on third gender culture in ancient and contemporary India; www.renate-syed.de. 3 The Manusmriti is the earliest metrical scripture on Brahman law and was interpreted as the divine code of conduct. 4 The vast majority of third gender people were and are male in terms of their anatomy; ‘daughters’ claiming to be of the third gender were and are heard of infrequently; daughters were and are strictly controlled, educated to obey, and not given the freedom to choose or even discuss their gender. Most Hijras told me that they had been born with male sexual organs and therefore mistaken for boys by their families; in early childhood, at the age of four or five, they discovered that they were neither boys nor girls. They therefore tried to join the Hijra community as quickly as possible, since family peace was disturbed and tensions prevailed. On meeting Hijras, these children immediately felt that they belonged to them. 6 Aitareyabrahmana 7.13; girls have to be endowed with a dowry and are therefore high-cost children and a liability, while boys help the family to generate income and are traditionally caretakers of their parents in old age. 7 Impurity and unpleasantness are closely interlinked and mutually dependent in Indian thinking; one causes the other, and both have to be avoided to prevent physical and mental contamination. Therefore, contact with impure beings such as dogs and cats, or with impure food, is prohibited; even looking at them might cause difficulties. 8 The samskaras were compulsory rites of passage for boys and men of the upper three varnas, or castes, and they alone, as the texts inform us, transformed men into cultural and social people. 9 Without a guru to instruct and advise him in his intellectual development and spiritual aspirations, man was believed to waste his life. 10 Zwilling and Sweet. 11 Saletore, p. 15. 12 Simar Bhasin. 13 The term ‘eunuch’ refers to boys or men who were usually captives or prisoners of war that were forcibly castrated and forced into slavery or into work in courts and harems; eunuchs were known in ancient Greece, Rome, and the Ottoman Empire. Eunuchs can by no means be likened to Hijras. 14 India Office Records. 15 Preston, p. 378. 16 A Revathi, Mona Ahmed and Laxminarayan were amongst the first Hijras to inform us in their autobiographies about their lives and their community. 17 Syed (2016). Accessed on 10 August 2017; my emphasis. 19 Syed (2015). 20 ‘Psychiatrist John F Oliven of Columbia University coined the term transgender in his 1965 reference work Sexual Hygiene and Pathology . . . ’ Wikipedia, ‘Transgender’, accessed on 10 August 2017.

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21 Syed (2013). 22 By leaving their families and giving up their names, they also lose the advantages or disadvantages of the caste into which they were born; the Hijra-house is somehow a caste-free space in which the individual’s caste of origin is irrelevant. The community as a whole is located at the bottom of the Indian social system, however. 24 Bibhas Bhattacharyya. 25 Geetha Pandey. 26 Dhananjay Mahapatra. 27 This legalised neovagina creation, penectomy, orchedectomy, clitoroplasty, breast augmentation, and other surgical treatments that had previously been illegal. 28 Mona Ahmed, p. 15.

References Ahmed, Mona and Dayanita Singh, Myself Mona Ahmed: E-mail Letters by Mona Ahmed, Zürich, Berlin, New York: Scalo, 2001. Bhasin, Simar, Our Community Has No Caste or Religion: Laxmi on Being a Hijra, The Hindustan Times, 29 January 2016. Bhattacharyya, Bibhas, Transgenders Will Vote as the Third Sex in Bengal Polls, The Hindustan Times, 4 March 2016. Ekins, Richard, Male Femaling: A Grounded Theory Approach to Cross-Dressing and Sex-Changing, London and New York: Routledge, 1997. India Office Records, V/8/42, London: The British Library, 1988; www.-guides/ india-office records, accessed on 10 August 2017. Jaffrey, Zia, The Invisibles: A Tale of the Eunuchs of India, London: Phoenix Paperback, 1996. Mahapatra, Dhananjay, Supreme Court Recognizes Transgenders as “Third Gender”, The Times of India, 15 April 2014. Pandey, Geetha, India Court Recognises TransGender People as Third Gender, accessed on 12 August 2017. Preston, Lawrence W., A Right to Exist: Eunuchs and the State in Nineteenth-Century India, Modern Asian Studies, 1987, 21 (2), pp. 371–387. Revathi, A., The Truth about Me: A Hijra Life Story, Translated by Varadarajan Geetha, New Delhi: Penguin, 2010. Saletore, Rajaram Narayan, Sex Life under Indian Rulers, New Delhi: Hind Pocket Books, 1974. Syed, Renate, Tritiya Prakrti: Das dritte Geschlecht im alten Indien, Asiatische Studien/Études Asiatiques, Zeitschrift der Schweizerischen Asiengesellschaft, 2003, 57 (1), pp. 63–120. Syed, Renate, Hijras: Nicht Mann, nicht Frau – Indiens und Pakistans drittes Geschlecht und seine Inszenierung von Körper, Geschlecht und Sexualität, in Stephan Köhn and Heike Moser (Eds.), Frauenbilder – Frauenkörper. Inszenierungen des Weiblichen in den Gesellschaften Süd- und Ostasiens, Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 2013, pp. 439–458. Syed, Renate, Hijras: Das dritte Geschlecht in Indien und Pakistan, Saarbrücken: satzweiss, 2015. Syed, Renate, Hijras: India’s Third Gender, or, Why Hijras Are Not Transgender, but Cisgender, in Gerhard Schreiber (Ed.), Transsexualität in Theologie und Neurow-

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issenschaften. Ergebnisse, Kontroversen, Perspektiven, Berlin/Boston: De Gruyter, 2016, pp. 233–243. Tripathi, Laxminarayan, Me Hijra, Me Laxmi, translated from the Marathi Original by R. Raj Rao and P.G. Joshi, New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2015. Wikipedia, Hijra (South Asia), en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hijra_(South_Asia), accessed on 10 August 2017. Wikipedia, Transgender, en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transgender, accessed on 10 August 2017. Zwilling, Leonard and Michael J. Sweet, “Like a City Ablaze”: The Third Sex and the Creation of Sexuality in Jain Religious Literature, Journal of the History of Sexuality, 1996, 6 (3), pp. 359–384.

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Part IV ECONOMIES OF VIOLENCE AND CULTURAL REPRESENTATIONS

10 THE NIRBHAYA MURDER CASE Women as the oddity in public transport Susmita Dasgupta

Incidents and episodes leading to the murder of Nirbhaya On the evening of December 16, 2012, a young girl who we will call as Nirbhaya was brutally raped and killed by six men in a public transport while her male friend and she were returning from a film show in a busy and affluent south Delhi theatre. The events leading to the case were as follows. Nirbhaya and her friend had to travel to their residence back into an outlying area of Delhi, a distance of nearly over 25 km after the film was over in the evening. No autorickshaw agreed to go because the theatre is near to a metro station and it is more lucrative for the three wheelers to ply as shuttles between the metro stations and locations of up to a kilometer radius. Long distance rides in three wheelers have nearly become a thing of the past ever since the metro rail has created a lucrative market for point-to-point travel over short distances. However, the auto rickshaw dropped the two in Munirka, a busy bus stop on the Outer Ring Road, adjacent to Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University, Indian Institute of Technology, and National Institute of Health and Family Welfare and right at the bottom of an office complex known as the Capital Court. There is a busy market as well as swathes of DDA housing complexes. These show that by no means the area is deserted. The time they board the bus is about 8.30 pm, an hour which is common for a young person as Nirbhaya to return home from work. The bus they board is known as a ‘chartered bus’, which are privately owned buses but which ply on the routes of normal public transport. Charges are higher and by rule all passengers must only be seated and there should be no overcrowding in the bus. Chartered buses are fairly common in Delhi and especially on the Outer Ring Road for passengers who traverse long distances in Delhi between work and home and especially common for people who live in west Delhi, the place to which Nirbhaya was headed home. The purpose of the above details is to state that by no means was the girl doing anything outside her very normal routine that may have created this danger for her.

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Of course, there was one important deviation from the ‘normal’, which is that the evening was a Sunday of deep winter in Delhi when people prefer to spend time indoors. Nirbhaya was training to be a physiotherapist in a government institution. Her father worked as a janitor in the airport while her mother is mainly a housewife. She is the oldest of three children of her parents and her two younger siblings are brothers. In a North Indian family, despite being a girl, Nirbhaya was the most educated and because of her natural command over English and her training as a paramedical staff, her family looked upon her not only to be the principal wage earner but also to raise the status of the family from a lower middle class to the ‘middle middle’ class.1 For purposes of upward mobility, she was the lever for her family as her parents sold off ancestral land to invest in her education. In India, especially the north of India amongst the Hindi speaking people, raising girls to lead the family into upward social mobility is rare and the numerous campaigns against female feticide invoke families to educate and nurture girls. Nirbhaya’s family was one such family, a family that respected, loved, and looked upon and looked forward to the girl child. In a social sense, Nirbhaya was very ‘correct’ as well. When she boarded the bus, she was not alone; she was chaperoned by a male friend. This friend was not her boyfriend; he eventually might have graduated into being one had she lived on but at the time of her death, he was a friend who escorted her to watch a film, Life of Pi, which she alone would have understood because she followed English while none amongst her family members did so. The film was educational and based on a classic novel by Yann Martel, and not one of those pulse-racing and nerve-wracking excitable erotica. The mood of the duo as they boarded the bus must have therefore been somber and thoughtful, by no means agitated with the exuberance of cinema. The fateful evening was also cold and she was dressed in jackets and trousers, shoes and muffler – in other words, fully covered and nothing to excite the hormones of the males. As soon as they boarded the bus they offered to pay the fare to the conductor; they did not even wish to engage in any banter or quarrel and when they learnt that the bus would not ply on the usual road, they wanted to get off the vehicle but did not claim the fare back. The details of the case shows that there was nothing unusual or extraordinary in the being or the behaviour or even the circumstances to have provoked the mad rush of testosterone amongst the men if not the mere sight of a woman and the mere fact of her being in a public space; a public transport in this case is enough to unleash violence upon her. There was nothing ‘wrong’ for which Nirbhaya could be ‘blamed’ as this being ‘all her fault’. This, in short, is the focus of the present chapter.

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Violence on women in the public space Male violence on women have been widely acknowledged and laws pertaining to marital rape, domestic violence, and sexual violence by partners, almost always male, have entered into the realm of laws both deterring as well as punishing such offences. Male violence on women in public space is also widely recognised as an impediment to women in their pursuit of life as usual as well as in achieving excellence. The UN Women Flagship Programme, Safe Cities and Safe Public Spaces, declare as its issue the following, Women and girls fear and experience various types of sexual violence in public spaces, from unwanted sexual remarks and touching to rape and femicide. It is a universal issue. It happens on streets, in and around public transportation, schools and workplaces, water distribution sites, public toilets, and parks in urban, rural, and conflict/ post-conflict settings. This reality reduces women’s and girls’ freedom of movement and their ability to study and work, access essential services, participate in public life, and enjoy recreation opportunities. This impacts negatively their health and well-being.2 The study quotes adjunct studies done by the partners of the programme and these prove the veracity of the claim that women are usually unsafe in public spaces from men. The facts are as follows. In London, a 2012 study reveals that 43% of young women experienced some form of street harassment in 2011. (Ending Violence Against Women Coalition 2012) In Port Moresby, a scoping study reveals that over 90% of women and girls have experienced some form of sexual violence when accessing public transportation. (UN Women 2014) In Kigali, baseline study shows that 55% of women reported that they were concerned about going to educational institutions after dark. (UN Women 2013) The Scholars Strategy Network in New York, in a pamphlet issued after the Nirbhaya case, says that the violence against women in public spaces, within relationships, and in families are part of the general tendency of the male to be violent towards women.3

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While there are theories around violence of men against women within the area of dating and sexual relationships, whether marriage or live-in partnerships, theories of violence against women in the public space needs to be exclusively established precisely because the woman victimised in the public space is unknown and unrelated to her offenders and the violence is largely unplanned and spontaneous. The public space is faceless when men and women are shorn of their social roles. Since social roles limit the sexual access to each other, the anonymity of the public space encourages sexual offences.

The thesis presented This chapter has two aspects – one theories and explanations concerning the species nature evident through a host of theories on evolution and the other the idea of the public space and its gendering, which leads to violence against women as men tend to reclaim their share of resources. The present chapter argues that male violence against women in the public space, in which all social and hence reproductive relations cease to be relevant, emanates from the construction of individuality, and somehow the notion of the modern individual contains lots of male assertiveness as a cultural construct. Modern technology individuates, depersonalizes and dehumanizes. In the public sphere too needs are desexualized and while men do well as gender neutral beings, women who are looked upon as sexual entities seem like anomalies. Women are expectedly objectified as everywhere else in the society and become intruders in an all-male monastic space. The attack on women in terms of attacks on their reproductive organs, which include lewd remarks, obscene catcalls, and rape and murder is a way to destroy the reproductive aspects of the public space; this consideration of reproduction as an anomaly of production is an outcome of modern-day capitalism with serious implications for the ‘bodies’ of human beings. Noam Shpancer, a psychotherapist, writes in his blog that men unleash violence on women because they can.4 Biologically men are stronger than women and the woman, even if she were equally as hostile as men were towards her, would not be able to effect the same level of violence because she is simply not physically capable. This brings us to the thesis that biology is destiny for women. Barbara B Smuts has done extensive work on the evolutionary perspective on male aggression against women and published in 1992.5 She has surveyed a wide range of theories on the evolution of species – both nonhuman primates as well as human societies – from which she concludes that male aggression against women is not about a species nature but is about the survival of species in the natural environment through reproduction. While this is a universal template of male and female relationships, there are intercultural variations around the degree of male aggression on women; the variations imply that male aggression is not genetic but social. 188

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Smuts, in her chapter, develops some rules of male aggression. She says that the male of the species of primates, of which the hominids and the humans are very much a part, must himself be free of greater violence upon him by other competing males for access to female reproduction. In societies with a strong male head and with strong reproductive urges in which children are heavily invested as future security of the group, control of female sexuality is very high. These societies are competitive and hence have investments in children as ones who could pull up statuses of their natal families. Such societies may quickly turn into honour societies in which women need to be disciplined and controlled closely. In societies with hierarchy amongst the males, male aggression may be demonstrative and control on female sexuality high because the males of lesser status need to be warded off and kept off limits. In such societies, women are likely to be objectified and male preferences to dominate, leading to in many cases female infanticide or feticide.

The public sphere The constitution of the public sphere in the modern age of late capitalism in which ‘history ends’,6 leaving behind a consensus around neoliberal and global capital led by private owners, is itself a transformative episode for human societies.7 Jurgen Habermas’s idea of the public space as something in between the State and the private sphere, the latter being that of the economy changes under capitalism when the economy comes to constitute the public space, the space in between a democratic politics that promises equality amongst humans in terms of their ‘bodies’ and ‘souls’ despite the fact that the capitalist project forces down deep levels of income and wealth inequalities in the society. In simplistic terms, the public sphere is a space for impersonal interactions, interactions between individuals as individuals, unhindered by social relations. It is difficult to imagine that a public sphere may exist without a strong State. A State imposes its structures on human bodies uniformly while the social relations define and specify individuals in their particular locations with each other; the public sphere is the intermediate ground between the particulars of the societal structures and the universality of the State. It emerges as a space for negotiations between the particular and the universal states of being of individuals. The public sphere is therefore not a reproductive sphere. For the purposes of the present chapter, it is asexual. In the above arrangement it is evident that the Habermasian public sphere has undergone two important tectonic shifts; one part of the work of the family, which is economic production, has become unhinged from the private sphere and lodged into the public space because it looks to labour only as able to produce profits for the company and does not care about how s/ he would procreate. The other shift is that much of what labour would draw 189

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from the family in terms of skills and learnt knowledge now must come in the form of knowledge through the State. The State enters the private sphere in the form of education and health, housing and infrastructure, food distribution and money circulation. What then is the public sphere? It is a sphere of work, capitalist work. Since in capitalism. and especially late capitalism, income can only be generated out of the public sphere of capitalist production, labour competes with one another for employment and salaries. The modern-day public sphere is thus a sphere of competition for a greater share of moneys distributed as salaries and wages. The competition and bondings thus would happen around employment and wages than over reproductive powers of females; the survival of the modern humans would therefore be more intense around incomes than around children. Gendering of the public sphere The world of the capitalist economy in which productive forces from the family are taken out and depersonalised into factories not only places the location of production in the public sphere but also, by disconnecting the body from its productive activities and deploying the same as a cog in a system of lifeless machines, disregards the human biology. Humans become gender neutral and hence male; male being really universal, female is the gender for modern societies. The woman, objectified in terms of her reproductive biology, is therefore irrelevant to the public sphere and in case she wants to also participate as impersonally and universally, she is seen to be losing her gender, her identity and hence emerging, in the terms of Barbara Smuts, as a ‘strange’ woman invoking anger in males and a desire to suppress her makes the males quickly bond with one another in attacking her. The above may be used to explain harassment of women in the workspace, in educational institutions, attempts at dislodging women as unnecessary crowding in spaces of competition. Women are considered as being extraneous to the game of competition which should ideally be only amongst males; as the spaces get more and more constricted, discourses of discrimination emerge and communal politics, politics of affirmative action, majoritarianism, and anti-women sentiments emerge to keep possible competitors off the ground. These sentiments also lead to social stereotyping around gender and by the same principle to religious and ethnic minorities and marginalised social groups. The rise of male-to-female ratio in China and India, the feticide and infanticide of the females in the previously mentioned countries, and especially in India, which has taken on alarming proportions, are part of the same syndrome of getting women out of competition and also leads to violence against them in impersonal public spaces by unrelated strangers.8 Violence in public spaces by strangers may show the extent of stereotyping for targeting of women, a sociological phenomenon in majoritarian societies. 190

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The reproductive economy in capitalism and late capitalism Mahmood Mamdani’s9 works on the population explosion in India, which are generalised from his fieldwork in Punjab, show that initially, as people lose access to their traditional occupations, they try to compensate their loss of earnings with wage employment in factories. The more number of children they produce means the greater pool of family incomes. However, as we move towards late capitalism, with global private finance and free trade, it becomes apparent that there is less scope for human labour as the labour-to-capital ratios decline very fast with technology intensification and the consequent deepening of capital. Salaries are high for the employed but employment on the whole declines and the few jobs that are available need very high investments from the family resources, namely education and skills. As the income earning opportunities for a child decreases and can only be earned through very high investments on education population, inequalities increase in the society. On the one hand, there is a disincentive for reproduction which reflects in single child homes, double income and no children families, single persons, and even non-reproductive couples from the LGBT community; on the other hand, the increase in the resultant income inequalities are often located in the inherited inequalities. Families now want to increase the wealth-to-child ratio and accumulate more wealth for fewer children. All of the above tendencies are anti-reproduction; humans want to control their reproductive abilities and to restrict the number of children produced.

Sex is risky, produce less children Human societies have known to have ‘adjusted’ reproductive abilities to their overall productive abilities just as any other living species do. Animals produce less when they start losing habitat, human populations have often varied with difficulties in obtaining food and other resources needed to maintain a steady state of consumption. Human fertilities have increased if more children are seen to be economically beneficial. But this is perhaps for the first time that the human population on such a large scale and almost universally is declining and more members are looked upon as mouths to feed rather than hands to work, especially as ‘hands’ have become automated machines and robots in many cases. This leads to what one calls Thanatos, or the death wish of human societies, rather than eros, or the wish to reproduce; the root of the word, erotic, which means desire to mate or copulate. In a public sphere driven by Thanatos, the erotic becomes violent and violence becomes the erotic. Barbara Smuts and Noam Shpancer both mention that sexual violence emanates from the fact that there is only a thin 191

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line of distinction between sexual acts and violence. Therefore, the erotica in the public space constituted by Thanatos rides on the back of violence. Smuts reveals that it is the sexual act towards reproduction that causes male aggression towards women, but here the irrelevance of women in the lives of ascetic men who are not supposed to reproduce arouses contempt for the feminine. The woman, by her very presence, becomes an obscenity, obscenity as defined by Satre as something which fails to arouse erotic desire.10 Slightly tweaking this problem we may suggest that sex with women is not pragmatic in the present times and that sexual pleasure must be denied for one’s own safety. Michelle Obama advises young girls to think less about boys and focus on studies more if they are to get anywhere in life.11 Relative incomes, relative poverty, never being able to catch up Indeed, the Indian philosophical system divides stages of life – when the youth should be marked by studies and asceticism and only then when they could marry and reproduce. There is thus a clear separation between study and learning and sex: sex being considered as an end state, a state that comes after learning. In the Indian society, especially in the urban settings and for families that no longer have undivided family engagements in land, trade, or manufacturing, one expects men to be ‘settled’ before marriage. Families who are dependent on currently earned incomes of their individual members are more in number than are the undivided families and hence marriage comes with a certain level of incomes and assets. Post-liberalization India has seen a steady erosion of relative incomes and assets, with asset prices running away beyond every conceivable limit and employment falling into tentative contractual ones and jobs requiring everhigher levels of skills and education. This process of neoliberal development throws an increasing proportion of population out of a sense of control and future anticipations of their lives. Loss of control over lives, constant experience of slipping back in terms of relative incomes despite an increase in absolute levels of consumption, gives a feeling of never being able to ‘catch up’ or ‘match up’. The human ego suffers a perpetual hurt by forever failing to keep up with the Joneses. Violence is often a means to retrieve one’s masculinity, sense of agency, and sense of self-worth.12 Regimes of endless consumption – consumers are winners, if you cannot afford luxuries, you are a loser Yet, this is the very system that, because of its abilities to create inequalities in terms of incomes, also generates a small proportion of the well to do. The media and television celebrate the latter as winners and silently, as if by obvious implication, renders the rest as losers. Advertisements and programmes on the television project lives that are lived on incomes which perhaps are 192

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never to be matched by most, and yet because these images are beamed from the television they appear to be norms and standards of correctness. If you cannot live a life shown on television, then you are a loser. Humans in each moment of their lives suffer from uncertainty, inadequacy, and a sense of having become a loser. Both men and women suffer from such syndromes but as far as the public space is concerned, it is manifested more in the form the damaged male ego. The male ego which suffers a deep hurt is more likely to burst into violence especially in the places in which it can. Majoritarian politics, hurting animals, child porn, and abuse of women in public places constitute behaviour which tries to overcome the man’s sense of humiliation. Gondolf’s large-scale longitudinal and multi-site research tried to verify previous studies which suggested psychopathology and personality disorders amongst perpetrators. His findings were that the most notable trend was narcissistic or antisocial personalities.13 Theories around abusive men suggest that male violence is an outcome of narcissism; it may indeed be so. Narcissism itself is born out of an obsession with consumption especially when what you have defines you, your possessions, your comforts, the levels of your luxuries produces a self-love. Regimes promoting ever higher levels of consumption as a measure of self-worth is constitutive of the modern day narcissism. (Gondolf, E.W, 2002) Elementary courses in Economics define production as a creation of value and consumption as a destruction of value; consumerist societies are therefore destructive of all that all is held as valuable. The consumer is irreverent and inconsiderate of all things that do not produce immediate gratification. Swathes of tribal land, ancestral homes, family ties, and long-held businesses are all to be pulled down to aid in self-gratification; what does not gratify is inconsequential. Attack against the weak, like animals, marginalised groups, and women are part of removing things that are inconsequential in providing immediate gratification.

Analysis of symbols in the Nirbhaya murder case The constitutive elements in the Nirbhaya murder case is the brutality of the act in which not only was she repeatedly raped by five men in the moving bus but an iron rod was inserted into her vagina to disembowel her and she with her much battered male friend thrown out of the moving bus and taken for being dead. The brutality of the killing and that too in a road abounding with police patrols and check posts alarmed the nation and the world. As we have mentioned, the total ‘normalcy’ of her activities and her demeanour by which nothing could be held against her to be ‘her fault’, shocked 193

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and pained people. It was as if nothing but brutality of male sexual aggression against any and every woman was brought to light and questions were raised around the generalised violence of men towards women. Food and sex The accused men were the driver of the bus, Ram Singh, who works in the day as a school bus driver, his brother, Mukesh Singh, who was a helper in the bus, Vinay Sharma, who was an instructor in a local gym, and Pawan Gupta, a fruit seller and a juvenile amongst them. Ram Singh and Mukesh Singh were immigrants from Rajasthan, the juvenile was a runaway from Badaun in Uttar Pradesh, while the other two were from Delhi. The combination of the five were interesting for they all sat in Ram Singh’s shack in a south Delhi slum called Ravi Das Colony drinking on a Sunday afternoon. It was after the bout of drinking and food that the men decided to ‘enjoy’ by driving the bus through the city. Clearly the enjoyment meant a ‘dessert’ to close the enjoyment of a gastronomic gratification. Claude Levi-Strauss stresses that food and sex are related in his essay, “Universe of Rules” and in his path-breaking work, Elementary Structures of Kinship.14 It is as if in a manner of casting off the wrapper after its contents have been devoured, Nirbhaya and her friend were thrown out of the moving bus as if the accused were only discarding an empty food packet. Picking up: the girl as game The enjoyment consisted of ‘picking’ up people as game. Before they ‘picked’ up Nirbhaya and her friend, they had also looted a fruit vendor on his way home after winding up the day’s sales. Nirbhaya therefore must not have been a one-off case, for it is most likely that they habitually did what they did. Such acts are common and the newspapers are replete with news of girls being repeatedly abducted in moving cars to be molested and raped and then thrown out, sometimes never to survive the trauma. The use of a vehicle as power over the passersby is the contempt of a ‘winner’ towards a loser. Once inside a vehicle, the driver and its passengers feel a sense of power as a winner and use this to unleash their contempt towards the losers; the constitution of the society in terms of winners and losers plays out in the form of attacks on perceived losers in the exuberance of the self-image of a winner by being in a vehicle. Advertisements of automobiles or heavy vehicles play on the power image of the rider dominating over his environment and sometimes even harassing the passersby. In the 1990s, advertisements of VIP- wheeled suitcases showed that the suitcase on wheels created havoc on the streets in which a fully bandaged accident victim got up from their stretcher to make way for a speeding suitcase on wheels! Since the public space is also constituted on a selection of winners, 194

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people are eager to accentuate the signs of being winners by attacking those who they imagine are losers.15 Violence on women as covert class war Once they get Nirbhaya and her friend in the bus, the decency of the couple offends them; often people with good manners and respectable ways are ‘scary’ for people who are not well behaved. This is a kind of a class difference in which the vagabond feels envious of people who appear to be better off; intensification of social competition leads to discourses of social envy and attacks are often directed at people who appear to be ‘taking away’ social opportunities. As the opportunities for jobs shrink, there rises social envy and perverse competitiveness; these often get transported as misbehavior in the public space. In her essay, “Egalitarianism and Inflation”, Ayn Rand writes that the discourse of equality in democracies is to destroy the competent and insist on the equality of outcomes. Violence is thus a mental frustration which one feels in the presence of the competent.16 It is interesting that one of the accused, Vinay Sharma, made a mercy petition in which he claims to be preparing for the competitive examinations, especially as the young man friend of Nirbhaya was preparing for the civil services. The assertion of the accused to be seen as equal to the victim is extremely suggestive. Woman as deserving violence in terms of her lower social position by being a woman In interviews with the film-maker in the BBC film, India’s Daughter (banned in India),17the accused admit that they would not have hurt the victim so badly had she not fought back. Her attempts at resisting sex made them go beside themselves in anger. Her physical fight with them, her mental resistance of their lust, and her moral anger against their violence left them fuming and eager to ‘prove’ their masculinity, which may be read as power. The power of rape is the instance of male power over woman, male power over woman is to attack her reproductive organs. There is a clear hierarchy between the genders, and that hierarchy translates into morality because the woman is not supposed to use violence as a social norm. When she uses violence she repudiates the social norms; her use of violence even if it is to defend herself is socially illegitimate but the use of violence of men over her is legitimate. The hierarchy perhaps derives from the evolutionary aspects of primates, hominids, and eventually humans as Barbara Smuts lays out in details in which violence and the sexual act closely resemble each other and the randomness of male penetration and the selectiveness of female surrender to sex leads to male aggression on the females of the species as a means of reproduction. This, as we mention earlier, is Eros; but when in today’s time we 195

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are in the grip of the death drive, or Thanatos, when humans need to reduce in numbers to adjust to the ever-shrinking opportunities for employment and access to public goods, competition amongst male generates a similar kind of violence on women, not merely a violence on her body but on her reproductive capabilities. Woman as a trespasser in the public space and a transgressor of her social role It appears that Nirbhaya was first attacked in order to make her friend feel helpless and weak. The offence was directed more at the young man than at the woman. His demeanour made the offenders feel inferior, as losers and especially because his competitive edge was braced with his being in the company of a woman and that too a decent and a respectable woman. The violence was a war against the man because he was competent and against the woman because she was unattainable in terms of her being ‘higher’ in social class than her offenders. In the interview with the accused, the same BBC film reveals that the offenders had a strong desire to ‘teach a lesson’ to the victim for her ‘transgressions’. The statements show that the woman’s very presence in the public space as a person is a transgression so deep that it is worthy of being punished by sexual violence. The irrelevance of the woman in the public space constituted by male competition conjoins with the Indian tradition of women being kept indoors and the consequent division of space between men and women into the public and the private. Gangrape was an impersonal act The investigations into the murder reveal that an iron rod was inserted into her vagina to disembowel her. The iron rod is the ‘handle’ or a Z-shaped rod used to wind engines of heavy vehicles. In the common slang, the act of using the handle to start the engine is copulation between the driver and the vehicle, the latter being considered as female. The use of the iron rod to brutalise the woman shows the translation of the metaphor of the vehicle and driver as sex partners into action. This act shows the deep contempt of the offenders towards the woman because she possesses her sexual organs and not to relish copulation with her. Her act of being penetrated has become an event ‘out there’ and the men are not rapists but mere depersonalised men as if ‘acting out’ some impersonal rules. It is as if that they are executioners having nothing to do with putting the sentenced prisoner to death. This is why when one of them speaks out in the film that Nirbhaya needed to be punished, he was merely ‘carrying out the sentence of punishment’ without any mental or emotional involvement. Rape, or gang rape to be precise, is therefore not exercised as a personal choice of the offenders but as agents of law and order of the society. Offence against women is thus law in a society. 196

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Competitive violence The competition amongst the accused escalated the brutality on Nirbhaya; each was competing with the other to inflict greater pain and showing off to the group a greater capability of torture because the ability to be violent is the same as showing off one’s masculinity. The attachment of masculinity with violence underlies the gendering of the public space in post-liberal world.

Acceptance of masculinity as violence towards women as legitimate Perhaps the above paragraph gels with yet another component of the Nirbhaya murder and which is the indifference of the police towards the harassment against women. With laws and prison terms in place, a possible reason why women continue to be unsafe in cities in India is precisely because the law is weak. The places in which women are relatively safer in public spaces are perhaps areas in which the public space has not developed as fully as in Delhi in which anonymity and impersonality are high and social relations are remote. When social relations are remote, one tends to depend on the State and because the public sphere in India under late modernity is itself emerging in the form of a hierarchy between the sexes, law becomes defenceless to ensure the safety of women. Woman is not merely beaten and murdered but she is shamed as well. The men are in a group in case of Nirbhaya and the woman is defenceless. In the Indian epic, the Mahabharata, Queen Draupadi is disrobed in a public space, in a chess tournament in front of the audience by a group of men representing the rivals to her husbands. This archetypal motif inheres human societies almost universally as women’s humiliation in the public sphere, not being out of the reproductive politics amongst the male in which they compete over access to women but around competition for public goods in which men compete with other men. In competitive societies, while one wants to get ahead of others in the same vein one tries to protect every morsel of resources from sharing with lesser beings. Ayn Rand expresses this very well as competitive societies that seek equality with those ahead of them refuse to share benefits with those beneath them because if the weaker take away their shares then they would emerge as weak vis-à-vis those who are ahead of them.18 Competitive societies across the world are therefore contemptuous of those who are weaker and this leads to majoritarian politics in which the so-called perceived weak are stereotyped and attacked. The weak are those who are no longer needed in the progress of the society and Jews in Nazi Germany, minority communities in dictatorships, and women in late capitalism are amongst those whose roles the societies no longer need. Since human societies are into Thanatos, women, whose principal purpose is to produce children, are thus in excess and need to be put down just as unwanted stray 197

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dogs in streets. It is thus not surprising to find in India that alongside with rape and murder of women in India, there are reports of increasing violence and brutality on stray animals, especially street dogs.

Conclusion What does the Nirbhaya murder in particular and the increasing violence on women in the public space in general reveal about our societies? First, it reveals that the uncertainties of the economy based on global capital and finance, which increase inequalities and shrinks the public space and gives rise to death wish or the Thanatos, deeply increase the men’s contempt towards and even a hate of women as possible competitors, or as the weaker social category. Male aggression which performed the function of increasing human population is now directed against the very reproductive organs of women; this is perhaps because the human species does not need to be reproduced as prolifically as before. The objective conditions, namely the need for the human population to grow has now changed and this has thrown the gender roles into a state of disarray and confusion.

Notes 1 The Indian middle-income group is divided into three sections, the lower middle, the middle middle, and the upper middle, by the National Council of Applied Economic Research for the purpose of consumer surveys. 2 UN Women, Flagship Programmes, 2015. www.unwomen.org/en/what-we-do/ ending-violence-against-women/creating-safe-public-spaces (accessed on 12 June 2019). 3 Gita Neupane and Meda Chesney-Lind. “Violence against Women on Public Transport in Nepal: Sexual Harassment and the Spatial Expression of Male Privilege”. Journal of Comparative and Applied Criminal Justice (2013). www. scholarsstrategynetwork.org, June. 4 Noam Shpancer.www.psychologytoday.com/blog/insight-therapy/201411/whydo-men-sexually-assault-women 5 Barbara Smuts. Male Aggression against Women: An Evolutionary Perspective in New York: Walter de Gruyter, Inc, Human Nature, 3(1), 1992, pp. 1–44. 6 Francis Fukyama, The End of History and the Last Man discusses that neoliberalism is the end of history because of the political consensus it develops in democracies. 7 The idea of the public sphere used for purposes of the present chapter has some deviations from the one developed by Jurgen Habermas. 8 Ryan Schacht1, Kristin Liv Rauch1, and Monique Borgerhoff Mulder. Too many men: the violence problem? in Tree 1796. Volume 9. 9 Mahmood Mamdani. The Myth of Population Control. New York: Monthly Review Press, 1972, p. 173. 10 Jean Paul Satre, Being and Nothingness. 11 Michelle Obama in www.youtube.com/watch?v=cRI1e86ADBE. 12 Carl Jung. Aspects of the Masculine. London: Routledge, Special Indian Edition, 2003, p. 18. Para 456.

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13 E. W. Gondolf. “Service Barriers for Battered Women with Male Partners in Batterer Programs”. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 17(2), 2002, 217–227. 14 Claude Levi Strauss, Elementary Structures of Kinship, Boston: Beacon Press, 1969, p. 33. 15 The Jigisha Ghosh murder case. See http://indianexpress.com/article/india/indianews-india/jigisha-ghosh-murder-case-verdict-a-timeline-of-how-events-unfolded2990071/ 16 Ayn Rand. “Egalitarianism and Inflation”. In Philosophy: Who Needs It. New York: Signet Classic, 1982, p. 120. 17 Filmmaker Leslee Udwin examines the society and values of India after a 23-yearold medical student is raped and murdered on a bus. Initial release: 9 March 2015 (New York); Show: The Passionate Eye; Season number: 20; Episode number: 2; Air date: 8 March 2015; www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZQZQF1ip9gM&t=55s. 18 Ayn Rand op cit.

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11 GENDER-BASED VIOLENCE OF ECONOMIC GLOBALISATION IN CONTEMPORARY INDIA An intersectional approach to gender and violence Christa Wichterich

A key claim of my chapter is that gendered violence as a manifestation of power, subordination, and social control is intertwined with other forms of violence and domination. An intersectional perspective on violence against women stresses that gender as a social category of inequality is inseparable from other forms of inequality such as class/caste, race, or North-South, meaning neocolonial or neo-imperialist forms of power relation and social hierarchisation. My focus is on the entanglement of gendered violence with structural violence enshrined in the institutions and processes of economic globalisation. Methodologically, my analysis of the intersection of various power regimes integrates a political-economic with a gender perspective, and a structural analysis with an analysis of discourses and subjectivities. Globalisation as economic liberalisation and as a mode of modernization has in the past few decades penetrated societies in the Global South as much as it has in the North and has reconfigured relations of production and social reproduction, the division of labour, and the private-public divide. Modernisation possesses the aura of being able to advance social relations based on rights, on contracts between free individuals, and on individual performance instead of coercion and violence. However, modernisation has never been a linear process in which various forms of violence in a society are eliminated; rather, it reconfigures some regimes of power and repression while eventually reducing others. My argument builds on the concept of structural violence developed by the Swedish peace researcher Johan Galtung at the end of the 1960s.1 Galtung’s concept shifts the focus from the individual or collective perpetrators of direct, physical, and personal violence to institutionalised violence as the

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root cause of social injustice, discrimination, and exclusion, all of which prevent people from achieving human rights and meeting basic needs. Structural violence is protected in the globalised market system, e.g., in the labour market and in the policies and legal systems of the nation state by a culture of impunity. I will also adopt the concept of violence by omission outlined by Vittorio Bufacchi2 to address the entanglement of direct and indirect, intentional and unintentional, forms of structural violence and personal violent actions. This concept opens up the realm of agency and sees agency as capable of intervening in, resisting, and preventing violent structures. In adopting this concept, we can thereby avoid deterministic or hermetic closures in our analysis. This chapter aims to unbundle the complexity of various forms of gendered violence and to explore using a multiscalar analysis the nature and scope of structural violence, how it is constructed and perpetuated, and how also it is contested.

The case of labour inclusion My first example to illustrate the gendered character of the structural violence of globalisation is transnational value chains in the textile sector. The collapse of the Rana Plaza building in Bangladesh, which took the lives of 1129 workers and left more than 2500 people seriously wounded, the majority of whom were women, is the ultimate example of this form of violence. The accident occurred at the intersection of the following regimes of power and agency: transnational corporations as drivers of globalisation and of transnational value chains; local entrepreneurs and their profit interests; the state that regulates, or does not regulate, the economy; and the workers at the lower end of the production chain who are in dire need to earn an income for their families. Traversing these four intersecting and interlocking regimes of power and subordination are the social categories of inequality such as gender, class/caste, race, age, religion, and ethnic origin. The textile value chains in Asian countries are governed by the international division of labour, by offshoring, and by fierce competition amongst domestic manufacturers and amongst foreign companies in this consumerdriven production regime. Major brands and transnational corporations from Europe and the USA dictate the quantity, quality, and pace of production. Domestic manufacturers ensure their competitiveness in the global market by reducing production costs, which means, for example, building factories with little concern for safety. This converges with the nation state’s interest in promoting the fast growth of the textile industry, since itis the most important sector in earning foreign exchange. The abundant supply of cheap, unorganised, and unskilled female migrant labour from the countryside who take up waged work as a survival strategy for their families

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are the crucial human resource and source of economic growth.3 The hegemonic discourse of nimble fingers and liberation through wage labour has for decades motivated the recruitment of young women and their incorporation in chains of production, resulting in labour relations with a steep hierarchy and a deep subordination of the women wage workers.4 The textile industry has a long history of violating labour rights and safety standards, and a history of appalling workplace accidents such as factory fires and the collapse of factory buildings due to unstable structures. These accidents are a systemic consequence of the growth and accumulation model in which costs and risks are transferred to the lower end of the value chain in the Global South, and in particular to the labour force in terms of safety and health risks, and in terms of low wages. This kind of violence is a hidden, inbuilt structure in the production regime that has been named ‘race to the bottom’ and that is geared towards growth with highly precarious jobs and no compliance with labour rights. The gender wage gap is another institutionalised form of gendered violence in this regime, which takes the form of discrimination against women and their labour.5 This institutionalised discrimination against women, and their devaluation and exploitation, also prepare the ground for physical sexist violence. Women workers face verbal and physical abuse as well as sexual harassment both inside and outside the factories, while the management does not ensure any kind of security for them.6 These mechanisms create a highly gendered production and accumulation system that works for the benefit of the industry and at the expense of women, who are constructed as docile and vulnerable.7 The state repression of trade unions, including intimidation, threats, and direct acts of violence, is a significant obstacle to workers accessing information about labour rights, exercising their agency, and resisting the reckless system. A further way to read the systemic violence in transnational textile chains is to focus on the chain of omissions. Why is it that the building of factories and employment conditions on the shop floor are not regulated at the company, national, and international level so as to prevent violations of human and labour rights, as well as to reduce health risks and fatal accidents? The failure of the Bangladeshi state to introduce strict laws for the building of factories as well as labour laws, and the failure of corporate social responsibility to regulate the manufacturing of clothing so that it ensures health and safety in the factories and recognises basic labour rights, can be seen as an example of the violence of omission, since it co-constructs and contributes to the violation of human rights. The appalling lack of regulatory control with regard to safety can be attributed to the fact that in 2013 at least 33 MPs – 10% – were factory owners who blocked attempts by parliament to adopt stricter regulations for buildings. Additionally, the state agencies that are supposed to regulate the manufacturing of clothing in Bangladesh tend to be influenced and bribed by the factory owners.8 Many factories were built with permits issued by 202

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local authorities only and without the permission of the Dhaka building safety agency.9 This entanglement of individual profit interests and corrupt bureaucracy reveals the many layers supporting actual structural violence, which is based on self-interests that ignore or accept the violation of human and labour rights. The omission of complaint mechanisms at the factory level and at the political level prevents agency and protest by the workers themselves. One day before the collapse of Rana Plaza, for example, workers there discovered cracks in the walls, reported them, and said that they would not come back to work the next day. But, intimidated by management threats and fearing that they would lose their jobs, they did in fact return to their workplace. This shows the mechanisms of direct coercion and violence that construct women workers in particular as vulnerable, docile, and willing to accept dangerous and unhealthy working conditions. At the same time, though, the integration of women into the labour market and their subjugation to the capitalist principles of disciplining and control also mean the modernisation of gender norms, roles, and opportunities to liberate themselves from a strict patriarchal regime. There has therefore long been a heated debate amongst economists and feminists on where women’s labour in transnational production chains can be placed on the continuum between exploitation and empowerment or liberation.10 This tension between exploitation and empowerment frames the following case studies, too.

The case of Sumangali A specific mode of cheap labour in these transnational value chains is the Sumangali scheme in Tamil Nadu, called the ‘coolie camp system’, which is actually a new form of bonded labour. It was implemented in the 1990s when the mushrooming Tirupur textile industry was keen to attract young, unorganised, and cheap labour to replace the organised and male workforce. The rationale for this labour regime, in which more than 120,000 girls are currently working, is the convergence of capitalist interest in profit-making and patriarchal interest in raising a dowry – that is, the interaction between integration into a ‘modern’ export production system and submission to a so-called tradition. In particular, girls from poor, illiterate, and low-caste or Dalit communities such as the Arunthathiyar, a scheduled caste, are targeted by brokers and offered an apprenticeship contract. Advertisements raise false expectations: ‘Internationally famous exporters want you . . . Are you ready?’,11 or ‘We ask you to bring us the lovely girls you know and make their lives as prosperous as a lighthouse’.12 Some parents are lured with the promise that, after three years’ work in the mills, their daughters (aged from 12 to 23) will earn a lump sum of between 30,000 and 50,000 rupees in addition to small monthly allowances. Other parents give their daughters to agents in the villages so that their 203

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daughters can earn their own dowry. This is a neoliberal mode of making girls into entrepreneurs of their own selves. They pay a high price for this, however, in terms of the violation of human rights, labour rights, and children’s rights, including 12-hour workdays, compulsory overtime, subjection to a harsh disciplinary regime, sexual harassment, and health and psychological problems.13 Due to the long hours that they are forced to work, girls run a high risk of having an accident at their spinning machine. Dindigul is currently the hub of the Sumangali scheme. 80% of the workforce in the mills there are women younger than 18, between 10 and 20% are younger than 14, and 60% have a Dalit background. At least a quarter of the workers are migrants from poorer neighbouring Indian states, and they face language and cultural problems at the workplace.14 The whole system is geared towards constructing them as vulnerable and docile workers. Similar to the dormitory-factory complex in China, the workers are housed in hostels on the mill compound, which disciplines the workers into being always-available and just-in-time workers.15 They are often prevented from leaving the hostel, are isolated from the outside world and even from their parents, and are isolated from trade unions. The restriction to freedom of movement is a clear indicator of forced labour. Other indicators are forced overtime, the denial of the right to freedom of organisation and collective bargaining, and the agreement by which the lump sum is paid only after the completion of the three- or five-year contract. The intimidation and sexual harassment of the girls inside the compound, facilitated by their lack of awareness of labour rights and grievance mechanisms, are common vehicles for the construction of vulnerability and obedience.16 Coercion, forceful subordination, and violence are materialised in a complex system that makes for the prolonged vulnerabilisation of the girls. This violent labour system is shaped very much by omissions in regulation. Existing labour laws are hardly enforced, and audits by the purchasing brands are superficial or false. There is a lack of joint leverage between the ordering companies, e.g., factories in Bangladesh and China, and the major textile brands from abroad such as Primark, Marks & Spencer, Walmart, C&A, and GAP. Although India has ratified the ILO convention on forced labour, which sees forced labour as modern slavery, the country does not enforce its principles systematically. Workers do not receive the minimum entitlements to employees that are stipulated by national and state laws. The companies do not fulfil their legal obligation to provide the employee state insurance, which covers health and social security, or the employee provident fund. Some employers betray their workers by deducting from the wage the amount that they are obliged to pay into the provident fund without then transferring this amount to the state. Even after an accident, the employer does not pay for medical treatment, which then has to be paid for by the injured girl’s parents. Internal complaint committees, a legal obligation under the ‘Sexual Harassment at the Workplace Act’, which are designed to 204

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encourage women workers to report violations of their rights, are absent. Attempts by workers to report sexual harassment are ignored. Some girls have escaped and since reported rape and sexual exploitation; some have committed suicide.17 This is how the violence of omission functions as a building block for structural violence and the systemic violation of human, labour, and sexual rights. Countering the violence of omission and contesting human rights violations, local and transnational NGOs have pursued the issue through social movement campaigns, media strategies, and public demonstrations. They have successfully raised awareness and lodged grievances with judicial and non-judicial institutions such as the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI), which consists of companies and civil organisations. The high court of Madras passed a law in July 2016 to abolish various schemes of forced labour and recruitment, including the Sumangali system. However, employers still fail to comply with these legal requirements. The labour inspectorate fails to monitor them closely, thereby contributing to the ongoing violence of omission.18 Tirupur citizens showed anti-hegemonic agency at the end of 2016, though, when they declared two wards of the city to be ‘child-labour-free zones’. It is impossible to draw a clear line between force and freedom of choice when it comes to the question of why girls agree to enter such oppressive working and living conditions. The main reasons reported for leaving home are poverty and the alcoholism of the father, which are both forms of violence.19 Since the dowry system is actually a regime in the economisation of social relations, something that is regarded as a tradition and that is deeply embedded in the gender and caste hierarchy, the Sumangali girls nurture this patriarchal regime that prolongs the subordination of women. On the other hand, though, many feel empowered vis-à-vis their family, since they are no longer a financial burden on them and can earn the money that is required for them to be married off.

The case of financial inclusion My second case study begins with the suicide of more than 50 women in Andhra Pradesh at the end of 2010. These women saw no escape from their indebtedness caused by microcredits. Other customers described these credits as ‘killing’ them. The economic background to these tragic incidents is the commercialisation of microfinance after the Indian state began liberalising the financial market in the 1990s. 3000 licensed microfinance institutions (MFIs) sent thousands of agents, mostly smart young men, into the villages to hand out loans to poor women and to mobilise them into joint liability groups (they had up until then been organised in self-help groups). Commercial lending, now dubbed the ‘financial inclusion of poor women’, is located at the intersection of neoliberal policies, the financial market, and gendered regimes of 205

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production and social reproduction. Microcredits are gender-specific instruments of financial inclusion based on the assumption that women have a higher level of morality than men when it comes to repayment. As the services of MFIs are legally confined to credit-lending, MFIs take loans from Indian and foreign banks at the usual interest rate of 6 to 12%, and then relend the money to women with interest and charges of between 30 and 40%, thus turning the credit-lending process into a commercial financial service and exposing it to the exploitative mechanism of the financial market. The gap in interest rates represents a high degree of institutionalised violence and exploitation. After a short period of grace, repayment is collected weekly in the villages. The MFI agents exert a great deal of pressure on the individual customer, which is replicated by the liability group, a mechanism labelled an ‘economy of shame’ by Lamia Karim20 – a doublelayered structure of violence. Andhra Pradesh was in 2010 the most credit-penetrated region in the world: competing MFIs in every village caused an oversupply of microcredits and an overheating of the sector. An average of eight credits had flown into every rural household, at a time when the state was cutting subsidies for agriculture.21 The women made use of the oversupply by multi-borrowing in order to repay old loans with new ones. That is how the much-lauded repayment rate of 95% was accomplished, the hegemonic discourse of ‘female repayment morality’ was constructed, and the microfinance industry made huge profits at the expense of poor women.22 This system of money circulation is structurally violent because there is a great risk of poor borrowers going into debt. If they are unable to repay, then the liability group or the MFI agent takes the women’s belongings, household goods, and saris, and sells them. Even houses and huts have been dismantled by MFI agents in an act of direct violence. From a Foucauldian perspective, the small loans operate as a neoliberal technique of domination that teaches women self-governance and financial discipline.23 The feminisation of borrowing and indebtedness in terms of a growing number of women as debtors and a tailored form of lending is a highly ambivalent type of empowerment, located as it is between the axes of agency and of compulsion derived from patriarchal and market structures. Mediated by the meme of empowerment, microcredit now functions as the neoliberal assigning of individual responsibility to women, quantified in money and interest, making them homo economicus and homo financialis. Consequently, the model of the male breadwinner is being eroded. This feminisation of responsibility for the social reproduction of the family and management or reduction of poverty contains contradictory elements: it constructs women as independent market subjects or market citizens, while burdening them with the task of overcoming poverty through their individual efforts and the help of the market instruments offered. This involves not collectively fighting poverty and social inequalities as structural, economic, and political problems. 206

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A good woman is now a woman who brings microcredits home into the private household as a kind of revenue to subsidise everyday consumption and to make poverty manageable.24 However, the individual woman is normally not in control of the money. The microcredit is seldom used for productive investment; it is often used instead to repay the loans that husbands have taken from local moneylenders charging interest rates of 100% to pay for emergency medical costs or for a dowry. The microcredits are normalised under the conditions of poverty as a mode of social reproduction. The provision of microcredits to women has channelled a flow of money into the villages as never seen before. Cash in women’s hands represents a tool of empowerment and a revaluation of their status, and at the same time a disempowerment of the male breadwinner, who sometimes reacts to his loss of authority with physical violence.25 However, more money in circulation in communities merely increases the drive towards consumption and the dowry demands. This results in the paradox that an instrument of empowerment for women is used at the end of the day for the further economisation of patriarchal social relations that devalue women and use them as vehicles for enrichment and increasing consumption. As in the Sumangali system, women become key agents in financing a system that perpetuates their subordination and the gender hierarchy. Five years after the microcredit meltdown in Andhra Pradesh, India still lacks a law that would regulate MFIs. Microfinance has been coined financial inclusion, and MFIs have been further legitimised by issuing commercial bank licences for many of them. Alarming news from the North Indian states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar points to another microfinance bubble bursting at the expense of poor village women. Due to the large supply of loans in these ‘underserviced’ states, the same tragic chain has emerged: interest rates increased to 60%; after multiple lending, women became hugely indebted; they were harassed by MFI agents; financial and economic pressure was compounded by social and psychological pressure; and, finally, some women committed suicide. This tragedy is a systemic result of the exploitative and violent commercial structures of microfinance as a gendered regime of accumulation, a regime that is often backed by the exercise of personal force by MFI agents.

The case of surrogacy My third example of gendered structural violence is the commodification of women’s reproductive capacities as the centrepiece of the booming reproductive business in India, which had an annual turnover of 450 million US dollars. Before the ban in 2016, India had become a hub for the ongoing commercial reconfiguration of reproduction in transnational markets.26 Surrogacy as a metaphor for new reproductive arrangements is situated at the heart of a political-industrial-cultural complex and at the intersection 207

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of three powerful regimes: the reproductive industry, population and biopolitics, and the reproductive order in society with its own system of values and ethics.27 Commodification of the body such as in sex work has a strong connotation of coercion and violence. Similarly, the commodification of parts of the body and the trade in body parts or body substances raise serious ethical questions about the violation of bodily integrity and reproductive rights. The new bio-economy or biocapitalism expand accumulation into areas that had previously been outside the market and that had long been considered private, intimate, and non-economic. This coercive and violent process has been described in terms of the conquest of the ‘last colonies’,28 or as ‘accumulation by dispossession’.29 Driven by the dynamics of globalisation, by developments in the medical sciences, and by reproductive technologies, the formation of human life has become a production site and chain of value creation based on the marketisation of biological resources, scientific knowledge, and reproductive labour. Internationally, public controversies around surrogacy are striking. One discourse perceives the surrogate mother as the victim of an extreme form of embodied exploitation; the opposite perspective sees her as master of her own body who decides to use her womb as a means of production and income generation. In India, as in the USA, the unequal economic relations involved in surrogacy are concealed by a discourse that portrays the surrogate mother as acting out of altruism and sisterhood to ‘help’ another, infertile woman.30 Critical discourses in India about the commodification and industrialisation of reproductive processes have portrayed the woman’s womb as a vessel with a price tag and the process as a reproductive assembly line. Surrogacy in India involves reinterpreting the fertility of poor, subaltern women – previously seen as posing a risk to development, this fertility is now viewed as a valuable resource in a growing industry.31 Reproductive governance in the Global South has been framed by neo-Malthusian population control vis-à-vis the so-called overpopulation of the poor accompanied by racist and eugenic, and actually violent, mechanisms of selection. Like Western discourses, discourses in India constructed the fertility of subaltern women as backward, passive, subjugated, unruly, and unplanned. However, when offered as a service to the affluent global middle class to fulfil their desire for their own child, the reproductive capacities of poor Indian women gained unprecedented appreciation. Biopolitical interpretations of the reproductive potential of subalterns disempower women and disregard their sexual and reproductive rights. Indian biopolitics has a long history of coercion, violence, and population control, which are always intertwined and interact with patriarchal regimes of control over women’s bodies, sexuality, and fertility. The hegemonic reproductive system in India is characterised by open or culturally 208

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internalised coercive and violent measures of patriarchal and social selection, namely (1) the traditional cultural preference for sons, which leads to prenatal sex determination, frequent femicide, and a distorted sex ratio, (2) population control programmes that have targeted poor, subaltern, Muslim, and indigenous groups in society since the 1970s. Technologicalmedical control over the reproductive processes and the bodies of women, and brutal eugenic interventions, have been normalised due to easy access to technologies for sex determination (though banned since 1994) and sterilisation through laparoscopy. After an attempt at the forced mass sterilisation of men failed politically in the 1970s, the state organises regular laparoscopy camps for mothers of two children, supported by a semi-commercialised regime of incentives, such as financial bonuses and penalties for government employees, medical staff, and the women targeted. Unsurprisingly, this complex regime of sanctions was open to corruption. The Indian state favours permanent or long-lasting methods of birth control, such as implants and sterilisation, which actually fail to give women control over their own reproduction and no freedom of choice. Birth control is enforced recklessly, resulting in health hazards or even the death of women – as in a camp for tubal litigation in November 2014, when 14 women died.32 At the same time, since infertility constitutes a tremendous stigma in hegemonic Hindu culture, causing manifold discrimination and exclusion of the women concerned, the state already legalised in vitro fertilisation (IVF) in the 1970s, appreciating Hindu family values. From 2002 onwards, the neoliberal Indian government issued licences to 3000 IVF clinics to offer a broad range of assisted reproductive technology (ART), including surrogacy, and simultaneously supported the establishment of a clinical and technologicalmedical infrastructure, e.g., by tax and tariff exemptions, in order to attract medical tourism. The comparative advantage of surrogacy in India is threefold: cheap surrogate mothers, high quality medical services, and hardly any political regulation. Prices for the commissioning parents are less than half compared to the amount that parents in the US have to pay (60,000–100,000 US dollars). The key motivation for women to undergo a surrogate pregnancy is money, with the most prestigious clinics paying around 350,000 rupees, which women then use primarily for the schooling and advancement of their own children. Due to international competition and the absence of regulation, the procedures and prices have become increasingly informalised and socially stratified; Muslim surrogate women in Mumbai reported being paid only 150,000 rupees. Surrogacy is framed by a contract between the commissioning parents, the prospective surrogate mother, and the clinic or recruitment agency that organises the process, all of whom are formally considered to be free and equal actors in the market. Regardless of the social inequalities, gendered 209

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hierarchies, and poverty, the contract assumes that the woman is the owner of her body, an entrepreneur of herself, and that it is her free choice to rent out her otherwise unused womb to earn money. However, by signing the contract, the woman cedes her rights over her body and reproduction to the reproductive entrepreneurs, mainly the clinic.33 If the embryo implantation is not successful, the surrogate mother has to accept further attempts just as she has to accept the abortion of disabled and ‘surplus’ embryos. However, she is not allowed to halt the process herself. Just as in most informal, Taylorised, outsourced forms of labour, the contract omits social and health protection. Apart from two small instalments paid at the beginning and after the nesting of the embryo, the lump sum agreed is paid only after the delivery of the baby, the quality product. The women bear the full risk of a miscarriage or stillbirth. Despite the high earnings (by Indian standards), it is precarious, embodied contract labour, which facilitates an extractivism of care, bioresources, and bodily energy. Surrogate mothers live initially like the Sumangalis and other export workers under permanent surveillance in a hostel on the clinic compound. The hostel accommodation is an entrepreneurial strategy of governance and disciplining. The decision to provide her uterus as a vessel for the production of someone else’s baby – and, as per the contract, a healthy baby – means that the surrogate mother is subjected to intensive medical interventions, frequent treatment with hormones and permanent quality control such as ultrasound and prenatal diagnosis.34 The whole reproductive-medical process is subordinated to the market rationale of efficiency and competition irrespective of the surrogate mother’s rights to bodily integrity. Clinics compete with regard to the success rate of IVF and nesting of the embryo in the woman’s uterus. In order to increase the chances of an embryo nesting, five embryos are normally transferred after IVF, or the embryos of one couple are tentatively implanted into two surrogate mothers. If several pregnancies occur, the surplus embryos are ‘reduced’ according to the wish of the commissioning parents, often without informing the surrogate mother.35 Surrogacy work like other care work and personal services involves significant elements of emotional labour regarding the embryo. The surrogate mother is asked to be attentive towards the growth of a healthy baby inside her body, and to be prepared to accept separation after giving birth – an extreme form of psycho-social, bodily, and emotional alienation and objectification.36 It is therefore common practice to prevent the surrogate mother from seeing the baby after delivery. Amrita Pande (2014), who conducted ethnographic research on surrogacy in India for eight years, calls this outsourced and alienated form of transnational reproduction ‘neo-eugenics’. Women from the Global South serve the reproduction of mostly white and wealthier people from the Global North, while at the same time inequalities amongst women and the stratification of 210

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reproduction grow. Thus, couples from the global middle class can realise their reproductive rights as part of their ‘imperialistic’ mode of living, based on the extractivism of bioresources and care work from the Global South.37 In such complex intersecting power structures, surrogacy for these women is first of all an embodied work in a framework of multiple dependencies and subordination, exploitation, disciplining, and outside control. However, surrogate mothers are not completely powerless objects or only a bodily resource in the context of neoliberal globalisation.38 Rather, as agent and victim at the same time, the women form new subjectivities through their agency, motivations, perceptions, and dreams in these asymmetrical and often violent power relationships. Recent research on surrogacy has focused on subjectivities and explored the kind of work that surrogate mothers do. The production of a human being is highly valuable work. It is ‘clinical’, ‘reproductive’, and ‘regenerative’ work similar to the proliferation of reproductive tissues and body material for medical and reproductive sciences and businesses,39 emotionally and morally highly charged, and embedded in outsourced care work with a commodification of ‘vital energy’.40 Reacting to the omission of rights and entitlements, some scholars have proposed ‘fair-trade’ surrogacy with labour rights and social security,41 and ‘reproductive justice’ for the contract mothers.42 These controversies are currently gaining momentum because reproductive markets in Asia function like a chessboard, where the actors are shifted around by biopolitics and new laws, regardless of their rights. After years prioritising economic growth and neoliberal interests, the Indian state banned surrogacy for homosexual couples in 2013 out of moral considerations. This triggered an unprecedented chain of events: homosexual Israeli couples had their Indian surrogate mother transferred to Nepal; but, after the earthquake there in 2014, the Israeli government was motivated by its pronatalist nationalism to send an aircraft with a rescue team to Nepal to save the newly born Israeli citizens; the surrogate mothers remained in Nepal. Thailand has prohibited surrogate motherhood for foreigners after a scandal in 2015 when an Australian couple rejected their baby because the baby had Down Syndrome. Since the ban, Thai women have been transferred to Cambodia for embryo transfer and delivery. The ban on commercial surrogacy and egg donation introduced by India’s Hindu-identitarian governmental low altruistic surrogacy for Indian heterosexual couples only, excluding foreigners, singles, and LGBTIQ persons. External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj called commercial surrogacy for all people who desire a child ‘against our culture’.43 Agencies and clinics went underground or set up branches in other countries, e.g., Cambodia. However, Cambodia also announced a provisional ban at the end of 2016, and Ukraine has become the new hub on the transnational reproductive map. 211

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Though scholars and feminist activists always articulated a strong critique of the commercialisation of reproduction and the commodification of the body, they are not at ease with the Indian ban of commercial surrogacy and the allowance of altruistic surrogacy, which has become a law now. Their discomfort with the ban results from the obvious interest of the governing party in representing its moral profile both inside and outside India, rather than by serious concerns for women’s rights and their survival strategies, secondly not by a profound critique of the commercial reproductive industry and a regulation of reproductive technologies as requested by the parliamentary standing committee, and thirdly not by the desire by other than heterosexual couples for a child. The ban makes no reference to poverty as the root cause of the decision made by women to become surrogate mothers, and nor to other forms of exploitation of women in the informal economy.44 No wonder surrogate mothers protested against the ban because they felt that it would deprive poor women of a means to earn a substantial amount of money. Bans by individual nation states are not a sufficient response to surrogate motherhood as a highly paradoxical (re)productive option in a neoliberal arena governed by biopolitics, biocapitalism, and imperial lifestyles, clearly violating women’s bodily rights. Apart from protection against the commodification of their bodies, women need sexual and reproductive rights as well as social, economic, and employment rights. Recent biopolitical shifts will drive women increasingly into illegal arrangements and make their lives even more vulnerable and precarious.45 It will trigger a new offshoring of the reproductive industry and the emergence of new markets where women are moved around like commodities and where their rights, bodily integrity, and personal dignity are violated.

Structural violence and culture In the three cases discussed, women are integrated by globalisation into modern markets, transnational labour, and financial and reproductive networks. These instances of inclusion address the exclusion of women and are supposed to be contract-based rather than based on coercion and violence. The state facilitates these markets, often without much regard to human rights since it has its own interests in trading and exporting goods, in earning foreign exchange, and in reducing the political burden of eradicating poverty by shifting social responsibility in a neoliberal way to the poor themselves. The state navigates between its interest in economic growth and ethical concerns or commitments towards the rights of its citizens. This is most obvious in the case of surrogacy. Shalini Randeria names this state that navigates between various legal systems and conflicting interests the ‘cunning state’.46 Including young women into various markets is highly paradoxical and ambivalent: it disciplines them to become a sort of ‘rational man’ and an 212

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entrepreneur of themselves in a highly unequal system. Direct personal violence and violence by omission when the state omits to provide regulation and social protection – these work as mechanisms to make women vulnerable as docile workers, as disappropriated debtors, and as surrogate mothers moved around on markets like commodities. They are subjected to new forms of gendered discrimination, to hierarchisation, and to manifold violations of their rights. Exploiting gender norms, the money economy fuels and strengthens in many places patriarchal ‘traditions’ as well as structural violence against women in the form of, for example, prenatal gender determination and the dowry system. Moreover, when a woman earns her own money, this does not mean that she can take charge of it and spend it. Nevertheless, the money does represent symbolic capital. Thus, from a Bourdieuan perspective, when women gain agency within confined and repressive structures and develop new subject positions, they acquire symbolic and social capital that causes ruptures in the existing gender order, thus instigating social change.47 The political-economic perspective on women as market subjects in a globalised and structurally violent economy highlights agency and recognises the emergence of new subjectivities while gendered, class/caste, racial, and ethnic inequalities remain. This perspective on agency also allows us to explore options of possible empowerment within an exploitative context, and the means to resist the violation of rights and violence by omission. A postcolonial critique linked to a political-economic analysis can act as a counter-discourse to the prevailing culturalisation, which is often adopted in the case of violence against Indian women. A multiscalar intersectional approach to gendered violence results in a more comprehensive understanding of root causes, and of the interplay between culture as something that frames and informs the economy, and the economy as something that determines and reinvents culture and tradition. An intersectional perspective allows us to perceive the existence of physical sexist violence in different interlocking power regimes, and to contest cultural reductionism. It allows for a differentiated analysis of how the individual perpetrator is supported by societal institutions and value systems and is actually encouraged by a complex system of gender discrimination, othering, and hierarchisation. Personal as well as structural violence, complemented and supported by the violence by omission, are societal mechanisms of constructing and reconstructing gender as a social category of inequality and asymmetrical power. A multiscalar approach also suggests different strategies for combatting gendered violence. Protective policies are necessary as an immediate response to physical violence, but they cannot change structural violence and hierarchical relations and simply divert attention from the root causes of physical violence. A broader perspective has to be adopted to address structural and institutionalised violence in intersecting power regimes, regimes that create 213

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an enabling context for gendered and sexual violence. From this perspective, other perpetrators have to be targeted by a strategy of naming and shaming: major brands or powerful actors on the financial market such as Goldman Sachs and Citi Group could be taken to court under the New York Convention. Feminist scholars and activists manage to overcome the hegemonic perspective of victimisation by highlighting the survival of violence and agency, and by referring to human rights. The perspective of rights constructs women as the bearers of rights, while democratic states are the key duty bearers with regard to respect, protection, and the enforcement of rights. Both perspectives – of rights and agency – allow us to think strategically beyond the powerlessness of vulnerable women and the disempowering impact of structural and personal violence, as well as of violence by omission.

Notes 1 Johan Galtung, ‘Violence, Peace and Peace Research’, Journal of Peace Research, 1969, 6(3), 167–191. 2 Vittorio Bufacchi, Violence and Social Justice, Houndmills/Basingstoke/Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007. 3 Naila Kabeer and Simeen Mahmud, Rags, Riches and Women Workers: ExportOriented Garment Manufacturing in Bangladesh, WIEGO, 2004. http://wiego. org/sites/wiego.org/files/publications/files/Kabeer-Mahmud-Export-OrientedGarment-Bangladesh.pdf (accessed on 13 June 2017). 4 Diane Elson and Ruth Pearson, ‘Nimble Fingers Make Cheap Workers: An Analysis of Women’s Employment in Third World Export Manufacturing’, Feminist Review, 1981, 7, 87–107; Ruth Pearson, ‘“Nimble Fingers” Revisited: Reflections on Women and Third World Industrialisation in the Late Twentieth Century’, in Cecilia Jackson and Ruth Pearson (eds.), Feminist Visions of Development: Gender Analysis and Policy, London: Zed Books, 1998, pp. 171–189. 5 Naila Kabeer, ‘Globalization, Labour Standards, and Women’s Rights: Dilemmas of Collective (In)action in an Interdependent World’, Feminist Economics, 2004, 10(1), 3–35. 6 Jahangir Alam, Muhammad Z. Mamun and Nazrul Islam, ‘Workplace Security of Female Garment Workers in Bangladesh’, Social Science Review, 2004, 21(2), 191–200. 7 Mohd Raisul Islam Khan and Christa Wichterich, Safety and Labour Standards: The Accord and the National Tripartite Action Plan for the Garment Industry of Bangladesh, Geneva: ILO, 2015. 8 Ferdouz Ahamed, Working Conditions in the Bangladesh Readymade Garments Industry: Is Social Compliance Making a Difference? PhD Thesis, La Trobe University, Australia, 2011. 9 The Wall Street Journal, 25April 2013. www.wsj.com/articles/SB100014241278 87323789704578444280661545310 (accessed on 17 June 2017). 10 Ruth Pearson, ‘Reassessing Paid Work and Women’s Empowerment: Lessons from the Global Economy’, in Andrea Cornwall, Elizabeth Harrison and Ann Whitehead (eds.), Feminism in Development, London/New York: Zed Books, 2007, pp. 201–214. Ngai Pun, Made in China: Women Factory Workers in a Global Workplace, Durham: Duke University Press, 2005.

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11 Quoted in Veeramani, S., Political Economy of Labour in the Era of Globalisation: A Case Study of Women Workers of Garment Industries in Tirupur, unpublished PhD, JNU, New Delhi, 2013, p. 261. 12 Quoted in ICN/SOMO, Captured by Cotton: Exploited Dalit Girls Produce Garments in India for European and US Markets’, 2011. http://idsn.org/wp-content/ uploads/user_folder/pdf/New_files/Private_sector/CapturedByCottonReport.pdf (assessed on 13 June 2017). 13 Solidaridad, Understanding the Characteristics of the Sumangali Scheme in Tamil Nadu Textile & Garment Industry and Supply Chain Linkages, 2012. www. solidaridadnetwork.org/sites/solidaridadnetwork.org/files/publications/Under standing_Sumangali_Scheme_in_Tamil_Nadu.pdf (assessed on 13 June 2017). 14 ICN (India Committee of the Netherlands), Fabrics of Slavery: Large Scale Forced Child Labour in South India’s Spinning Mills, 2016. www.indianet.nl/ pdf/FabricOfSlavery.pdf (assessed on 15 June 2017). 15 Ngai Pun, Made in China: Women Factory Workers in a Global Workplace, Durham: Duke University Press, 2005. 16 ICN, Fabrics of Slavery. 17 ICN, Fabrics of Slavery. 18 Annie Delaney and Tim Connor, Forced Labour in the Textile and Garment Sector in Tamil Nadu, South India: Strategies for Redress, 2016. http://corpo rateaccountabilityresearch.net/njm-report-xiii-sumangali (accessed on 15 June 2017). 19 Indianet, Sumangali Trend, Nagapattinam District, 2015. www.indianet.nl/pdf/ SumangaliTrend2015.pdf (assessed on 13 June 2017). 20 Lamia Karim, Microfinance and Its Discontents: Women in Debt in Bangladesh, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2011. 21 Srinivasan, N., Microfinance India: State of the Sector Report 2009, New Delhi: Sage Publications India, 2009. 22 Philip Mader, ‘Rise and Fall of Microfinance in India: The Andhra Pradesh Crisis in Perspective’, Strategic Change, 2013, 22, 47–66; Christa Wichterich, ‘Microcredits, Returns and Gender: of Reliable Poor Women and Financial Inclusion in South Asia’, in Virginius Xaxa, Debdulal Saha and Rajdeep Singha (eds.), Work, Institutions and Sustainable Livelihood: Issues and Challenges of Transformation, New Delhi: Palgrave Macmillan, 2017, pp. 275–301. 23 Peter Miller and Nicolas Rose, ‘Governing Economic Life’, Economy and Society, 1990, 19(1): 1–27; for Nepal: Katherine Rankin, ‘Governing Development: Neoliberalism, Microcredit, and Rational Economic Woman’, Economy and Society, 2001, 30(1), 18–37. 24 Srilatha Batliwala and Deepa Dhanraj, ‘Gender Myths That Instrumentalize Women: A View from the Indian Front Line’, in Andrea Cornwall, Elizabeth Harrison and Ann Whitehead (eds.), Feminism in Development, London: Zed Books, 2007, pp. 21–35. 25 Anne Marie Goetz and Rina Sen Gupta, ‘Who Takes the Credit? Gender, Power, and Control over Loan Use in Rural Credit Programs in Bangladesh’, World Development, 1996, 24(1), 45–63. 26 Sarojini, N., ‘Unravelling the Fertility Industry: ARTs in the Indian Context’, in N. Sarojini and Vrinda Marwah (eds.), Reconfiguring Reproduction, New Delhi, 2014, pp. 92–122; Sarojini Nadimpally, Sneha Banerjee and Deepa Venkatachalam, Commercial Surrogacy: A Contested Terrain in the Realm of Rights and Justice, New Delhi: Sama Resource Group for Women and Health. 27 Christa Wichterich, Sexual and Reproductive Rights, Berlin: Heinrich-BöllStiftung, 2015.

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28 Maria Mies, Veronika Bennholdt-Thomsen and Claudia V. Werlhof, Women, the Last Colony, London: Zed Books, 1988. 29 David Harvey, ‘The “New” Imperialism: Accumulation by Dispossession’, Socialist Register, 2004, 40, 63–87. 30 Anindita Majumdar, ‘The Rhetoric of Choice: The Feminist Debates on Reproductive Choice in the Commercial Surrogacy Arrangement in India’, Gender, Technology and Development, 2014, 18(2), 275–301. 31 Amrita Pande, Wombs in Labour: Transnational Commercial Surrogacy in India, New York: Columbia University Press, 2014, pp. 26–37. 32 Sarojini, N. and Vrinda Marwah (eds.), Reconfiguring Reproduction: Feminist Health Perspectives on Assisted Reproductive Technologies, New Delhi: Zubaan, 2014. 33 Neha Wadekar, ‘Wombs for Rent: A Bioethical Analysis of Commercial Surrogacy in India’, Tuftscope, 2011, 10(3). 34 Sama Resource Group for Women and Health, Birthing a Market: A Study on Commercial Surrogacy, New Delhi, 2012. 35 Kalindi Vora, ‘Potential, Risk, and Return in Transnational Indian Gestational Surrogacy’, Current Anthropology, 2013, 54(S7, S97–S106), S100. 36 Arlie Hochschild, ‘The Back Stage of Global Free Market Nannies and Surrogates’, in Hans-Georg Soeffner (ed.), Transnationale Vergesellschaftungen, Wiesbaden: Springer, 2012, pp. 1125–1138. 37 Ulrich Brand and Marcus Wissen, ‘Global Environmental Politics and the Imperial Mode of Living’, Globalizations, 2012, 9(4), 547–560. 38 Kevin Floyd, Leihmutterschaft – die neueBioökonomie, 2014 Debatte Nr. 30. http://debatte.ch/2014/10/leihmutterschaft-die-neue-biooekonomie/ (assessed on 30 June 2015). 39 Catherine Waldby and Melinda Cooper, ‘The Biopolitics of Reproduction: Post-Fordist Biotechnology and Women’s Clinical labour’, Australian Feminist Studies, 2008, 23(55), 57–74, 59; Catherine Waldby and Melinda Cooper, ‘From Reproductive Work to Regenerative Labour: The Female Body and the Stem Cell Industries’, Feminist Theory, 2010, 11(1), 3–22, p. 9. 40 Kalindi Vora, ‘Indian Transnational Surrogacy and the Commodification of Vital Energy’, Subjectivities, 2009, 28(1), 266–278. 41 Casey Humbryd, ‘Fair Trade International Surrogacy’, Developing World Bioethics, 2009, 9, 111–118. 42 Sharmila Rudrappa, Discounted Life: The Prize of Global Surrogacy in India, New York/London: New York University Press, 2015, p. 173. 43 Aarti Dhar, ‘India to Ban Rent-A Wombs, Limited Surrogacy Allowed But Not for Single Women, Gays’, The Wire, 24 September 2018. 44 Amrita Pande, ‘Surrogacy Bill’s missteps’, Himal Southasian, 12 September 2016. 45 Sarojini Nadimpally, Sneha Banerjee and Deepa Venkatachalam, Commercial Surrogacy: A Contested Terrain in the Realm of Rights and Justice, New Delhi: Sama Resource Group for Women and Health, 2016. 46 Shalini Randeria, ‘Scattered Sovereignties and the Cunning State: Sub-Stateand Supra State Legal Pluralism in India’, in Boaventura de Sousa Santos (ed.), Another Knowledge Is Possible, London/New York: Verso, 2004, pp. 42–75. 47 Pierre Bourdieu, The Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste, Harvard: Routledge, 1984.

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12 FIFTY SHADES OF GREY A romance that we cannot resist? Mary Edwards*

The concept of feminine ‘sexual empowerment’, as Nicola Gavey suggests, is ‘prone to being coopted and depoliticised within neoliberal postfeminist discourse’.1 Because it suggests that women possess special powers in the sexual domain, the modern conception of feminine sexual empowerment arguably contributes to the mystification of the continued oppression of women in the West by distracting people from the fact that women in Western societies still possess far less power than men in many other domains. Some Western fictional constructions of feminine sexual empowerment can even be read to idealise heterosexual relationships in which the female partner achieves sexual empowerment only through her disempowerment at another level. By subjecting one such construction – namely, that which is discoverable in EL James’s Fifty Shades of Grey2 (hereafter, FSG)3 – to feminist critique, this chapter questions what Western modernity regards as ‘empowering’ for women and thus challenges constructed oppositions between a ‘modern’ and ‘liberal’ gender order in the West on the one hand, and a ‘backward’ and ‘anti-liberal’ one in the East on the other. Despite its international popularity, FSG has been frequently criticised on artistic grounds and has received few literary awards. Clearly, FSG is not exempt from artistic criticism, but whether or not it is deserving of feminist criticism is a contentious issue. On the one hand, its content – interpreted as an erotic fantasy, with a ‘strong’ female protagonist4 – combined with the fact that its author is female motivates the popular view that FSG empowers its female readership.5 On the other, the same content – interpreted as a story that romanticises a heterosexual relationship in which the man abuses the woman – motivates the view that FSG can only serve to harm, degrade and disempower women.6 Here we have a problem: while FSG may be good art for some and bad art for others, it seems incorrect to claim that it both empowers and disempowers women. For some feminists, the potential of FSG to harm women is almost selfevident. But, since this view conflicts with the popular view of FSG, the 217

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absence of a clear and compelling feminist critique of FSG means that feminist criticisms of the work are liable to be interpreted as being motivated by conservatism, rather than by a genuine concern for the welfare of women.7 By arguing that FSG is likely to disempower and, thereby, harm women8 who read it because of what the book requires its readers to make-believe, this chapter aims to provide a clear and compelling feminist critique of FSG that avoids charges of conservatism, while also accounting for the contrasting popular views of FSG by showing how its harmful potential is mystified. I first outline why standard feminist critiques of FSG are unsatisfactory. I then draw on empirical evidence and insights provided by the aesthetics of fiction into how we engage with fictions to show how fictions may harm their readers. Next, by showing that readers must entertain a view that is potentially harmful in order to engage with FSG, and that this view is also very likely to be absorbed into readers’ belief systems, I show precisely how FSG is likely to harm its readership. Finally, I conclude by suggesting that FSG is likely to harm women readers in the East as well as in the West, by considering the reception of the book in India alongside evidence that suggests women readers in India may also interpret it as a model for feminine sexual empowerment.

Problems with a ‘standard’ feminist critique If the success of a critique is measured by its capacity to convince those who are inclined to disagree with its conclusion, then a standard feminist critique of FSG is unlikely to be successful. I explain in this section why this is the case by showing that standard feminist critiques of FSG are incapable of persuading people that the book could harm women if these people subscribe to the popular view of FSG. I then make some recommendations for an alternative means of critiquing FSG – and, by extension, other similar works – which may better serve feminist aims. As I see it, the ‘standard’ feminist approach to critiquing a literary work like FSG is to draw on the work of anti-pornography feminists.9 Loosely, the approach would proceed as follows. First, it would argue for a certain interpretation of FSG’s content. Then, it would show that, according to this interpretation, FSG deserves to be classified as ‘pornography’. Finally, it would conclude that FSG harms women because it is pornography, and pornography – at least according to the definition of an anti-pornography feminist – harms women. At this point, it is crucial to be clear about the ways that objections to pornography made by anti-pornography feminists are distinct from those to obscenity made by conservatives. In general, conservatives object to material that is deemed ‘obscene’ on the basis that it appeals ‘solely to the prurient interest’, or tends to ‘deprave’ or ‘corrupt’, with the latter terms being defined in relation to current societal norms. In contrast, anti-pornography feminists, who are generally quite happy to 218

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disrupt societal norms, do not object to material that appeals only to sexual interests.10 Catharine A MacKinnon and Andrea Dworkin’s definition of pornography has been very influential for the feminist anti-pornography movement. According to them, pornography is the ‘graphic sexually explicit subordination of women through pictures and/or words’ that also meets one of several other conditions, which includes how women are presented as being penetrated by objects or animals; or women are presented in scenarios of degradation, humiliation, injury, torture, shown as filthy or inferior, bleeding, bruised, or hurt in a context that makes these conditions sexual.”11 While MacKinnon and Dworkin’s definition may not be watertight,12 what it makes clear is that anti-pornography feminists object to what they call ‘pornography’ because they believe that it harms women by subordinating them, humiliating them, perpetuating the idea that the role of women is to serve men, and so on. A successful feminist critique of FSG the novel must therefore establish a direct connection between FSG and harm within this second category. A valid interpretation of FSG is that it is the tale of a man who abuses a woman physically and psychologically for his own sexual gratification,13 so there appears to be grounds for claiming that it qualifies as pornography according to MacKinnon and Dworkin’s definition. A scene in the final chapter, where Christian ‘punishes’ Anastasia for rolling her eyes at him by administering six belts upon her bare flesh, which is described as being both painful and humiliating for Anastasia, illustrates this point well.14 Anastasia’s pain may, for example, be considered a necessary part of her journey towards self-discovery, a journey that eventually leads to her gaining power over Christian. Nothing in James’ novel precludes this interpretation and, if we permit ourselves to take the author’s comments into account, such an interpretation is more in line with her statements.15 Even if we accept that FSG presents Anastasia in scenarios of degradation, humiliation, injury, torture, etc., this is not enough for FSG to satisfy MacKinnon and Dworkin’s condition ‘h’; we must also show that the novel makes these conditions sexually appealing. Not all representations of violence against woman sexualise the violence that they depict; for example, television programmes such as Crimewatch (BBC) frequently reconstruct real instances of violent assault against women, but such reconstructions are, for most people, far from titillating. Moreover, what exactly it takes for a representation of violence against women to make such conditions ‘sexual’ is unclear and would, most likely, vary from one person to another. All this makes the task of showing that any work sexualises the violence that it depicts extremely difficult. And, while it may seem easier at first glance to make this claim in relation to FSG, which is after all an erotic novel, it can always be pointed out that it is not the conditions of violence that are eroticised, but rather the romance between the two protagonists, since Christian’s need to inflict pain on women may be read as an obstacle that the pair must overcome. 219

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However, the claim that FSG satisfies MacKinnon and Dworkin’s condition ‘h’ encounters an even more fundamental problem: namely, it appears to make a leap from ‘token(s)’ to ‘type’ that is not justified. Put simply, there seems to be no licence to claim that the artistic representation of any particular woman (i.e., a token of the type woman) in a scenario of degradation could also represent the degradation of women in general. Even if a large group of women are presented by an artwork in a degrading manner, it can still be claimed that it is just the particular women represented that are degraded, rather than the entire class of women.16 This objection is perhaps the most devastating for the standard feminist approach, since it questions the legitimacy of one of the key aims of anti-pornography feminism – the aim of showing that engaging with representations of the submission, humiliation, injury, etc. of particular women can influence one’s understanding of what women in general are, or ought to be, in a way that could influence one’s behaviour towards women or as a women.17 Together, these problems with the standard feminist approach indicate that, in order for a feminist critique of FSG to be convincing, it must (1) refrain from basing its claims on any particular interpretation of FSG’s content, and (2) discover new ways of connecting the consumption of literary fiction to harmful effects. In what follows, I show how FSG is likely to harm its readership by drawing on empirical evidence showing that readers often turn views that they entertain while engaging with fictions into beliefs. This offers a more robust foundation for a feminist critique of FSG, as it grounds claims on the psychological mechanisms involved in engaging with fictional texts in general, rather than a particular interpretation of FSG’s content.

Beliefs we will not resist in fictions While it seems unlikely that readers will believe anything that they read in fictions, empirical research suggests that readers may in fact be just as likely to believe that certain claims are true if they encounter them in a fictional context as they would be if they encountered them in a non-fictional context.18 The word ‘certain’ is important here: it designates claims that are not central to the fiction, but are rather ‘background’ claims concerned with a fictional world more generally, insofar as that fictional world resembles the real world.19 So, although readers are unlikely to believe that Christian Grey, CEO of Grey Enterprises Holdings, Inc., really exists, they might believe that ‘gliding’ involves flying ‘in a small plane with no engine’.20 In recent years, philosophers have used the term ‘imaginative resistance’ to describe the experience of not being able to imagine something that is necessary to engage with a fiction, and they have focused primarily on explaining its ‘puzzling’ nature. What philosophers find puzzling about imaginative resistance is that, although we usually have little difficulty 220

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suspending our disbelief when we engage with a fictional narrative, and we can make-believe21 all sorts of fantastic things (such as time-travel, the undead, wizards, middle-earth, etc.), when we come across a sentence like: (G) In killing her baby, Giselda did the right thing; after all, it was a girl.22 something impedes our ability to make-believe. There is something, it seems, about the last phrase of (G) that appears to ‘pop-out’ of the text and interrupt our engagement with the fiction. Although phrases in a fictional narrative can pop-out for various reasons,23 perhaps the most interesting reason why they do – and certainly the most relevant to the concerns of this chapter – is when the narrative requires the reader to make-believe something that s/ he finds abhorrent. This appears to be the case with (G); because I believe female infanticide to be evil, I am unwilling to go along with the idea that killing a baby because it is a girl would ever be the ‘right’ thing to do. Further, because I also believe that female infanticide is an absolute evil, when I reach the second phrase of (G), I may doubt that the author could possibly mean to say what (G) implies – and, consequently, I might question whether I have misread the passage, or whether the author has made a mistake, or whether s/he is joking. As soon as I commence this process of questioning, though, my ‘attention is drawn . . . away from the world of fiction’,24 and I cease to engage with it. According to Tamar Szabó Gendler, readers tend to resist engaging with passages like (G) when they occur in fictions because, ‘instead of taking the author to be asking her to imagine some proposition p that concerns the fictional world, the reader takes the author to be asking her to believe a corresponding proposition p’ that concerns the actual world’.25 This appears to be the case with (G), which seems to imply that: (G’) Killing girls is the right thing to do (in the actual world). Now, if we accept Gendler’s account, the following question arises: can imaginative resistance be disabled? For Gendler, the answer is ‘yes’, but only for ‘can’t’ cases of imaginative resistance.26 That is, cases where the fiction appears to invite the reader to imagine something seemingly impossible in the fictional world, insofar as the fictional world resembles the real world. Consider the following passage: (O) They flopped down under the great maple. One more item to find, and yet the game seemed lost. Hang on, Sally said. It’s staring us in the face. This is a maple tree we’re under. She grabbed a jagged five-fingered leaf. Here was the oval they needed! They ran off to claim their prize.27 221

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The penultimate sentence of (O) pops-out: I can’t imagine a five-pointed shape ever being an oval, so I start to wonder: have I missed something? Is the author joking? According to Gendler, this kind of imaginative resistance can be disabled if the fiction supplies its readers with another (fictional) idea that explains away the apparent impossibility in the context of the fictional world. To illustrate this point, Gendler presents The Tower of Goldbach, a story in which 12 is no longer the sum of two prime numbers because that is how God willed it to be. Despite the fact that readers must make-believe in a mathematical impossibility in order to engage with The Tower of Goldbach, the story is unlikely to trigger imaginative resistance because it provides readers with another idea – namely, that God is not bound by the laws of human logic. This idea highlights a point of difference between the fictional world and the real world, which also means that 12 is not necessarily the sum of two primes in the context of this particular fictional world. Gendler’s demonstration of how can’t imaginative resistance may be disabled implies that we experience imaginative resistance when reading (O) not because it invites us to believe something that is impossible in the actual world (that a shape with five points could also be an oval), but because it fails to supply another idea (that ‘oval’ is a codeword for ‘magical shape’ in the fictional world) that would render (O) possible in the context of the fiction. Despite showing that can’t imaginative resistance may be disabled, Gendler maintains that it is not possible to disable what she calls ‘won’t’ imaginative resistance, which occurs when ‘the reader feels that she is being asked to export a way of looking at the actual world which she does not wish to add to her conceptual repertoire’.28 To support this view, she asks us to suppose that, instead of (G), we have either: (J) In killing her baby, Giselda did the right thing; after all, it was born on January 19. or (C) In killing her baby, Giselda did the right thing; after all, it was a changeling. Gendler observes that, when she reads (J) and (C), her response is not to resist make-believing, but to say to herself: ‘How interesting! I wonder what this world is going to turn out to be like, this world in which killing one’s baby is the right thing to do, so long as the baby is born on January 19, or is a changeling’.29 Because (J) and (C) are so peculiar, Gendler contends that readers have no reason to think that they are meant to have implications for the actual world, and therefore readers are unlikely to resist them on moral grounds. Although she seems to be correct about why sentences like 222

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(J) and (C) do not pop-out, Gendler appears to overlook the ways that a fictional work could disable our imaginative resistance to (G), without having to change any component of (G). Consider the following passage, which includes (G): (E) In the year 3043 AD, all female infants born naturally were taken from their mothers and forced to be slaves to the Emperor. It was a fate worse than death. In killing her baby, Giselda did the right thing; after all, it was a girl. Here, the sentence preceding (G) primes the reader to interpret (G) differently. The fictional belief about the state of affairs in 3043 neutralises the moral problems with (G) in the fictional context, and so (G) no longer popsout. Passage (E) is not read to imply (G’) because it highlights a point of difference between the fictional world and the actual world. Initially, this appears to confirm the idea that pernicious views in fictions will always be met with imaginative resistance, since the reader will only entertain (G), so long as it does not imply (G’). However, it is not possible to rule out the possibility that, if the reality actually resembles the fictional world in ways that matter with regard to (G), then the reader will not only not resist (G) but also import (G’). For example, a reader in 3043 AD who lives in a world where an evil emperor reigns and takes all female children born as his slaves would not resist entertaining (G) because it implies (G’), since, if life for girls is worse than death in both the fictional world and the actual world, then killing baby girls seems like the right (or, at least, the humane) thing to do in both worlds. Thus, the fictional justification provided for (G) in (E) translates into actual justification for (G’). Now, there is good reason to believe that readers will not always resist entertaining views that they would ordinarily consider repugnant, so long as the fiction supplies them with fictional justification for these views. Moreover, if the actual world resembles the fictional world in ways that count with regard to a given view, this view is also likely to become a belief. What I shall call a potentially harmful fictional view is one that meets the following criteria: 1) The view would ordinarily trigger won’t imaginative resistance, but this is disabled by the fiction. 2) The view is not central to the fiction. 3) The state of affairs in the real world does not contradict the view in any obvious way. 4) If it becomes a belief, the view would dispose the believer to certain kinds of behaviour. I will now turn to illustrate how a view in FSG meets these criteria. 223

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What Fifty Shades of Grey might make us believe This section aims to show that it is only possible to engage with FSG if the following view is entertained: (W) A woman must do whatever she can to keep hold of a man, or else she will be lonely and miserable. I assume that, when presented in isolation, (W) is a view that most women would find repugnant and would therefore resist entertaining. However, I contend that the idea that FSG’s protagonist, Anastasia Steele, has an inner goddess that lives in her head primes readers to accept (W) when they encounter it. For those unfamiliar with FSG, I use brief summaries of the novel’s key events to explain how the reader is required to entertain (W) in order to engage with the novel.

The interview (chapter 1) Anastasia’s flat mate Kate convinces her to interview the ‘mega-industrialist tycoon’ Christian Grey for the student newspaper.30 Anastasia is portrayed as being awkward, inexperienced, and ill-prepared for the interview. She is then made to feel inferior, overwhelmed, ‘embarrassed and flustered’ in Christian’s office.31 When she enters the office, she observes that it is ‘cold, clean, and clinical’, and wonders ‘if it reflects the personality of the Adonis who sinks gracefully into one of the white leather chairs opposite’ her.32 Although the reader will later discover that it is Anastasia who has a divinity inside her head, it is important to note here that it is Christian who is first presented as a God.

The chase (chapters 2–6) In this part of the novel, Christian meets Anastasia for a second time when he arrives at Clayton’s, an independent DIY store where Anastasia works part-time; he sends Anastasia a first edition of Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the d’Urbervilles as a gift; agrees to do a photoshoot for the student newspaper; proposes a contractual arrangement between himself and Anastasia; rescues Anastasia from the unwanted advances of her male photographer friend José; and kisses her for the first time. Before Anastasia has the opportunity to glance over Christian’s proposed contract, he kisses her in an elevator, thereby breaking his own rule that there should be no physical contact between them prior to her signing the contract. This first kiss is important for our concerns, as this is the moment when Anastasia’s inner goddess is born. After this kiss, Anastasia

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realises: ‘Christian Grey, Greek god, wants me’ and, with this revelation, a ‘very small’ inner goddess appears dancing a ‘gentle victory samba’.33 Until this point in the novel, Anastasia only had a subconscious. The timing of this birth also reinforces the Christian-God metaphor by implying that Christian is responsible for awakening the divine force in Anastasia’s psyche.

The contract (chapter 7) Anastasia is given a tour of Christian’s ‘Red Room of Pain’, whose contents include ‘all manner of ropes, chains . . . glinting shackles . . . a startling assortment of paddles, whips, riding crops, and funny-looking feathery implements’.34 After telling Anastasia that he is a ‘Dominant’, Christian explains why he wants her to be his Submissive by stating: ‘I will gain a great deal of pleasure, joy even, in your submission. The more you submit, the greater my joy – it’s a very simple equation’. And, when Anastasia then asks what she will receive in return for her submission, Christian’s response is ‘Me’.35 This reply is misleading, however; what he is really offering Anastasia is not himself, as a boyfriend or a romantic partner (i.e., in the capacity that Anastasia would like to have him),36 but rather a relationship with him that is strictly on his terms, as detailed by a contract whose clauses exempt him from any romantic undertakings. Clearly, then, Anastasia considers Christian’s offer not because she desires to be a Submissive, but because she has romantic feelings for him and wants to keep him interested in her.

Loss of innocence (chapters 8–10) When it transpires that Anastasia is a virgin, Christian’s immediate response is anger, and, even though her explanation for why she has not divulged this information sooner is perfectly understandable, she is made to feel ‘guilty’.37 After a while, Christian decides that the best way to remedy the situation is to take her virginity. Anastasia accedes to this on the condition that Christian will ‘make love’ to her.38 But this is not how the situation plays out;39 nevertheless, Christian’s flagrant abuse of Anastasia’s trust receives no comment from either her subconscious or her inner goddess. Further, Anastasia’s inner goddess does not appear when she experiences sexual gratification.40 It is not until the following day, after she succeeds in pleasing Christian, that this character reappears ‘doing the merengue with some salsa moves’.41 This strongly suggests that the interest of Anastasia’s inner goddess lies in the pleasure not of Anastasia or even of the couple, but exclusively of Christian. Here we see that the reader is being primed to accept (W) since, in the world of FSG, goddesses rejoice in his pleasure and not in hers.

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Negotiating the contract (chapters 11–25) This is by far the longest part of the book. It documents Anastasia’s struggle with Christian as they try to agree on the terms of their relationship. Their negotiations are punctuated by Anastasia’s graduation, her move to Seattle, her visit to her mother in Georgia, and her internship interviews. It is in this section that a possible counterexample to the view that Anastasia’s inner goddess is interested solely in Christian’s pleasure appears. When Anastasia tells her friend Kate that she has lost her virginity to Christian and that she enjoyed this experience, her inner goddess is described as sitting ‘in the lotus position looking serene, except for a sly, self-congratulatory smile on her face’.42 It could be supposed that Anastasia’s inner goddess is celebrating Anastasia’s pleasure here. However, it seems more likely that the cause of her celebration is the fact that Anastasia has succeeded in seducing Christian, whose performance as a lover – according to the comparison that the reader is invited to make – is superior to that of Kate’s first sexual conquest.43 Also, it is only when Anastasia omits important details about her relationship with Christian – such as ‘He’s got a Red Room of Pain, and he wants to make me his sex slave’44 – and frames her own pleasure in the context of the more ‘normal’ relationship that she wishes she had with him that her inner goddess can interpret her ‘first time’ as better than Kate’s. Once again, Christian’s pleasure is prioritised, as Anastasia overlooks the aspects of their relationship that she finds unpleasant but accepts because they please him. Later on, when considering whether or not to sign the contract, Anastasia’s inner dialogue reads as follows: You can’t seriously be considering this. . . . My subconscious sounds sane and rational, not her usual snarky self. My inner goddess is jumping up and down, clapping her hands like a five-year-old. Please, let’s do this . . . otherwise we’ll end up alone with lots of cats and your classic novels to keep you company.45 The final sentence of this passage assumes (W),46 and, as (W) can be extended to the actual world, it is a candidate for won’t imaginative resistance. Fifty Shades of Grey: a Western model for feminine sexual ‘empowerment’ and a multicultural concern When (W) is presented as an assumption that motivates Anastasia’s inner goddess in the world of FSG, it meets all four criteria for classifying it as a potentially harmful fictional view: 1) The view would ordinarily trigger won’t imaginative resistance, but this is disabled by the fiction, since it is presented as motivating Anastasia’s inner goddess, who is – ostensibly – a minor character in the fiction. 226

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2) The view is not central to the fiction, since it is a background assumption about women in general. 3) The state of affairs in the real world does not contradict the view in any obvious way. On the contrary, the normalised sexual objectification of women in Western culture appears to confirm the idea that ‘being a desired object’ under the male gaze is the surest path to happiness for women.47 4) If it becomes a belief, the view would dispose the believer to certain kinds of behaviour. Just as Anastasia is encouraged by her inner goddess – who assumes (W) – to prioritise his pleasure over her own, and to say ‘yes’ on many occasions when she ought to say ‘no’, the belief (W) would dispose the believer to act in a similar manner. One possible objection to my claim that readers of FSG are likely to import (W) into their belief systems is that the inner goddess character could not serve as a vehicle for the transmission of views into the actual world, precisely because she is a fictional character. Bence Nanay observes: If I read that one of the fictional characters, Bill, utters (G), this does not prevent my engagement with the text . . . I am likely to come to think that Bill is a terrible person (or that maybe he is joking). But I do not stop engaging with the fiction. I stop engaging with the fiction only if I take the author to be saying (G).48 Thus, it might be contended that, while readers may take the view expressed by Anastasia’s inner goddess (W) as evidence of her silliness, sexiness, or sexist ideology, they will not see it as having implications for the actual world, since this only happens when the author/narrator prompts the reader to make-believe something. However, the inner goddess character is no ordinary fictional character; she represents a modern-day Aphrodite and, as such, a divine authority on feminine sexiness. Hence, it is clear how the fictional justification that FSG supplies for (W) – namely, that it is the working assumption of Anastasia’s inner goddess – could translate into actual justification for (W) for women in the West, who are already inundated with the message that they must work to ‘unleash’ their powerful, sexy inner goddess, or else be invisible and unhappy.49 This raises the question of how FSG might affect women outside the West who read the novel. Might their everyday reality be different enough from the world of FSG to prevent them from importing (W)? As it is clearly important to pose this question, I shall gesture in the direction of an answer by briefly considering women readers of FSG in India, although – given my limited perspective as a white woman living in the West – whether I am on the right track or not is for others to say. 227

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India is one of the countries where the film adaptation of FSG has been banned.50 Nevertheless, the book has been translated into Hindi and, four years after its initial publication, the translation now occupies in 2017 a very respectable 37th place in the category of ‘Romance’ books in Amazon India’s sales charts.51 Additionally, a writer for The Times of India notes that this novel has become ‘synonymous with classy erotica’ in Indian society and adds that ‘[w]hen everyone covered their faces with the black paperback cover of “Fifty Shades of Grey” in the trains and buses, you were forced to get one for yourself’.52 So, it is reasonable to assume that FSG is read in India. As this book was written by a British author and is set in the United States, it is most likely to appeal to Indian women that are interested in Western culture. But, of course, having an interest in another culture does not necessarily predispose a person to be influenced by it, and, in the light of Shefali Chandra’s work, we should be especially wary of making such an inference here.53 According to Chandra, the sexualised white woman was invoked as ‘untouchable’ on the basis that she had sexual interactions outside of marriage, and this idea helped to construct ‘the implicit, unmarked, and universal category’ of the Hindu woman, who is, by contrast, chaste.54 On this basis, it may be asserted that Indian women are less likely to convert (W) into a belief because engaging in sexual activities outside of marriage is less socially acceptable for women in India, and therefore Anastasia’s path to happiness may seem unrealistic to them. However, the tendency to conflate the effects of the women’s liberation movement with those of the sexual revolution in the West means that Western ‘raunch’ culture is often considered to embody the postfeminist ideal,55 and this may lead Indian women to see a model for female sexual empowerment in FSG, just as many Western women do. And, regardless of cultural differences, I believe that any woman who engages with FSG and interprets it as a romantic work is susceptible to internalizing (W). For, as my chapter has shown, such an interpretation requires the reader to interpret Anastasia’s pain, humiliation, injury, etc., at the hands of Christian Grey as necessary for her ‘happily ever after’.

Notes * I am grateful to Lilian O’Brien and Vittorio Bufacchi for their insightful comments on earlier drafts of this chapter, to Stacie Friend for suggesting that I draw on the literature on imaginative resistance, to delegates of the Gender and Violence in Historical and Contemporary Perspectives conference for helpful feedback on my presentation, and, finally, to the editors of this collection, Iris Flessenkämper and Jyoti Atwal, for their help with final revisions. 1 Nicola Gavey, ‘Beyond “Empowerment”? Sexuality in a Sexist World’, Sex Roles, 2012, 66: 718–724, p. 719. 2 EL James, Fifty Shades of Grey, London: Arrow Books, 2012.

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3 According to the Statistica website, over 100 million copies of FSG had been sold worldwide by February 2014, www.statista.com/statistics/299137/fifty-shadesof-grey-number-of-copies-sold/ (accessed on 3 April 2017). 4 See Justin Mitchell, ‘Ropes, Whips and Female Empowerment: Anastasia Wins in “Fifty Shades”’, The Sun Herald, 19 February 2015, www.sunherald.com/enter tainment/ent-columns-blogs/throwing-shade/article36568695.html (accessed on 2 October 2015). 5 Shirin Eshghi argues that the gender of the author of FSG contributes to the perception of the book as a work that empowers women, despite the fact that it is a story about a male’s domination of a female, ‘Female Authorship and Implicit Power in Women’s Erotica: Japanese “Ladies’ Comics” and Fifty Shades of Grey’, unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, University of British Columbia, 2012. 6 Carey Purcell, ‘Fifty Shades of Feminism: A Response to E.L. James’ “Fifty Shades of Grey”’, Huffington Post, 1 February 2013, www.huffingtonpost.com/carey-purcell/ fifty-shades-of-grey-feminism_b_2395932.html (accessed on 3 September 2015). 7 Anne W. Eaton notes that ‘[n]owadays “antiporn feminism” conjures images of imperious and censorial finger-waggers who mean to police every corner of our erotic imaginations’, in ‘A Sensible Antiporn Feminism’, Ethics, 2007, 117(4): 674–715, p. 675. 8 I limit my claims about FSG’s potential for harm to women readers, not because I do not suspect that FSG could also harm men who read it, but because FSG is chiefly marketed at women; the potentially harmful view that, I argue, FSG projects onto the real world is a view about women, which means that the effects of this view on male readers are bound to be weaker. 9 Of course, not all feminists agree that pornography harms women, and drawing on the work of anti-pornography feminists is not the only way that a feminist could critique FSG. But this does present itself as the most obvious strategy for establishing a causal connection between the consumption of FSG and harm to women as a group. 10 Jennifer Mather Saul, Feminism: Issues & Arguments, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003, p. 75. 11 Catharine A. MacKinnon, Women’s Lives: Men’s Laws, London: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2005, p. 503. 12 This definition is susceptible to gross misinterpretation. See Saul, Feminism, pp. 92–93. 13 An extensive study demonstrates that the relationship depicted in FSG between Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey offers a rich example of Intimate Partner Violence. The authors of the study find emotional abuse to be present in almost every interaction between Anastasia and Christian, ‘including stalking, intimidation, isolation, and humiliation’, strategies that ‘collectively serve to control Anastasia’; and they also find sexual violence to be ‘pervasive’. See Amy E. Bonomi, Lauren E. Altenburger and Nicole L. Walton, ‘“Double Crap!” Abuse and Harmed Identity in Fifty Shades of Grey’, Journal of Women’s Health, 2013, 22(9): 1–12, p. 9. 14 FSG, pp. 504–506. 15 EL James insists that FSG is a ‘very passionate love story’, and not sado-masoch istic. See ‘Fifty Shades of Grey Author: I’m Not Such a Pervert’, interview with Anita Singh, The Telegraph, 7 September 2012, www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/ books/booknews/9525679/Fifty-Shades-of-Grey-author-Im-not-such-a-pervert. html (accessed on 2 March 2017). 16 I am indebted to AW Eaton’s feminist critique of the female nude for this objection. See ‘What’s Wrong with the (Female) Nude? A Feminist Perspective on Art

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17

18

19

20 21

22

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24 25 26

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and Pornography’, in Hans Maes and Jerrold Levinson (eds.), Art & Pornography: Philosophical Essays, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012. Of course, anti-pornography feminists continually wrestle with this objection, but it nevertheless remains notoriously difficult to defend the claim of causality that is made in relation to the consumption of pornography. For an illuminating discussion of this point, see Eaton, ‘A Sensible Antiporn Feminism’. Social-psychological research suggests that readers are as likely to believe what they read in particularly ‘transporting’ texts – that is, texts that focus attention, prompt mental imagery, and inspire feelings – regardless of whether it is labelled ‘fiction’ or ‘nonfiction’. See Melanie C. Green and Timothy C. Brock, ‘The Role of Transportation in the Persuasiveness of Public Narratives’, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 2000, 79(5): 701–721. Although empirical research cannot tell us why background fictional truths are often accepted as also being true of the actual world, Stacie Friend suggests that it is because ‘the “fiction” label weakens our tendency to scrutinise what we read’, and that ‘readers simply assume that authors of fiction would not gratuitously invent background information’; in ‘Fiction as a Genre’, Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, 2012, 112(2): 179–209, p. 199. FSG, p. 460. I follow Gendler in distinguishing between ‘make-belief’ and ‘belief’ by virtue of the fact that one can ‘make-believe that P is true while believing that P is true, or while believing that P is false, or while remaining agnostic about the truth status of P’. See Tamar Szabó Gendler, ‘The Puzzle of Imaginative Resistance’, The Journal of Philosophy, 2000, 97(2): 55–81, p. 60. Kendal Walton, ‘Morals in Fiction and Fictional Morality’, Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, 1994, Supp. 68: 37. In using ‘(G)’ as shorthand for Walton’s original example, I follow Bence Nanay, ‘Imaginative Resistance and Conversational Implicature’, The Philosophical Quarterly, 2010, 60(240): 586–600, p. 587. Not all of these are moral; as Nanay notes, ‘besides sentences expressing morally despicable propositions, . . . evaluative sentences, sentences describing five-fingered maple leaves as oval, and sentences describing unfunny jokes as funny’ can also pop-out of fictional texts. See ‘Imaginative Resistance and Conversational Implicature’, p. 600. Nanay, ‘Imaginative Resistance and Conversational Implicature’, p. 592. Tamar Szabó Gendler, ‘Imaginative Resistance Revisited’, in Shaun Nichols (ed.), The Architecture of the Imagination: New Essays on Pretence, Possibility, and Fiction, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006, pp. 149–172, p. 75. In ‘The Puzzle of Imaginative Resistance’, Gendler denies that can’t cases of imaginative resistance constitute genuine imaginative resistance, since the reader does not actively resist imagining them. However, in ‘Imaginative Resistance Revisited’, she accepts can’t cases as a species of imaginative resistance, although she differentiates them from ‘Humean’ cases, where readers refuse to entertain a belief that they feel requires them to compromise their moral integrity. This well-known example of imaginative resistance comes from Stephen Yablo’s piece, ‘Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda’, in Tamar Szasbó Gendler and John Hawthorne (eds.), Conceivability and Possibility, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002, pp. 441–492, p. 485. Gendler, ‘The Puzzle of Imaginative Resistance’, p. 77. Gendler, ‘The Puzzle of Imaginative Resistance’, p. 75. FSG, p. 3. FSG, p. 9. FSG, p. 8; my emphasis.

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33 34 35 36 37 38 39

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FSG, p. 78. FSG, p. 98. FSG, p. 101. Anastasia wants a ‘normal’ relationship with Christian, which, in her view, does not require ‘a 10-page agreement, a flogger, and carabiners in his playroom ceiling’, FSG, p. 199. FSG, p. 109. FSG, p. 110. Just before penetration, Christian announces ‘I am going to fuck you now. . . . Hard’, FSG, p. 117. In common parlance, ‘making love’ is understood to be quite different from ‘fucking’; the latter term implies that one member of the interaction is harmed, whereas the former does not. See Robert Baker, ‘“Pricks” and “Chicks”: A Plea for “Persons”’, in Janet A. Kourany, James P. Sterba, and Rosemarie Tong (eds.), Feminist Philosophies: Problems, Theories, and Applications, Englewood Cliffs: Prentice Hall, 1999, pp. 34–44. FSG, p. 118, 122. FSG, p. 137. FSG, p. 159. FSG, p. 158. FSG, p. 159. FSG, p. 176. Unless readers entertain (W), they would be unable to understand why Anastasia’s inner goddess would maintain that consenting to be Christian’s Submissive is the only way for Anastasia to avoid the fate of becoming a lonely ‘cat-lady’. While many abuse victims submit themselves to abuse because they believe fundamentally that their abuser loves them, Anastasia’s inner goddess evidently does not harbour such a belief (see FSG, p. 289), so she must operate on the assumption that (W) is true. Gail Dines, Pornland: How Porn Has Hijacked Our Sexuality, Boston: Beacon Press, 2010, p. 107. Nanay, ‘Imaginative Resistance and Conversational Implicature’, p. 596. For an excellent defence of this view, see Dines, Pornland, ch. 6. Other countries whose governments elected to ban the film include Malaysia, Indonesia, and Kenya; India did so for reasons related to ‘its sexual content’, according to The Times of India, 5 March 2015, http://timesofindia.indiatimes. com/entertainment/english/hollywood/news/Censor-Board-bans-Fifty-Shadesof-Grey-in-Indian-cinemas/articleshow/46465058.cms (accessed on 2 October 2015). Amazon India website: www.amazon.in/Fifty-Shades-Grey-E-James/dp/00995 79936/ (accessed 4 August 2017). Anon., The Times of India, 25 July 2014, http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/ entertainment/english/hollywood/Fifty-Shades-of-Grey-5-reasons-why-youMUST-watch-the-film/Fifty-Shades-of-Grey-5-reasons-why-you-MUST-watchthe-film/photostory/38987956.cms (accessed on 2 October 2015). Shefali Chandra, ‘Whiteness on the Margins of Native Patriarchy: Race, Caste, Sexuality, and the Agenda of Transnational Studies’, Feminist Studies, 2011, 27(1): 127–153, p. 141. Chandra, ‘Whiteness on the Margins of Native Patriarchy’, p. 137. For a detailed exposition of this idea, see Ariel Levy, Female Chauvinist Pigs: Women and the Rise of Raunch Culture, New York: Free Press, 2005.

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13 GENDER, VIOLENCE, AND RESISTANCE IN PARTITION NARRATIVES Bodh Prakash

The Partition of India in 1947 witnessed terrible and exceptional acts of violence in many regions, particularly Punjab and Bengal. Millions were rendered homeless and forced to migrate, thousands were killed, women were abducted and raped, and children were lost in the communal frenzy. Recent scholarship on Partition during the last two decades has moved from an early focus on the violence to the exploration of the relationship between patriarchy and the nation state, in the context of women-centric violence.1 This chapter shifts the focus away from gruesome acts of rapes and sexual violence, honour killings by family members, and ‘recovery’ of abducted women by state agencies to an exploration of the many forms that violence took within the domestic spaces, within personal relationships. While oral testimonies of survivors yield valuable insights into gender specific violence, this chapter will analyse women-centred literary texts to foreground the myriad and subtle forms of discrimination that women were exposed to, as well as some of the strategies of resistance. While communal violence, and its particular manifestation in the rapes of women, their abductions and ‘recovery’ have been documented and studied by feminist scholars, psychologists, and historians,2 it is only through a study of literary representations that we can look at the minutiae of women’s lives in the post-Partition period. Literary representations thus become an invaluable resource in widening the scope and deepening the understanding of patriarchal violence in postcolonial India. Most, if not all, women-centric literary texts tend to focus, not on the actual instances of the woman’s abduction, rape, and mutilation of her sexual organs, but on the life after her brutalisation. This is significant because a focus on the ‘event’ tends to sensationalise, and leads to what Alok Rai? has called ‘a pornography of violence’,3 whereas foregrounding the life after rape provides the space for a nuanced exploration and reflection on the

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diverse ways in which the violence is conceptualised and internalised by both victims and perpetrators. Rajeshwari Sunder Rajan has argued that unlike texts that make rape the central event, woman-centred texts concentrate on the aftermath of rape from the perspective of the victim. According to her, the rape is positioned at the beginning and serves a functional purpose and interest is centred on what follows it. ‘In both Alice Walker’s The Color Purple and Mary Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, the development of the female subject “self” begins after the rape and occupies the entire length of the narrative’.4 Hence the texts that shall be discussed all traverse the life of women victims ‘after’ the ‘violence’ is literally behind them. Both terms, as the examples will show, need to be problematised – ‘violence’ cannot be restricted to its physical manifestation, and the ‘after’ is an inaccurate marker because the violence of the aftermath is very often worse and unending. In these literary texts the actual violence is not foregrounded. The abduction and/or rape is implied or at best mentioned in passing. Clearly what these narratives focus on is the memory of that experience and how it comes to constitute a defining moment that is sought to be erased, denied, or challenged. This chapter will take up two Urdu short stories, Jamila Hashmi’s “Banished” and Rajinder Singh Bedi’s “Lajwanti”,5 and three novels, Jyotirmoyee Debi’s Bangla novel E Paar Ganga, O Paar Ganga, or The River Churning,6 Amrita Pritam’s Punjabi novel, Pinjar7and Yashpal’s Jhoota Sach (This is not that Dawn).8 All the stories foreground the life of the woman victim after her violation. In the first part, the two short stories will be analysed to tease out significant and similar tropes and this will be followed by a demonstration of the equally important differences implicit in the denouements of the stories and the novels.

Turning women into goddesses – the sublimation of the fallible body In Jamila Hashmi’s story, “Banishment”, the narrator, an unnamed, abducted Muslim woman has been conferred the title of ‘Laxmi’, (a term normally employed for a married Hindu woman) by her abductor’s family. This is a subtle attempt to erase her real status, which is that of an abducted woman, forcibly kept by her Sikh abductor with no legal, religious, or social sanction.9 Similarly, Sunder Lal in Bedi’s story too begins to call Lajo, (Lajwanti), ‘Devi’, a goddess who has to be placed on a pedestal and worshipped after she is rescued by the state agencies and returns home. What is equally interesting is that both stories employ the mythological character of Sita to imaginatively record their experiences. Hashmi’s unnamed narrator sees herself as having been condemned to perpetual vanvaas, living in exile with Ravana

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with no hope of a Rama ever rescuing her. And Lajwanti, according to the third person narrator, after fleeing the clutches of Ravana and being welcomed back in Ayodhya, is metaphorically condemned to a life with a Rama, who is convinced of her infidelity. The Goddess is pure, unsullied, and beyond any human scrutiny – in casting the woman in the image of a Goddess lies the patriarchal drive to erase and deny the reality of her experience and its implications for the male. But the Sita image also works as a counter-narrative to the male discourse – Sita, who is victimised first by Ravana and then by her husband Rama, is after all the classic example of a woman victim who had to suffer at the hands of a benevolent but patriarchal husband. The use of the Sita myth is critical in making sense of a gross, brutal, and socially disruptive act.10 If the Ramayana enables the normalisation of patriarchy at one level, alternative narratives and readings also provide the victimised ‘Sita’ with the weapons to counter the dominant discourse. At one level the power to erase an inconvenient past lies with the male, but at another level the power to resist its erasure is represented through the very act of recollection and its narration by the woman victim. When Gurpal, her Sikh abductor, suggests that she should bring herself ‘to forget that incident’, Hashmi’s narrator wonders how to make him understand the impossibility of such a task. ‘How can I make him understand that time never changes. Man suffers because man cannot forget. That time lives on in my memory just as it was’ (p. 99). It has been argued by some feminist scholars of Partition that the forcible ‘recovery’ of abducted women by the state violated the autonomy of the women who may have made a ‘choice’ in favour of staying on, given that they had given birth to children by the time the state agencies came looking for them. Urvashi Butalia has written about the patriarchal and communal state that forced women to return to their religiously determined nations. ‘These women were in a sense in a “no-man’s land”, and thus when they acted or attempted to resist being restored to their original families, they were exercising a different kind of agency’.11 As Hashmi’s story demonstrates, this is not such a simple issue. The victim in this story runs away and hides from the state-appointed officers when they come to rescue her. She cannot imagine a life without her daughter and her parents are already dead. But her acceptance of a future life with her abductor is also not a purely autonomous decision that leaves her satisfied. For Hashmi’s narrator, the memory of the past is a constant nightmare that she relives. It is the memory of her violation that, however painful, gives her a sense of identity. While it is the male in a patriarchal society who defines the woman’s identity as obedient daughter, chaste and loyal wife, nurturing and caring mother, in Hashmi’s case it is significantly the woman’s memory of having been violated and abducted that ironically resists this patriarchal act of labelling her. What is worth noting is that memory of the violence that 234

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signifies her victimisation simultaneously empowers her. Hence while violence victimises and oppresses, its memory carries within it the seed of resistance. Unlike Hashmi’s unnamed narrator, Bedi’s Lajwanti is the story of an abducted Hindu woman, who is ‘recovered’ by the police and sent back to her husband Sunder Lal. During her absence he has decided to dedicate himself to the cause of the rehabilitation of abducted women. Many families would refuse to accept the ‘recovered’ women, as they were considered ‘impure’ or sullied. Sunder Lal passionately espouses their cause and argues for their acceptance into their ‘homes and hearts’. Lajwanti is initially quite apprehensive about how she will be treated by him, but her fears are quickly put to rest by Sunder Lal, who practices what he preaches. Unlike his earlier bullying attitude towards his wife, which involved occasionally beating her up, he is now a transformed, solicitous, worshipping husband. Sunder Lal’s response to his abducted wife, however, does not suggest a transcendence of patriarchy. In spite of all his professions, deep down he still considers her an impure woman with whom he can no longer have an intimate relationship. Elevating her to the status of a ‘Devi’, he distances himself from her at an emotional level – from an abused wife she becomes an object of worship. The irony is that Lajwanti would rather be the abused wife, return to being ‘the old Lajo once again’ rather than this disembodied object, the ‘Devi’ on a pedestal who can only be worshipped but never touched. In Lajwanti’s story we are invited to imagine a subtler form of violence. It is not her abduction or rape that is the focus as in many accounts of Partition. Nor is she rejected by her family as was the case with hundreds of other women who shared her fate. Here it is the refusal of her husband to resume an intimate relationship that constitutes a form of patriarchal violence. Both his regarding her as a ‘Devi’ and his refusal to let her recount her traumatic experience preclude the possibility of any intimacy in their relationship. She is desperate to ‘tell him what she has been through’, to clear any misapprehensions, but he ‘deftly avoided listening to her’. As a victim she wishes to share her sorrow and pain with him and possibly put it behind her. She wants to convince him of her innocence, so that they can resume their earlier relationship of trust and sharing and put this tragic chapter behind them. But her benefactor, so respectful and solicitous towards her, ironically refuses to allow it. He does not allow her to narrate her experience, precisely because he does not want her to ever forget her ‘sullied’ status. Sunder Lal had convinced her that she was in fact a Lajwanti, a glass object too fragile to withstand the barest touch. Laju would look at herself in the mirror and after thinking long and hard would feel that she could be many things, but could never hope to be the old Laju ever again. Yes, she had been rehabilitated, but she had also been ruined. (p.29) 235

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The memory of her violation then lacerates her continuously in Sundar Lal’s refusal of a personal intimacy, masquerading as his respectful, solicitous concern and sensitivity towards his abducted wife. The public (and even private) persona of Sunder Lal conceals a deeply patriarchal self that subtly reinvents itself but continues to inflict violence on Lajwanti through means that are above suspicion and can hardly be questioned. She is rendered ‘silent’, not because her husband wants to gloss over her abduction or deny it ever happened. On the contrary, by ‘silencing’ her account, he is implicitly reinscribing and validating his own patriarchal narrative of a sullied wife. In refusing to engage with her traumatic experience, Sunder Lal is making his aversion to her ‘body’ obvious to her. It would be simplistic to regard this as the ‘silencing’ of the woman by the male custodian of family honour; publicly Sunder Lal has accepted his wife, even welcomed her back without demur. He is lauded as an ideal husband, worthy of emulation. The real silence, ironically enough, is the one between Sunder Lal and his wife – and how pregnant this silence is! Personal choice/agency or victimization Jyotirmoyee Debi’s novel, The River Churning, raises the issue of gendered violence from a completely different perspective. Unlike other women victims of Partition, Sutara’s experience of violence involves witnessing the rape and killing of her sister and the murder of her parents. She finds it difficult to articulate the sequence of events(and there is a faint suggestion that she too may have been raped, as she was found unconscious and her memory of events is blurred), but the rape of her sister is a strong memory that she carries with her in later life. Saved by her Muslim neighbors and friends of the family in a village on the banks of the Padma River where the family lived, she is escorted to her brother’s home in Calcutta but faces strong opposition from her sister-in-law. Treated like an outcast by her brother and his family, because she is believed to have been polluted on account of having stayed with her Muslim benefactors, Sutara is sent off to a hostel. On the completion of her studies she gets a teaching job and virtually breaks off all relations with her brother. Meanwhile the Muslim family who had saved her sends her a proposal of marriage to their younger son. Tamijuddin’s wife feels sympathetic to Sutara and realizing that her brother would not be able to arrange her marriage, she asks her daughter Sakina to find out if Sutara would be willing to marry Aziz. Sutara is shocked and turns it down saying, ‘My dear, how can I forget what happened to Ma and Didi . . .?’ (p. 98). In a real sense Sutara is the victim of the communal and patriarchal ideology of her brother and his family. They consider her sullied because of her contact with the Muslim family, completely disregarding their role in saving Sutara’s life. More than her brother, it is her sister-in-law who insists on ostracising her. She is not allowed to enter the kitchen, required to eat 236

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out of separate utensils, and never invited to participate in any family celebrations of births or marriages. But while Sutara uncomplainingly accepts the discriminatory treatment meted out to her, it is the rape of her sister by the ‘other’ community that haunts her. Educated and independent, under no social or domestic pressure regarding marriage, Sutara is free to make her own choices in life. Indeed Partition has paradoxically freed her from the constraints of a conservative, patriarchal society. And yet she refuses, because she cannot get over the memory of the violence she has suffered. Sutara, like other victims of Partition, is haunted by the memory of her past. It has permeated her in a way that has closed her options. From a secular, objective perspective one may not endorse the choice she makes. But individual identities are a complex maze of varied impulses, thoughts, and emotions. One kind of violence may violate the sense of self more than another. A victim may choose to attach greater importance to the violation of the body by the ‘other’ than the continuous discrimination (patriarchal and communal) by one of her ‘own’. In her introduction to the English translation of the novel, Jasodhara Bagchi writes that Sutara is hit by patriarchy twice, first by the male of one community who establishes his own “identity” by exercising his territoriality over her body [and] second by her own community, which invokes the compulsions of ritual purity to exclude her from the ritually pure domains of hearth and marriage and drinking water.12 But Sutara’s independent decision of rejecting the marriage proposal is not even mentioned in this context. By focusing the lens constantly on the victimisation, sometimes scholars lose sight of complex and difficult choices that emerge out of it. Sutara does have a choice. She can simply walk away from her brother and his family who have rejected her into the embrace of her benefactors. She has to choose what hurts her more – the memory of a ‘vicarious’ experience of physical violation (her sister’s) or the blatant and obvious violence done to her by her own family. Which one is more significant for her? Which violence governs her life choices, her sense of selfhood, and its limitations? Debi’s novel does not judge Sutara but does compel us to recognise how such choices cannot be interpreted simplistically. In contrast, one of the seminal moments in Amrita Pritam’s novel Pinjar, is the protagonist Pooro’s decision to refuse to return to her family when her brother comes looking for her a few years after her abduction by Rasheed. Is it because she has fallen in love with Rasheed, her abductor, and has children by him? This reading is partially enabled by the transformation of Rasheed from a vengeful young man avenging the dishonour of a woman of his family to a gentle, loving, and caring husband. 237

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But what is Pooro’s motivation? She was, after all, forcibly abducted and kept confined by Rasheed. Terrified and traumatised, she managed to escape, only to be betrayed by her father. What she cannot forget is the refusal of her father to take her back into the home when she runs away from her captivity and knocks on his door. That for her constitutes the more significant act of violence. Rasheed did what he had to do, but he also changed. But what she cannot forget and forgive is the betrayal of her own father. Admittedly her memory is selective. She chooses like Sutara to remember a particular experience, which she feels is a gross violation of her identity as a daughter. But then violence is also what a woman experiences as violence in her own imagination; it may not conform to standard notions of gendered violence – rape, abduction, or murder, the use of the woman’s body as the marker of community and nation. Her father indeed rejects her on account of her ‘impurity’, the social stigma attached to her once she has been abducted. In this he is no different from other patriarchal males who privilege the chastity of the woman by relating it to family and community honour. And Rasheed, her abductor, is also the instrument through which patriarchal society inscribes the woman’s body as the site of family and community honour or dishonour. In the violation of the woman’s body lies the violation of a family, community, and, as some argue, even the nation. But when one looks at the issue from Pooro’s perspective, a somewhat different picture emerges. Clearly she is a victim of both communal and patriarchal violence, her choices are extremely limited, and she is (to some extent like Rasheed also) a pawn in the cycle of revenge and counter-revenge between the two families. But her sense of the betrayal by her father rankles her more than her abduction. At one level, Rasheed abducts her to carry out the wishes of his uncles, and hence he is a victim of a patriarchal societal consensus about women himself.13 But it is her father’s refusal to accept her back that drives her in the opposite direction. Admittedly she derives solace and some measure of happiness in the relationship with Rasheed. But till the very last she cannot reconcile with the rejection by her father. Even when she meets her brother who has come to take back his abducted wife, she cautions him to never blame her or ill-treat her on account of what she has been through. She turns away from her brother to run back to Rasheed in a very dramatic scene, when she has almost succumbed to the emotional pressure of her brother and decided to return. Among the different instances of violence to which she is subjected, the woman’s choice of privileging one over the other, what she regards as more significant, is after all her choice. It is what gives her meaning and ultimately initiates some inchoate form of agency within. In Sabiha Samar’s film, Khamosh Paani (Silent Waters, released in 2004), the central character is a Sikh woman, who runs away from her forced suicide planned by her family, marries a Muslim, and settles down in Pakistan, while her family flees across the border. Years later, her brother comes looking for her and tries to persuade her to return and meet her father before 238

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he dies. She reacts angrily and reminds him that it was her father who had wanted her to commit suicide to preserve family and community honour. This rejection of a patriarchal mindset is clearly a resistant feminist gesture that drives both women. Unlike Sutara, both Pooro and the Sikh woman protagonist of Khamosh Paani make a choice – they reject their ‘own’ families in favour of the ‘other’. But can we conclude that their resistance is a feminist gesture while Sutara’s is not? As in the stories discussed earlier, it is a specific memory of the past that constitutes significant violence for the women – a memory that haunts them and drives them to take particular decisions and in the process sometimes realise themselves as resistant selves. Memory then becomes a contested site wherein the victim fights against the perpetrator of violence. Acts of remembering and forgetting can function as markers of both violence and resistance. Given the overwhelming power and dominance of patriarchy, the refusal to forget, as we have seen, can become a strategy of resistance on the part of the victimised woman. For the family/community/society, the refusal to forget (the sexual violence by a man from the other community) is a strategy of continuous victimization, an act of unending violence. Quite obviously who remembers what and how is ideologically determined to a large extent. But as the texts have shown, not all violence is visible and not all women victims can be neatly classified into categories that feminist critiques of patriarchy have constructed. The silence (or silencing, according to some) of women victims may not always be conceived as an act of male subjugation. It can also be a defence mechanism for some to cope with an extremely traumatic memory. There are innumerable instances of survivors (in literary narratives) whose nostalgic longing for their lost homes completely elides the memory of their actual displacement and its accompanying violence and mayhem.14 What we need to uncover are the diverse strands of thoughts, emotions, and conceptions through which both men and women experience violence and make sense of themselves after the traumatic experience. The women victims of Partition responded to their experiences and circumstances in diverse ways. While some succumbed, others resisted through subtle gestures. And there were yet others who resisted not so subtly and used the opportunity made available to them by Partition to empower themselves in the new alien spaces they found themselves in. Tara, one of the two protagonists (the other being Kanak) of Yashpal’s two volume novel, This is Not That Dawn (Jhoota Such) is an excellent example of this trajectory. Tara belongs to a middle class family for whom a daughter’s education somewhat improves her marriage prospects in the absence of a substantial dowry. However, she is exposed to progressive ideas through her contact with the Communist students’ organisation in college. But the Partition violence cuts short her dreams and she is forcibly married off to an illiterate 239

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and abusive Somraj who brutally rapes her on her wedding night. Humiliated and terrified, she runs away when a rampaging Muslim mob attacks but is abducted by Nabbu who first rapes her and then wants to sell her. After a very harrowing experience she is finally rescued by state agencies and then proceeds to rebuild her life. She starts off from a refugee camp and slowly works her way to a government job and a senior position in the Ministry of Rehabilitation. Although limited, her education proves to be a boon and her separation from home and family paradoxically enables her to start life anew. Her empowerment is marked by an unimaginable selfconfidence reflected in her rejection of Somraj who tracks her down and her decision to remarry her mentor and companion, Pran Nath. In her public life, too, she is driven to help fellow women victims, not through charity but by encouraging them to become self-sufficient and independent. Indeed, her own experiences fire her with an almost messianic zeal to educate and convince women victims of their own capacities and abilities to rise above their circumstances. Tara’s story does not conform to the typical stories of women victims that have emerged from the Partition experience. If women were amongst the worst sufferers of violence, some at least were able to grasp the opportunity (admittedly a coincidence) that displacement and separation from family provided and chart their own independent course. Any conceptualisation of women-directed violence must take into account their historical and cultural locations, their perceived sense of identity, social and religious sanctions pertaining to ‘disciplining’ women, and even how women themselves are sometimes complicit in patriarchal violence. Global feminist theories have often been found wanting in postcolonial contexts. As Jolanta Reingardiene has said, The conditions that enable the creation of particular forms of knowledge, support and intervention in different contexts are very diverse. Where basic subsistence is fragile, the national and regional conflict is extensive, or the ruling ideology is authoritarian or militaristic, the disclosure and discussion of the private, gender based concerns, deemed essential elsewhere, are unlikely to happen.15 She adds that in such circumstances, these issues largely remain personal or local histories and are very rarely documented in public. Theories of gender-based violence have been strongly influenced by the disciplines of psychology and sociology, or the ideological and political agendas of feminist activism. But as Michèlle Barrett has pointed out, ‘feminism is very hard to conceive without the experiential dimensions of women’s sense of oppression and without a vision of change’ (1988:v).16 Unlike feminist critique that probes patriarchal assumptions, practices and misconceptions about women, ‘gynocritique’, as Elaine Showalter has pointed out, highlights the authenticity of the woman’s experience and her right to make 240

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existential choices on the basis of that experience.17 It is for these experiential dimensions of oppression and resistance that we turn to women centred literary narratives.

Notes 1 Among others, see Urvashi Butalia, The Other Side of Silence: Voices from the Partition of India (New Delhi, Penguin Book, 1998), Ritu Menon and Kamla Bhasin, Borders and Boundaries: Women in India’s Partition (New Delhi, Kali for Women, 1998), Partha Chatterjee, The Nation and Its Fragments: Colonial and Postcolonial Histories (New Delhi, Oxford University Press, 1997) and Shail Mayaram, Resisting Regimes: Myth, Memory and the Shaping of a Muslim Identity (New Delhi, Oxford University Press, 1997). 2 Partha Chatterjee, The Nation and Its Fragments: Colonial and Postcolonial Histories (Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1997); Sudhir Kakar, The Colors of Violence: Cultural Identities, Religion and Conflict (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996, 2nd edition). 3 Alok Rai, “The Trauma of Independence: Some Aspects of Progressive Hindi Literature, 1945–47”, in Amit Kumar Gupta edited, Myth and Reality: The Struggle for Independence in India, 1945–47 (New Delhi, NMML and Manohar, 1987), pp. 309–327. 4 Rajeshwari Sunder Rajan, “Life after Rape: Narrative, Rape and Feminism”, in Real and Imagined Women: Gender Culture and Post-Colonialism (London and New York, Routledge, 1993), p. 73. 5 References to both stories, “Banished” by Jamila Hashmi and “Lajwanti” by Rajinder Singh Bedi, are from Muhammad Umar Memon, edited and translated, An Epic Unwritten: The Penguin Book of Short Stories from Urdu (New Delhi, Penguin Books, 1998). Page numbers follow quoted passage in the text. 6 Jyotirmoyee Debi, Epar Ganga Opar Ganga or the River Churning, translated by Enakshi Chatterjee (New Delhi, Kali for Women, 1995 [1968]) All references to this book are from this edition. Page numbers follow quoted passage in the text. 7 Amrita Pritam, Pinjar(New Delhi, Hind Pocket Books, 2003 [1950]). 8 Yashpal, This is not that Dawn, translated by Anand, (Penguin India, 2010). (Jhoota Sach: Watan and Desh, 1958 and Jhoota Sach: Desh ka Bhavishya, 1960). All references to this book are from this edition. Page numbers follow quoted passage in the text. 9 Indeed not naming the narrator itself is part of the narrative strategy that problematises the issue of her identity. 10 This reveals how some myths that may have emerged from a religious epic text can cross religious boundaries and become part of a common cultural storehouse within South Asia. 11 Urvashi Butalia, “Community, State and Gender: On Women’s Agency during Partition”, in Economic and Political Weekly, 28, No. 17, 24 April 1993, WS-19. 12 Introduction by Jasodhara Bagchi, The River Churning, op. cit. 13 His characterisation as a concerned and sympathetic individual who tries hard to make her happy within the limits of the given situation and later even plan a daring rescue of her abducted sister-in-law, shifts the focus from his initial transgression to the betrayal by Pooro’s father. 14 The stories of the Urdu writer Joginder Paul, especially his novella Khwabrau (Sleepwalkers) or the short story “Fakhtayen” (“Doves”) are good examples of how selective memories become enabling for refugees in the post-Partition period.

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15 Jolanta Reingardiene, “Historical and Theoretical Discourse Surrounding Gender Based Violence Research”, www.lsc.vu.lt/assets/leidiniai/index60c0.html?show_ content_id=392 (assessed on 20 September 2015 at 12.53 p.m.). 16 Quoted in ibid. 17 Elaine Showalter, “Towards a Feminist Poetics”, in Elaine Showalter edited, The New Feminist Criticism: Essays on Women, Literature and Theory (New York, Pantheon Books, 1985), p. 141.

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14 ON BEHALF OF US ALL? VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN AS A SUBJECT OF INDIAN FILM STUDIES Adelheid Herrmann-Pfandt

Let me emphasise from the outset that, although my chapter concentrates on violence against women in the Indian cultural context, I do not see this in any way as a specifically Indian problem. Patriarchy is a global issue. Coming from a European country that, in legalising prostitution, gives its consent to the daily rape and abuse of thousands of women and allows itself to become a hub of international human trafficking, I see absolutely no justification in playing countries off against each other when it comes to the patriarchal system that affects us all. It is much more useful to understand what actually happens in patriarchy and why it has gained so much power over our lives, be it in India, Germany, or elsewhere in the world. I do not know of a better characterisation of patriarchy than the one presented in India’s Daughter (2015), Leslee Udwin’s important documentary about the 2012 Delhi rape case. At the request of Indian politicians, the film was at first banned in India and then removed almost completely from the World Wide Web,1 since politicians claimed that the interview with one of the perpetrators was ‘an attack on the dignity of women’ and that the whole film had been made to damage India’s reputation in the world. The most embarrassing element of the film, however, is not the interview with the perpetrator as such, but the surprising similarity of its arguments to the statements made by the two defence lawyers. All three interviews are full of misogynistic stereotypes and culminate in the claim that it is actually the victim who is to blame for a rape. If something in this film is indeed shameful, it is the fact that representatives of Indian law openly support the perpetrator’s argument, thereby revealing that it expresses an attitude prevalent in society. This shows that Indian society and what one of the defence lawyers calls ʻIndian cultureʼ are represented no less by the Delhi rapists of 2012 than by the two lawyers. I am reasonably certain that it was this unanticipated 243

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similarity between the arguments used that was really behind the decision to prevent the screening of the film. It is no doubt easier to suppress the problem by banning a film than to recognise how the perpetrator of a crime is a product and a part of his society. Acknowledging that perpetrators such as the Delhi rapists of 2012 are not outsiders from another planet but people born the same as us all opens the way for us to look fearlessly at ourselves and to question the values and habits that a society believes in. The Hindi films2 that I have chosen for my chapter all more or less do just this3 and also show how difficult it may be to act in the name of humanity against any of society’s expectations, especially when the honour of the family is at stake. I first wish to introduce some feature films, each of which deals with one form of violence against women in India, i.e., female infanticide and abortion, prostitution and rape. I will then show how certain elements and forms of behaviour in non-violent films (for instance, the famous Bollywood love stories) are at the root of the debasement of women in Indian society and have helped to shape the behaviour of generations of young males in a doubtful if not to say dangerous direction. As a lover of Bollywood, I admit that I hated to write this down, but I have never been a friend of glossing over things that need to be articulated. The chapter would feel incomplete without looking at women who fight back. Therefore, I will show in my last three examples how three women (two film characters and one real woman) react to the male aggression directed against them or against other women. In doing so, I will attempt to answer the question of whether the actions that they take are in any way helpful to solve the problem of gender violence in Indian society. Before I start I would like to draw the reader’s attention to a fact that may be important for understanding much of the following text. The gap between the everyday reality and the film reality or, as Indians call it, ‘real life’ and ‘reel life’ is much smaller in Indian than in Western films. Solutions offered in a film are meant and taken as solutions suitable in reality, and if a film character does something that is not allowed in society, it may fall back not only on the character but also on the actor him or herself as well, especially when he or she is not the villain but the hero of a film. Film actors, especially the stars, are role models for millions of Indians, and what they do, be it in ‘real’ or in ‘reel life’, influences people more deeply than what any Western actor could expect in his dreams.

Matrubhoomi (2003): a nation without women The Indian preference for sons over daughters is well known. The ideal family consists of (grand)parents, sons, daughters-in-law, and grandsons. Daughters are not in the picture: we can already find a prayer in Vedic literature that says: ‘The birth of a girl, grant it elsewhere, here grant a son’.4 244

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Such prayers are repeated again and again. Even 3,500 years ago, nobody wanted to pray for the birth or the well being of a daughter. Raising a daughter is like watering the neighbour’s plants, as a well-known Indian proverb says. The Indian family par excellence is the family of King Dasharatha of Ayodhya in the Indian national epic Ramayana, which comprises four sons, Rama, Bharata, Lakshmana, and Shatrughna, each of whom has two sons, but no daughter. Feature film adaptations of the epic, such as the famous Bollywood film Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham (‘Sometimes happy, sometimes sad’, Karan Johar, 2001), reflect this in the structure of their heroes’ families. I always find it surprising that almost nobody, in films or in reality, seems to realise that, if everybody followed this ideal, then there would be no girls to marry. The whole ‘son-only’ business seems to make people forget that, if they wish to receive something, then they always have to give something in return. To gain from society a daughter-in-law involves the moral duty of producing at least one daughter in return. As the Indian Nobel Prize winner Amartya Sen first noticed in 1990,5 the proportion of girls in most parts of India has been falling dramatically for several decades. In Haryana, Kashmir, and Punjab, there are fewer than 900 females to 1000 males, while the situation is only slightly better in other states. According to the population census of 2011, Kerala (with 1,084 females to 1000 males) and Puducherry (with 1,037 females to 1000 males) are the only parts of India where females are in the majority.6 One of the consequences of female infanticide and feticide is that fewer and fewer male Indians have the opportunity to marry because there are not enough women. This by no means increases the value of women; rather, it only increases the violence perpetrated against them,7 from forced prostitution, rape, and murder to the kidnapping of married women, who are then compelled to live in a forced marriage, often far away in another part of the country where they do not even understand the language. The first film that I would like to introduce is Matrubhoomi (‘Motherland’, Manish Jha, 2003), which is set in a village in Bihar in around the year 2050. Not a single girl or woman is left in the village, since, immediately after birth, all females are drowned in milk in a public ceremony. By chance, the village priest finds Kalki (Tulip Joshi), a neighbouring village’s last surviving marriageable girl. She is sold by her father to the five sons of a rich family in the priest’s village for five lakh (500,000) rupees. Each son spends one night of the week with her, and the father, Ramcharan (Sudhir Pandey), claims one night per week, including the very first night, for himself. Only Sooraj, the youngest son, treats Kalki with love and respect, and she falls in love with him, too. When the other four discover this, they kill him. Kalki writes a letter to her father, who then visits her and is informed about how Ramcharan has also used his daughter. But, far from being moved by her fate, he simply forces Ramcharan to pay another lakh for his participation in this ‘marriage’. After he departs, Kalki is severely beaten for having 245

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informed her father. She tries to flee, but Raghu (Vinamra Pancharia), the family’s low-caste servant who tries to help her, is shot dead by one of the brothers and she is chained to a post in the cowshed. Members of the lowcaste community to which Raghu belonged find her there and, to revenge Raghu’s death, rape her every night. Only Sukha (Amin Gazi), the family’s new low-caste servant, helps her and offers her milk and food. When Kalki becomes pregnant at the end, both the high-caste family members and the low-caste community claim to have fathered the child. The rich family celebrate the imminent birth of a fine son predicted by the priest from a horoscope. When the low-caste community comes to Ramcharan’s house to claim the mother and her unborn child, a battle breaks out between the two communities. While the battle is claiming the life of each and every member of both sides, Kalki is in labour. Sukha, the last surviving person, returns to Kalki and sees the newborn baby. ‘A girl!’, he exclaims in a happy voice. Matrubhoomi is a very dark film, primarily because the audience feels that it is extremely close to reality. There are already in India today villages that are completely bereft of women, and it was an article about one such village in Gujarat that inspired the director to make the film. The birth of Kalki’s daughter at the end of the film is perceived in descriptions of the film as a sign of hope for the future. However, with only one very young and lowcaste male to help them, how will Kalki and her daughter survive in a hostile world inhabited exclusively by males?

Giddh (1984): the goddess of prostitution The next film is even more depressing, since it offers no glimmer of hope at all. The film focuses on the cult of Yellamma,8 a very powerful goddess in northern Karnataka. Her central temple is in Saundatti, 50 km north of Hubli. In her contribution to this volume, Renate Syed informs us of Yellamma’s importance to the hijras. However, Yellamma is also the goddess of prostitution and the protectress of pimps, paedosexuals, human traffickers, and other dark figures in the Mumbai red-light district. The film Giddh (‘Vultures’, T.S. Ranga, 1984) describes the exploitation of poor Dalit (casteless) families by rich landlords and their helpers, who force them to dedicate their daughters to the goddess Yellamma, in other words, to sell them into prostitution. As marriage is too expensive for most families in the film, they believe that sacrificing their daughters to Yellamma as devadasis (prostitutes) is the only possibility that they have, with the rich people in the village, as well as the Yellamma priest, instilling fear in the parents that Yellamma will punish them if they do not do so. Certain marks on a girl’s skin, which are actually the consequences of malnutrition and poverty, allegedly show that the girl has been ‘chosen’ by the goddess. The ritual of dedication takes place before puberty. After her first menstruation, the girl is delivered to 246

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one of the rich males in the area for the ‘ritual of the first night’. After that, the rich man can either keep her or give her to somebody else. Other girls are sent directly to the red-light district of Mumbai, accompanied and then passed on by Veerappan (Nana Patekar), a local who works in Mumbai as a pimp. This scenario corresponds exactly to the reality found in many villages in Karnataka. The film tells the story of the old prostitute Hanumi (Smita Patil), who, together with the old pimp Bhashya (Om Puri), tries to save Lakshmi, one of the ‘chosen girls’ who are to be dedicated to the goddess. Hanumi tries to explain to the people in the village that, in reality, all this means serving not the goddess but rather only the rich exploiters next door, and that they should not deliver their daughters to them. But the religious beliefs of the villagers are stronger. In the end, Hanumi and Bhashya manage to save at least Lakshmi from the Yellamma ritual and help her to board a bus to Mumbai, where she will be met by a relative and find safety. But to no avail. Veerappan, the local pimp and a man whom Lakshmi knows and trusts, coincidentally boards the bus at the next stop, and he will certainly not allow her to meet anybody of her choice in Mumbai. The film shows how an old and very powerful goddess cult is used by members of the new rich middle class in India to exploit poor low-caste women and young girls through prostitution. Priests, rich businessmen and the red-light mafia in Mumbai come together in an unholy alliance to the disadvantage of women. But how likely is it that the legal system of modern India, with all its corruption and its many criminal politicians, will change anything? Karnataka outlawed the ceremony of dedication to Yellamma in 1982, even before the release of Giddh,9 with Andhra Pradesh following in 1988.10 However, this had no effect apart from meaning that the ceremony is now held not in public, but in private houses.11 In 2011, the National Commission for Women gave the figure of 48,358 ‘holy’ prostitutes in India.12

Insaf Ka Tarazu (1980): rape I Our third subject was already present in the first two films, where rape was part of the violence perpetrated on women. We will now look at how a Hindi film depicts a rape case in court. Rape is the most violent form of demonstrating and implementing male corporeal superiority over women. As several scholars have argued,13 rape is less a sexual act than a political statement. I quote the Indian film scholar Shoma Chatterji here:14 The knowledge that women have, that the possibility of rape exists, and that they, according to the unwritten laws of society, are ultimately responsible for the acts of violence against them, acts as a powerful form of control. To make this control effective, it is not 247

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necessary for all men to rape all women; just a few men can effectively carry it out on behalf of the rest. ‘On behalf of the rest’ – this means that not only the rapist himself is involved in the crime, but also the whole of patriarchal society, which allows such an act to occur and which has nothing but excuses for the perpetrator while blaming the victim. Using this quotation in the context of the Delhi rape case of 2012 causes us to shiver: the rapists did it ‘on behalf’ of us all. It is therefore not so surprising that, in the interviews in India’s Daughter (2015), the perpetrator should have used exactly the same arguments as the lawyers. One of the first Indian feature films to deal with rape was BR Chopra’s Insaf Ka Tarazu (‘Scales of Justice’, 1980), a remake of the Hollywood film Lipstick (Lamont Johnson, USA, 1976). It is the story of two sisters who are raped by the same man, the rich businessman Ramesh Gupta (Raj Babbar). Bharti (Zeenat Aman), the elder sister, is his first victim. Because she works as a model, the defence lawyer employed by the perpetrator successfully argues in court that she provoked the deed herself by wearing certain clothes and behaving in a certain way, and that it was therefore not rape but consensual sex. Two years later, her younger sister Neeta (Padmini Kolhapure), still a minor, has a job interview with Ramesh Gupta, whom she does not know. Gupta rapes her as well. Denied justice for herself in court and expecting the same for Neeta, Bharti then shoots the perpetrator dead. The film culminates in the murder trial, when Bharti accuses the judge and Gupta’s defence lawyer of having acquitted him against their better judgement and of helping him to continue destroying women’s lives. The film ends with Bharti’s de facto acquittal and the judge’s resignation on account of his moral complicity in the crime. Despite having been ‘polluted’ by the rape, Bharti is even accepted by her fiancé’s parents. Featuring impassioned speeches in defence of the heroine and moving pleas for the right of women to say ‘No!’, the film appears at first sight to be on the side of women. However, looking at how the film presents the rapes reveals something completely different. Both rapes, and particularly the second, are shot in a way that is almost pornographic. Although little of the bodies of the two women is shown, the film nevertheless creates an atmosphere of titillation, filled with fear, sadism, and brutality, and that offers males in the audience a great deal of time to slowly and enjoyingly identify with the perpetrator. The rape scene involving the younger sister is especially brutal and sadistic, and its shooting must have been a deeply humiliating experience for the actress, who was only 15 when the film was made. As Chatterji points out,15 The camera now identifies with the rapist completely . . . and still it is from his point of view that we are made to watch the girl’s despair 248

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and shame. These scenes could have been shot and composed in a hundred different ways without diluting the shock but by taking away the titillation, the systematic and diabolic humiliation of the female anatomy. Why wasn’t it done in one of those ways? Obviously, both scenes were made to serve but one purpose: to sexually arouse males in the audience and thereby to ensure full cinema halls. This is underlined by the fact that the director chose Zeenat Aman, the most beautiful actress of the time, for the part of Bharti, and the 15-year-old Padmini Kolhapure for the part of her sister Neeta. In any case, despite pretending to do so, the film and especially these scenes certainly do not serve the purpose of criticising and condemning rape and other forms of violence against women. Among the many films that use the subject of rape to sexually arouse males in the audience and to draw them into identifying with the rapists are even well-known and acclaimed socially critical films such as Bandit Queen (Shekhar Kapoor, 1994),16 a film that comprises rape after rape and that shows sexualised violence in such an extremely naturalistic way that we cannot exclude that traumatised rape victims in the audience might be triggered into flashbacks by these scenes. However, not all Hindi films use the subject of rape to cater for male voyeurists in the audience. Matrubhoomi, for instance, a film whose story includes more rapes than all the other films mentioned in this chapter put together, never crosses the line of decency. We repeatedly see a male enter her room and touch his girdle – and that is all. The woman, Kalki, is almost always shown lying on a bed or on the floor, as though she is not occupied with anything else during the day. We never see parts of her naked body, however, and her humiliation is never used to sexually arouse the audience or to allow it to enjoy the violence. The consequence is that the victim’s dignity remains until the end of the film, and that the viewer considers the remarks made by some male family members about her ‘impurity’ as being baseless. This respectful way of maintaining the humanness of the victim from the first shot to the last is one of the most positive facets to this dark but necessary film, and shows in an exemplary way how future films could deal with the subject of rape in a way that is sensitive to the dignity of women.

. . . and the ‘common’ Bollywood love story? As a frequent traveller to India, I never grow accustomed to the ‘ordinary’ madness in the country’s public spaces, to all the open and uncensored harassment of girls by groups of leering, immature males who try to corner a girl even in the presence of her guardians and who, as can be read daily in the papers, sometimes act in an openly violent way if they are rejected (see 249

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below). However, I was surprised to find that such behaviour is regularly depicted even in many of the most candyfloss love stories told in Bollywood films. There are few male Indian actors in or outside the star pantheon of the film industry who have not featured in several films where they were directed into stalking a girl, making her the object of ridicule of a whole group of people, not accepting her ‘No!’ for what it is, trying to force her into a love for which she does not give her consent, and so on. And there is no actress who has not played several females who fall in the end for precisely such a selfish, boring male. The epoch when wooing a girl required as a sine qua non a certain courteous restraint and politeness on the side of the male ended at some point in the 1960s and 1970s. Somehow, there is almost always a scene depicting violent male behaviour at the beginning of a Bollywood love story, whether the hero is played by an unknown actor or by a celebrity such as Aamir Khan,17 Salman Khan,18 Akshay Kumar,19 or even Shah Rukh Khan,20 who, because of his charismatic and sensitive depictions of love, is called the ‘King of Romance’. Nevertheless, even he, and especially in his early years, begins some of his film courtships with a stalker performance, even in his trademark romance Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (Aditya Chopra, 1995). In Darr (Yash Chopra, 1993), he plays a dangerous stalker who tries to kill the hero of the film. He nevertheless manages in this role to win over the public by his hopeless but intense emotionality. I am sure that the makers of this film did not mean to create such an effect, but Darr probably initiated the trend of the stalker turning from the villain to the hero of a story, the result of which is a number of almost unbearable films in recent years.21 The current epitome of this unhealthy stalker mentality is Anand L Rai’s film Raanjhanaa (‘Beloved One’), which was one of the box office hits of 2013. It shows Kundan (Dhanush), semi-literate son of a Hindu priest in Benares, wooing Zoya, a well-educated Muslim girl (Sonam Kapoor), who is not interested in him as a partner but only as a friend. He never accepts her ‘No!’ and tries everything to win her, from blackmailing her by threatening to kill himself to exposing her bridegroom to the communal violence that kills him in the end. At the same time, he does not bother to find out about even the simplest things to do with Zoya and her life, about her likes and dislikes. All he has in mind are his dreams; her dreams do not matter to him. The objective reason for the hero’s failure is that he never finds a way out of his infatuation with a girl who does not want him. However, when he breaks down and when he dies at the end, the film has already manipulated most viewers so that they cry for him, amongst them distinguished film critics such as Anupama Chopra.22 Some writers even blame the film’s sad end on the heroine, thus removing the responsibility for himself from the stalker and indirectly making his victim responsible for his failure.23 In real life, a stalker who has been unable to convince a girl to love him resorts not infrequently to violence and attacks the girl with acid, for 250

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instance, thereby rendering love as unavailable for her as he believes it to be for him.24 This is what happened to 309 Indian girls in 2014 alone.25 When filmmakers manipulate the audience into believing that stalking is the ultimate form of selfless love, then the danger arises that people not only believe this but also act accordingly, destroying in an act of ‘pure selflessness’ the life of the ‘beloved’ girl. Indian writers and people involved in film-making have begun to criticise this trend in the film industry. Many critical articles on stalking in Bollywood films have been published on the internet since 2012, and especially so after the release of Raanjhanaa in 2013.26 The director and actor Farhan Akhtar writes:27 There are films in which romantic wooing has been replaced by a kind of harassment of the heroine. The heroes of these films could be considered stalkers in some civil societies. Now imagine that this actor is a role model to millions . . . wouldn’t his fans think this behaviour is okay? Now imagine that this actress is a role model to millions .  .  . what message does it send to women across the country? The journalist and university lecturer Shakti Swaminathan has conducted a highly informative piece of research into the correlation between Indian films and the ideas that young people have about love and relationships. She asked 250 male and 250 female young people in South India about how films influence their lives and their expectations about their future love lives.28 She found that many males and females believe not only that malefemale relationships are as a rule as romantic in reality as they are in films but also that, if only the stalker tries hard enough, and is even violent, then he will always win the girl in the end. Since erotic love is a taboo subject in many Indian families and is never discussed with young people, many youngsters have no choice but to believe what the films tell them. An Indian man recently stalked two girls in Australia and escaped punishment in court by blaming his behaviour on the influence of Bollywood films. His lawyer claimed that stalking was ‘quite normal behaviour’ for Indian men.29 We cannot but come to the conclusion that violence against women in Indian cinema is not limited to films that belong to the action or rape genre. Rather, it begins in a subtle way in many of the sweet and seemingly harmless love stories for which Bollywood is famous.

The powerful woman When I first became involved in Hindi film studies roughly a decade ago, one of the first facts that I read about Indian cinema was that the country’s film censors tend to allow more female flesh in rape scenes than in love 251

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scenes. Although I had conducted research on Buddhist and Hindu tantra for more than 30 years, it took me quite some time to understand what this could actually mean. Today my idea is that presumably, Indian film censors feel, more or less consciously, that an erotic scene depicting pure, respectful, and caring lovemaking may pose a greater risk to young Indian people than scenes of sexualised violence used by one gender to humiliate and torture the other. In other words, the erotic temptation embodied by a woman is seen by representatives of patriarchy as being a greater threat to a young male soul than the humiliation imposed on a woman who is violently cut to size by patriarchy. But why? All in all, the film censors represent a deeply patriarchal society. While Indian tantra teaches us that the erotic woman embodies a female power that may overwhelm the male30 and is therefore ultimately a threat to patriarchy, a rape victim is the embodiment of female powerlessness and thus of patriarchy’s highest possible triumph.

Damini (1993): rape II I would now like to look at women who resist the violence that is acted out against them. One of the most impressive older films is Damini (‘Lightning’, Rajkumar Santoshi, 1993). The rich industrialist Shekhar Gupta (Rishi Kapoor) falls in love with a poor girl named Damini (Meenakshi Sheshadri). They marry. During a Holi festival in her in-laws’ house, Damini witnesses the rape of the young housekeeper Urmi by her husband’s younger brother Rakesh and his three friends. The seriously injured Urmi is later found thrown on the street and is taken by the police to a hospital. In order to protect their honour, Shekhar’s family decide to deny any knowledge of the incident. They try to force Damini not to tell the police of what she knows, and she is also forbidden to visiting Urmi in hospital. When Damini refuses their orders by giving her testimony to the police and visiting the traumatised Urmi in hospital, the family, in the absence of her husband, ejects her from the house. She goes to her married sister and her parents for help, both of whom persuade her to return to her husband. To prevent her from testifying in court, her in-laws’ family has her committed to a mental hospital, where she is tortured with electroshocks. She manages to escape, though. Followed by the four perpetrators of the rape, she runs into Govind (Sunny Deol), a former lawyer who has left his profession because he did not gain justice with regard to a suspect who had killed his wife. After some hesitation, Govind decides to help Damini in court. Despite the efforts of Shekhar’s family, who kill Urmi in hospital and also try to kill Damini and Govind, they manage to reinstate the honour of the raped girl and have her rapists as well as murderers punished. Damini is remarkable,31 since it criticises not only the rape but also the attempt made by the family to abandon the victim in order to protect the family’s honour. Again, the rape is not shown in a way that lacks respect but 252

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is only indicated by shadows and colours. The author-backed role32 of the heroine shows that it is possible for a woman to fight the lies surrounding a rape case and to not allow the perpetrators to escape justice. The film also combats the idea that a victim is unimportant because she is just a servant (i.e., a low-caste person). On her journey to find justice for Urmi and for herself, Damini identifies with the goddess Durga and gains strength by praying to her and by dancing her dance. There is in my eyes one unsatisfying element in the film, however, and that is that the heroine needs male support to win the case. Not only is she protected by Govind from the four perpetrators who want to prevent her from escaping from the hospital. Also, later in court, she is not the one who brings the case to an end with her testimony, but her husband, who at last has the courage to defend his wife. Although she has fought alone for most of the film, Damini is depicted not as a strong woman but as a subservient wife. As a woman who, after the case has been won, has nothing more urgent to do than touch the feet of a husband who has abandoned her for more than 90% of the film.

NH 10 (2015): a female revenge story A wife of a quite different kind is the heroine of the thriller NH 10 (‘National Highway 10’, Navdeep Singh, 2015). It tells the story of Meera (Anushka Sharma) and Arjun (Neel Bhoopalam), a young middle class couple. On a weekend trip, during a break near NH 10, the couple meets a young woman named Pinky, who begs for help. They then witness an attack on Pinky and a young man by a group of males. When Arjun intervenes, he is told that Pinky is the sister of one of the men (which obviously means that he has the right to beat her up). Against Meera’s advice, Arjun drives after the gang and follows them on foot into the hills, where they witness the murder of the young couple, which is obviously a so-called honour killing of ‘illegitimate’ lovers. Arjun and Meera try to escape but are found and chased by the gang. Arjun is seriously injured and Meera has to leave him under a bridge. Going in search of help, Meera meets a first and then later a second police officer, both of whom turn out to be on the side of the gang. She escapes both of them. A poor labourer and his wife then hide her in their hut and send her to the chief of a neighbouring village, an old matriarch (Deepti Naval), for help. While telling her story to the old woman, Meera suddenly realises that she is sitting in front of Pinky’s mother, and that the mother had herself ordered her son to kill his sister. Again, Meera manages to escape. When she finds her husband murdered by the gang, she returns to the village, steals the gang’s car, and kills all the surviving gang members one by one. Pinky’s mother then arrives and tells her that her daughter had to be punished for breaking the rules. Leaving the old woman with the corpses of all her family, Meera walks out of the village as the night ends. 253

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Despite being a very exciting and technically well-made film, it leaves us with a feeling of dissatisfaction. After the dozens of revenge stories played by the country’s ‘angry young man’, Amitabh Bachchan, beginning with Zanjeer (Prakash Mehra, 1973) and Sholay (Ramesh Sippy, 1975), a genre continued by many male heroes in the 1970s, 1980s, and early 1990s – after all this bloodshed, do we really want the same number of ‘angry young woman’ films to follow? Honour killing is a significant problem in Indian society, and especially in its villages, but will killing all those involved in a crime of that sort really change anything?

India’s daughter (2015) I would like at this point to draw the reader’s attention to Jyoti Singh, the victim of the horrible Delhi gang rape of December 2012. In Leslee Udwin’s film India’s Daughter (2015), Satendra, a male friend and tutor of Jyoti’s, tells of an incident when Jyoti had her purse stolen at a market by a young boy aged between 10 and 12. A policeman caught him and began slapping him. Jyoti intervened, saying: ‘Like that, this child will learn nothing’. She then asked the boy why he had stolen the purse, and he answered: ‘I want the same things as you people: new clothes, shoes, a hamburger’. Jyoti went with him to the shops and bought him all the things that he had wished for, and she accepted his promise never to steal again. Instead of giving him presents, 99 of 100 people in this situation would, like the policeman, have slapped the boy, and the same would have happened in 99 of 100 Bollywood films. From a pedagogical point of view, many people would doubt Jyoti’s decision to give in to a young thief. However, the young woman obviously had an open heart for children less lucky in life than herself, and she appears to have known that violence, especially against children, creates rather than solves problems. Is it not precisely the violence perpetrated against children and the inability of their elders to talk quietly and explain things to them that create violent grown-ups? I really wish that the film industry would consider this and search in their stories for other answers to violence than revenge campaigns and new violence. A change of outlook in an institution as influential as Bollywood would certainly not save India from rape and other forms of violence. But it would at least be a step in the right direction.

Conclusion Indian Cinema is a mirror of society. This holds true especially for films showing excessive violence against women, like some of the films I have introduced in this chapter. Some people in India criticise that violent behaviour like, for instance, stalking is promoted and supported by films, as the actors are role models for millions of people. But is violence really the only 254

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option? In the country of Mahatma Gandhi, also non-violence is deeply rooted in culture and society. The huge influence Bollywood exerts on its audience could certainly enable the film industry to take its part in changing things for the better.

Notes 1 At https://archive.org/details/BBCDocumentaryIndiasDaughterOnNirbhayaDelhi GangRapJyotiSingh# (accessed on 15 August 2017), it is, albeit in a bad quality, still available. 2 In this chapter, I limit myself to Hindi films because this is my main area of research. However, I have been told that the main problems discussed here, especially the issue referred to in paragraph 4, are very much the same in the film cultures of all languages in India. I believe that the research paper by Shakti Swaminathan I quote below, which is based on interviews with South Indians, would probably have had a similar result in the North. 3 Except most of the films named in paragraph 4 of this article. 4 Atharvaveda VI 11, 3, translation quoted after Sudhir Kakar, The Inner World: A Psychoanalytic Study of Childhood and Society in India 1978, 3rd ed., fourth impression, New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2011, p. 57 (there wrongly quoted as Atharvaveda VI 2, 3). 5 Amartya Sen, ‘More Than 100 Million Women Are Missing’, The New York Review of Books, 20 December 1990, www.nybooks.com/articles/1990/12/ 20/more-than-100-million-women-are-missing/?printpage=true (accessed on 16 August 2017). 6 ‘Sex Ratio in Haryana Worst among All States’, dna, 30 April 2013, www.dna india.com/india/report-sex-ratio-in-haryana-worst-among-all-states-1829031 (accessed on 11 September 2015); ‘Indian States and Territories Ranking by Sex Ratio’, Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia, version of 26 June 2017, https:// en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indian_states_and_territories_ranking_by_sex_ratio (accessed on 16 August 2017); International Development Research Centre, ‘The Daughter Deficit: Exploring Declining Sex Ratios in India’, n.d., www.idrc.ca/ sites/default/files/sp/Documents%20EN/the-daughter-deficit-india.pdf (accessed on 16 August 2017). Searching on the internet with the terms ʻsex ratio Indiaʼ or ‘missing women’ yields lots of results. 7 Valerie M. Hudson and Andrea M. den Boer, Bare Branches: The Security Implications of Asia’s Surplus Male Population, Cambridge, MA and London: The MIT Press, 2004. 8 A. N. Gayathri, ‘Devadasi: An Institutionalized Exploitation of Women’, Journal of Social Welfare and Management, 1 July 2014, 6(3), www.questia.com/library/ journal/1P3-3549942591/devadasi-an-institutionalized-exploitation-of-women (accessed 16 August 2017). Cf. also Lucinda Ramberg, Given to the Goddess: South Indian Devadasis and the Sexuality of Religion, Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2014. 9 R. Kalaivani, ‘Devadasi System in India and Its Legal Initiatives: An Analysis’, IOSR Journal of Humanities and Social Science, February 2015), 20(2), p. 53. www.iosrjournals.org/iosr-jhss/papers/Vol20-issue2/Version-2/J020225055.pdf (accessed on 17 August 2017). 10 ‘The Andhra Pradesh Devadasis (Prohibition of Dedicated) Act, 1988’, Latest Laws.com: Bare Acts and Rules, 31 March 1988, http://latestlaws.in/wpcontent/uploads/2015/06/Andhra-Pradesh-Devadasis-Prohibition-of-DedicatedAct1988.pdf (accessed on 17 August 2017).

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11 Rumani Saikia Phukan, ‘Despite Prohibition, Devadasi System Still Continues in India’, Maps of India: My India, 3 November 2014, www.mapsofindia.com/ my-india/society/despite-prohibition-devadasi-system-still-continues-in-india (accessed on 17 August 2017). 12 Nash Colundalur, ‘Devadasis Are a Cursed Community’, The Guardian, 21 January 2011, www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2011/jan/21/devadasi-indiasex-work-religion (accessed on 12 September 2015). 13 Among them most relevant for Film Studies: Shoma A. Chatterji, Subject: Cinema, Object: Woman: A Study of the Portrayal of Women in Indian Cinema, Calcutta: Parumita Publications, 1998, pp. 134ff., following, amongst others, Susan Brownmiller, Against Our Will: Men, Women and Rape, Riverside, NJ: Simon and Schuster, 1975, and an article of 1971 by Susan Griffin that she does not name and I was not able to locate. 14 Chatterji, Subject: Cinema, p. 134. Italics mine. 15 Chatterji, Subject: Cinema, pp. 144f. 16 This has been beautifully and convincingly shown by Chatterji, Subject: Cinema, pp. 148–151. 17 E.g., Deewana Mujh Sa Nahin (‘Nobody is as mad as me’, Nageshwara Rao Y. and M. Parvez, 1990), Dil (‘Heart’, Indra Kumar, 1990). 18 Among others, Tere Naam (‘In Your Name’, Satish Kaushik, 2003), Dabangg (‘Fearless’, Abhinav Kashyap, 2010). 19 For Akshay Kumar, see the internet discussion on the disgusting stalking scene in his recent film with an equally disgusting title: Toilet: Ek Prem Katha (‘Toilet: A Love Story’, Shree Narayan Singh, 2017). 20 For instance, Deewana (‘Mad’, Raj Kanwar, 1992), Anjaam (‘Consequences’, Rahul Rawail, 1994). Recently, in Fan (‘Fan’, Maneesh Sharma, 2016), he was shown stalking a male. 21 See the critical internet statements in some of the next endnotes. 22 Anupama Chopra, ‘Anupama Chopra’s Review: Raanjhanaa’, Hindustan Times, 24 June 2013, www.hindustantimes.com/movie-reviews/anupama-chopra-sreview-raanjhanaa/story-YtgjIVJN4ofceEzlI0giYP.html (accessed on 17 August 2017). 23 Sumati Panikkar, ‘Of Love, Stalking, and Raanjhanaas in Bollywood’, Bargad: Enlightened Prattles, 12 July 2013, https://bargad.org/2013/07/12/raanjhanaa/ (accessed on 17 August 2017), states a ‘subtle demonizing of the female lead’ in Raanjhanaa, which she convincingly traces back to ‘the writer and director’s subtle chauvinism’. 24 Panikkar, ‘Of Love’. 25 Shakti Swaminathan, ‘Cinema Gives Unreal, Dangerous Ideas about Love: Study from the South Reveals’, The News Minute, 7 June 2017, www.thenewsminute. com/article/cinema-gives-unreal-dangerous-ideas-about-love-study-south-re veals-63278 (accessed on 17 August 2017). 26 You can find them easily with the words ‘stalking’ and ‘Bollywood’. 27 Farhan Akhtar, quoted in: S. A. Aiyar, ‘Films Sanctify Pestering and Stalking of Women’, Times of India Blogs, 30 December 2012, http://blogs.timesofindia. indiatimes.com/Swaminomics/films-sanctify-pestering-and-stalking-of-women/ (accessed on 17 August 2017). 28 Shakti Swaminathan, ‘Celluloid to Soulmates: A Study on the Impact of Films on the Perception of Romantic Love among the Youth’, Research paper at the Conference Media Meet 2016: Breaking the 4th Wall, International Conference on Cinema, 4–5 August 2016, see ‘Selected Papers’ (original text not yet available), http://medialab4.wixsite.com/mediameet15/selected-papers (accessed on

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29

30

31 32

17 August 2017). Condensed version in: Swaminathan, ‘Cinema Gives Unreal, Dangerous Ideas’. IANS, ‘Man in Australia Avoids Jail by Blaming Bollywood for Stalking Habit’, The Express Tribune, 3 February 2015, https://tribune.com.pk/story/832063/ man-in-australia-avoids-jail-by-blaming-bollywood-for-stalking-habit/ (accessed on 20 August 2017). Some publications showing female power in tantric Hinduism are: David R. Kinsley, The Sword and the Flute: Kali & Krishna: Dark Visions of the Terrible and the Sublime in Hindu Mythology, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1975, 2nd ed. 2000; Ajit Mookerjee and Madhu Khanna, The Tantric Way: Art, Science, Ritual, London and New York: Thames and Hudson, 1977; Ajit Mookerjee, Kundalini: The Arousal of the Inner Energy, Rochester, London and New York: Thames and Hudson, 1982; David Kinsley, Hindu Goddesses: Visions of the Divine Feminine in the Hindu Religious Tradition, Berkeley and London: University of California Press, 1985; Sarah Caldwell, Oh Terrifying Mother: Sexuality, Violence and Worship of the Goddess Kali, New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1999. For a very good summary of the achievements and problems of this film, cf. Chatterjee, Subject: Cinema, pp. 156f. Author-backed role: term used by Indian film critics for a role with which most people in the audience identify and which has the moral support of the director. Cf. Maithili Rao, ‘The Actor Who Drew Deep from Within for Her Roles’, The Wire, 14 October 2015, https://thewire.in/13184/the-actor-who-drew-deepfrom-within-for-her-roles/ (accessed on 9 November 2017).

References ‘The Andhra Pradesh Devadasis (Prohibition of Dedicated) Act, 1988’, Latest Laws.com: Bare Acts and Rules, 31 March 1988, http://latestlaws.in/wp-content/ uploads/2015/06/Andhra-Pradesh-Devadasis-Prohibition-of-Dedicated-Act1988. pdf (accessed on 17 August 2017). ‘Anupama Chopra’s review: Raanjhanaa’, Hindustan Times, 24 June 2013, www. hindustantimes.com/movie-reviews/anupama-chopra-s-review-raanjhanaa/storyYtgjIVJN4ofceEzlI0giYP.html (accessed on 17 August 2017). Brownmiller, Susan, Against Our Will: Men, Women and Rape, Riverside, NJ: Simon & Schuster, 1975. Caldwell, Sarah, Oh Terryfying Mother: Sexuality, Violence and Worship of the Goddess Kali, New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1999. Chatterji, Shoma A., Subject: Cinema, Object: Woman: A Study of the Portrayal of Women in Indian Cinema, Calcutta: Parumita Publications, 1998. Colundalur, Nash, ‘“Devadasis Are a Cursed Community”’, The Guardian, 21 January 2011, www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2011/jan/21/devadasi-india-sex-workreligion (accessed on 12 September 2015). Gayathri, A.N., ‘Devadasi: An Institutionalized Exploitation of Women’, Journal of Social Welfare and Management, 1 July 2014, 6(3), www.questia.com/library/ journal/1P3-3549942591/devadasi-an-institutionalized-exploitation-of-women (accessed on 16 August 2017). Hudson, Valerie M., and Andrea M. den Boer, Bare Branches: The Security Implications of Asia’s Surplus Male Population, Cambridge, MA and London: The MIT Press, 2004.

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IANS, ‘Man in Australia Avoids Jail by Blaming Bollywood for Stalking Habit’, The Express Tribune, 3 February 2015, https://tribune.com.pk/story/832063/man-inaustralia-avoids-jail-by-blaming-bollywood-for-stalking-habit/ (accessed on 20 August 2017). ‘Indian States and Territories Ranking by Sex Ratio’, Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia, version of 26 June 2017, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indian_states_and_ter ritories_ranking_by_sex_ratio, (accessed on 16 August 2017). International Development Research Centre, ‘The Daughter Deficit: Exploring Declining Sex Ratios in India’, n.d., www.idrc.ca/sites/default/files/sp/Docu ments%20EN/the-daughter-deficit-india.pdf (accessed on 16 August 2017). Kakar, Sudhir, The Inner World: A Psychoanalytic Study of Childhood and Society in India, (1978), 3rd ed., fourth impression, New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2011. Kalaivani, R., ‘Devadasi System in India and Its Legal Initiatives: An Analysis’, IOSR Journal of Humanities and Social Science, February 2015, 20(2), pp. 50–55, www.iosrjournals.org/iosr-jhss/papers/Vol20-issue2/Version-2/J020225055.pdf (accessed on 17 August 2017). Kinsley, David R., Hindu Goddesses: Visions of the Divine Feminine in the Hindu Religious Tradition, Berkeley-London: University of California Press, 1985. Kinsley, David R., The Sword and the Flute: Kali & Krishna: Dark Visions of the Terrible and the Sublime in Hindu Mythology, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1975, 2nd ed. 2000. Mookerjee, Ajit, Kundalini: The Arousal of the Inner Energy, Rochester, London and New York: Thames & Hudson, 1982. Mookerjee, Ajit, and Madhu Khanna, The Tantric Way: Art, Science, Ritual, London and New York: Thames & Hudson, 1977. Panikkar, Sumati, ‘Of Love, Stalking, and Raanjhanaas in Bollywood’, Bargad: Enlightened Prattles, 12 July 2013, https://bargad.org/2013/07/12/raanjhanaa/ (accessed on 17 August 2017). Phukan, Rumani Saikia, ‘Despite Prohibition, Devadasi System Still Continues in India’, Maps of India: My India, 3 November 2014, www.mapsofindia.com/ my-india/society/despite-prohibition-devadasi-system-still-continues-in-india (accessed on 17 August 2017). Ramberg, Lucinda, Given to the Goddess: South Indian Devadasis and the Sexuality of Religion, Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2014. Rao, Maithili, ‘The Actor Who Drew Deep from within for Her Roles’, The Wire, 14 October 2015, https://thewire.in/13184/the-actor-who-drew-deep-from-withinfor-her-roles/ (accessed on 9 November 2017). Sen, Amartya, ‘More Than 100 Million Women Are Missing’, The New York Review of Books, 20 December 1990, www.nybooks.com/articles/1990/12/20/more-than100-million-women-are-missing/?printpage=true (accessed on 16 August 2017). ‘Sex Ratio in Haryana Worst Among All States’, DNA, 30 April 2013, www.dna india.com/india/report-sex-ratio-in-haryana-worst-among-all-states-1829031 (accessed on 11 September 2015). Swaminathan, Shakti, ‘Celluloid to Soulmates: A Study on the Impact of Films on the Perception of Romantic Love Among the Youth’, research paper at the Conference Media Meet 2016: Breaking the 4th Wall: International Conference on Cinema,

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4–5 August 2016, see ‘Selected Papers’ (original text not yet available), http://medi alab4.wixsite.com/mediameet15/selected-papers (accessed on 17 August 2017). Condensed version in: Swaminathan, ‘Cinema gives unreal, dangerous ideas’. Swaminathan, Shakti, ‘Cinema Gives Unreal, Dangerous Ideas about Love: Study from the South Reveals’, The News Minute, 7 June 2017, www.thenewsminute.com/ article/cinema-gives-unreal-dangerous-ideas-about-love-study-south-reveals-63278, (accessed on 17 August 2017).

Filmography Bandit Queen. Directed by Shekhar Kapoor, 1994. Mumbai: Video Palace, n.d. DVD. Dabangg. Directed by Abhinav Kashyap, 2010. Mumbai: Reliance Big Home Video, 2010. DVD. Darr. Directed by Yash Chopra, 1993. Mumbai: Yash Raj Films, 2007. DVD. Deewana Mujh Sa Nahin. Directed by Nageshwara Rao Y., M. Parvez, 1990. India: Ultra, n.d. DVD. Dil. Directed by Indra Kumar, 1990. Mumbai: Shemaroo, 2006. DVD. Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge. Directed by Aditya Chopra, 1995. Mumbai: Yash Raj Films, 2007. DVD. Giddh. Directed by T. S. Ranga, 1984. Mumbai: Shemaroo, 2002. DVD. India’s Daughter. Directed by Leslie Udwin, 2015. https://archive.org/details/BBC DocumentaryIndiasDaughterOnNirbhayaDelhiGangRapJyotiSingh# (accessed on 15 August 2017). Insaf Ka Tarazu. Directed by B. R. Chopra, 1980. New Delhi: Moser Baer, 1999. DVD. Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham. Directed by Karan Johar, 2001. Mumbai: Sony Music, 2001. DVD. Lipstick. Directed by Lamont Johnson, 1976. Place and label of DVD unknown, 2003. Matrubhoomi: A Nation without Women. Directed by Manish Jha, 2003. Mumbai: Eros International, 2005. DVD. Raanjhanaa. Directed by Anand L. Rai, 2013. Mumbai: Eros International, 2013. DVD. Sholay. Directed by Ramesh Sippy, 1975. Mumbai: Eros International, 2003. DVD. Tere Naam. Directed by Satish Kaushik, 2003. Mumbai: Eros Entertainment, 2006. Toilet: Ek Prem Katha. Directed by Shree Narayan Singh, 2017. Mumbai: Reliance Big Home Video, 2017. DVD. Zanjeer. Directed by Prakash Mehra, 1973. Mumbai: Big Home Entertainment, 2006. DVD.

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Notes: Page numbers in italics indicate figures; and those in bold indicate tables. Adisheshan 115 advertisements: automobiles or heavy vehicles 194; television 192–193 Age of Consent Act (1891) 7, 12, 110, 114–115, 117 aggression, male 188–189 Agnes, Flavia 31 Aitareyabrahmana 172 Akhtar, Farhan 251 Ali, Apser 103–104 altruistic surrogacy 211 Aman, Zeenat 248, 249 ancient India 44–47 ancient Indian texts, on third gender 169, 170 Andaman penal settlement 102–104 Andhra Pradesh: as credit-penetrated region 206; Devdasi System 145–146; microcredits and MFIs 205–207 Andhra Pradesh Devadasi (Prohibition of Dedication) Act 146, 247 Angelou, Mary 233 Annual Health Survey 9 anti-conquest 67 anti-pornography feminists 218–219 Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) 10 Asch, Adrienne 130 Assam Prison Report of 1899 100 assisted reproductive technology (ART) 209 Atharvaveda 169 Awaaz-e-Niswaan 154, 155; Muslim Women’s Rights Network 158

Babbar, Raj 248 Bachchan, Amitabh 254 Bagchi, Jasodhara 237 Bahucara Mata 170, 178; see also third gender Bandit Queen (film) 249 Bangladesh 201, 202–203 Basel Mission 11, 76–90; Evangelisches Missions-Magazin (EMM) 11, 59, 62–63, 66–67; overview 76–77; religious and European norms 79–82; sexual deviance and case of Greiner and Mina 82–90; South India (1834–60) 77–78 Baz, Meer 104–105 Becker, Judith 11 Bedi, Rajinder Singh 233 Beijing Declaration 32 Beti Bachao Beti Padhao (BBBP) scheme 8 Bhabha, Homi 64, 154 bhakti (devotional movement) 47–53; as an ideology 48; emancipatory potential 48; extension of the self 49–51; as a liberatory force 48; physical violence 52 Bhansali, Sanjay Leela 112 Bhoopalam, Neel 253 Bible 80–81 Bihar 245 bio-economy 208 biocapitalism 208 biological discrimination of third gender 170–171 Black Feminist Theory 22

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Bourdieu, P. 125–126 Briggs, G. W. 144 British missionary periodicals 58–59 brothels 68, 117–120 Buddhist monk, third gender and 174 Burton, Antoinette 60 Butler, Josephine 60 Cambodia 211 ‘Can the Subaltern Speak?’ (Spivak) 60 capitalism 190; reproductive economy in 191–193 Caraka 169 Castro-Gomez, Santiago 60 CEDAW 116 Cekkilar Puranam 49 Census 2001 of India 8 Champakalakshmi, R. 48 Chatterji, Shoma 247–249 Child marriage 113–117; age of consent debate 114–116; punishment 116 Child Marriage Restraint Act 116, 120 child sex ratio 9 Chittor Rani Padmini (film) 113 Chopra, Aditya 250 Chopra, Anupama 250 Chopra, B. R. 248 Chopra, Yash 250 Church Missionary Society 63 Circular Order of 1817 111 Ciruttoṇṭar Nāyaṉār Purāṇam 50–51 cisgenders 176 ‘Civilising Subject’ (Hall) 60 Clarke, Eli 136 cleric-centred cultures of Islam 157 Collins, Patricia H. 22 coloniality of power 60 colonial legal system 12; Andaman penal settlement 102–104; castigating youthful offenders 99–100; criminal code 96–97; eunuchs and 100–101; heterosexual rape 97; homosexual rape 97–99; Indian cubicle 102; jail discipline 104–105; penal institutions 101–104; same-sex relationships 101; sexual crimes 97 Color Purple, The (Walker) 233 comitatus 43 commodification of body 208 communitas 43 community identity, female body and 28–30

competitive societies 197 competitive violence 197 Contagious Diseases Act 117 contract, surrogacy as 209–210 Cooke, Miriam 157 coolie camp system 203; see also Sumangali system Cooper, Frederick 64–65 Crimewatch (BBC) 219 Criminal Law (Amendment) Act 2013 7, 12, 137–138 Criminal Tribes Act (1871) 12, 96, 100 cubicle, colonial penal institutions 102 culture: essentialization of 26–28; fundamentalist concepts of 27–28; Hijras (third gender) 176; modern scholarship on 27; structural violence and 212–214; transnational approach to 27 Dalit(s) 30; defining 141 Dalit localities 150 Dalit Solidarity Network for the UN Human Rights Council 30 Dalit women 13, 141–151; biases of the court and 149–150; Devdasi System 145–146; with disabilities 129; nature and types of violence against 141–144; occupational violence against 144–146; patriarchy and 150–151; physical violence 146–147; rape of 147–149, 148, 150; sexual assaults 30, 31; typology of violence against 144; verbal violence via social ridicule 146; vulnerabilities 30 Dalwai, Hamid 158, 160–162 Damini (film) 252–253 Dandekar, Deepra 13 Danish-Halle 61 Daruwalla, N. 126, 135 Darr (film) 250 Das, Hari 11–12, 97–98 Dasgupta, Susmita 14 Dasi, Phoolmani 114 de Beauvoir, Simone 44 Debi, Jyotirmoyee 236 debt 13, 118, 206 de Certeau, Michel 153 Delhi gang rape of 2012 see Nirbhaya rape and murder case Deol, Sunny 252 Der evangelische Heidenbote 77

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desexualizing of woman 51 Devdasi System 145–146, 246–247 Devi, Bhanwari 13, 149–150 Dhanush 250 Dharmashastras 169 Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (film) 250 disability: biological model 125; conceptualising 125–126; defined 125; gender and 126–130; impairment and 125, 127; postcolonialism 126–127; social models 125; structural inequalities 126; symbolic violence 126 Disability Castration Syndrome 136 disabled women 12–13; caste status 129; denial of access and rights 133–134; ethnicity 128; healthcare settings 133–134; hysterectomies 136; locomotor disability 133; marriage 129; rolelessness 130; sexual abuse and violence against 132–133, 135–136; sexuality of 130; South Asian context 128–130; statistical profile 130–133, 131, 132; violence against 133–136; well-being of 135 disciplinary power 60 discrimination of third gender: biological 170–171; economic 173–174; ethical 172–173; everyday 174–175; foreign 175–178 domestic violence: as criminal offence 31; as human rights issue 31–32; legal protection against 32 Dotson, Kristie 60–61, 63 Down Syndrome 211 dowry 32, 129, 203 Dowry Prohibition Act 32 Durga (goddess) 253 Dworkin, Andrea 219, 220 economic discrimination of third gender 173–174 economic globalisation see globalisation, structural violence and Edwards, Mary 14 “Egalitarianism and Inflation” (Rand) 195 Elementary Structures of Kinship (LeviStrauss) 194 Emperor v. Syed Mirza 117–119 empowerment 14 Engineer, Asghar Ali 157–158

E Paar Ganga, O Paar Ganga (Debi) see River Churning, The (Debi) epistemic violence 59–61; Dotson on 60–61; ignorance and 60, 61; modernity and 60; in testimony 60–61 erotica in public sphere 192 ethical discrimination of third gender 172–173 Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) 205 eunuchs 175; colonial legal system and 100–101; see also Hijras (third gender) Eurocentrism 177 European norms, in Basel Mission 79–82 Evangelisches Missions-Magazin (EMM) 11, 59, 62–63, 66–67 everyday discrimination of third gender 174–175 female body, and community identity 28–30 feticide 245 Fifty Shades of Grey (James) 14, 217–228; artistic criticism 217; belief and imaginative resistance 220–223; engagement with 224–226; female readership 217; feminist criticisms 218–220; as harmful fictional view 226–227; as pornography 218–219; sexual empowerment and multicultural concern 226–228 Fine, Michele 130 food and sex 194 foreign discrimination of third gender 175–178 Foucault, M. 23 Galtung, Johan 23, 200–201 Gandhi, Mahatma 255 gangrape 196; see also Nirbhaya rape and murder case Gavey, Nicola 217 Gazi, Amin 246 gender-based violence 3; scope of defining 3 gendered religious differences 65–67 Gendler, Tamar Szabó 221–223 German images of India 61–64; epistemic and sexual difference 67–71; periodicals 62–64; religious differences 65–67 German missionary societies 62

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Hussain, Y. 128 hysterectomies, of girls with intellectual disabilities 136

Ghai, A. 128 Giddh (film) 246–247 globalisation, structural violence and 23; culture and 212–214; financial inclusion 205–207; labour inclusion 201–203; overview 200–201; Sumangali scheme 203–205; surrogacy 207–212 goddesses, women as 233–236 Goel, Rashmi 33 Gondolf, E. W. 193 Gramsci, Antonio 43 Greiner, Leonhard 76 Grosz, E. 125 Gujar, Ram Karan 150 Gujarat 246 Gundert, Hermann 76, 77, 80, 82, 83–84, 85, 86, 87, 88 Gupta, Pawan 194 Habermas, Jurgen 189 Habib, Lina Abu 130 habitus 126 Hall, Catherine 60 Hall, Stuart 21–22 Hallische Berichte 61–62 Haryana 245; Dalit girls/women rape 6; disability in 12, 127 Hashmi, Jamila 233 healthcare settings, violence against disabled women in 133–134 Hebich, Samuel 76, 77, 82, 83–84, 85, 86, 87, 88 Herrmann-Pfandt, Adelheid 15 Hijras (third gender) 13–14, 169–179; British Law and 175; communities 177–178; culture 176; depiction 176; own theory of 176–177; Western terms 177; Wikipedia on 176, 177; see also third gender Hindu caste system 30 Hindu culture/tradition: infertility in 209; menstruating women 3; puberty/ fertility in women 3; Sati 27–28 Hinduism: classical civilisations and 66 Holi 252 honour killings 4–5, 253 Hook, Derek 64 Hudson, Dennis 49, 52 human fertilities 191 human rights 6, 26, 30–32, 149, 154, 201–205 Hussain, Sabiha 158

identities 21–22 ideological feminism 155 ijma 157 ijtihad 157 I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (Angelou) 233 imaginative resistance 220–223 Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act 120 impairment 125 Indian films, violence against women in 243–255; Bandit Queen 249; Damini 252–253; Giddh 246–247; Insaf Ka Tarazu 247–249; love stories 249–251; Matrubhoomi 244–246, 249; Matrubhoomi (film) 244–246, 249; NH 10 253–254; overview 243–244; powerful woman 251–254 Indian Penal Code: age of consent 114–115; marital rape as a criminal offence 32 Indian Revolt in 1857 96 India’s Daughter (BBC documentary film) 195, 243, 248, 254 indicators of gender status 8 inequalities 23–24; structural 126 infanticide 245 infertility 209 Insaf Ka Tarazu (film) 247–249 inter-caste marriages/relationships 4 interlocking systems of oppression 22 intersectional approach, to gender identities 22 intersectionality 7 in vitro fertilisation (IVF) 209 Islam: cleric-centred cultures of 157 Islamic feminism: Cooke’s definition of 157; Muslim activism and 154–158; as a political movement 154 Iyarpakai Nayanar Puranam 51 Jadhav, Prakash 154 Jaffrey, Zia 172 jail discipline, colonial legal system 104–105 Jaiswal, Suvira 48 Jammu and Kashmir 10 jauhar 4, 112, 113; see also Sati (selfimmolation) Jayasi, Malik Mohammed 4, 112

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third gender 178–179; violence against women and 31–33; see also colonial legal system Laxmidas, Labhshankar 118 learning and sex 192 legal practice/protection see law Lerner, Gerda 45 Lethbridge, A. S. 103 Levi-Strauss, Claude 194 Lind, Jenny 70 Lipstick (film) 248 literacy rates 8 ‘Location of Culture, The’ (Bhabha) 154 locomotor disability 133 London Review 69 love story (Bollywood films) 249–251 Ludwig, Manju 11–12 Lyall, C. J. 103 Lyons, Dr 104–105

Jensz, Felicity 10–11 Jha, Manish 245 Jhoota Sach (Yashpal) seeThis is Not That Dawn (Yashpal) Jinnah, M. A. 161 Johar, Karan 245 Johnson, Lamont 248 Joshi, Tulip 245 Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham (film) 245 Kakar, Katharina 31 Kalikkampa Nayanar Puranam 52 Kalikkampar 52 Kama Sutra 169, 171, 172 Kamble, Baby 143 Kaṇṇappa Nāyaṉār Purāṇam 49–50 Kanwar, Roop 28 Kapoor, Rishi 252 Kapoor, Shekhar 249 Kapoor, Sonam 250 Karnataka 247 Karma 174 Karnataka 145, 146 Karnataka Devadasi (Prohibition of Dedication) Act 146 Karni Sena 4 Kashmir 245 Kerala 245 keshava 169; see also third gender Khamosh Paani (film) 238–239 Khan, Aamir 250 Khan, Ayub 98 Khan, Hasina 13, 158–162 Khan, Salman 250 Khan, Shah Rukh 250 Khan, Syed Ahmed 161 Khetrapal, Abha 133, 136 Khilji, Alauddin 112 King Edward Memorial Hospital, Poona 114 Kolhapure, Padmini 248, 249 Konkani Muslims, and North Indian Muslim 162–166 Kōṭpuli Nāyaṉār Purāṇam 52 Kulaccirai Nāyaṉār Purāṇam 50 Kulottunka II 49 Kumar, Akshay 250 Kumar, Vivek 13 labour rights 202–204 “Lajwanti” (Bedi) 233, 235–236 law: child marriage and 113–117; Sati (self-immolation) and 27–28, 110–113;

Macaulay, T. B. 70 MacKinnon, Catharine A. 219, 220 Mahabharata 169, 170, 172 Mahalakshmi, R. 10 Malabari, B. M. 113–114 male aggression 188–189 Mamdani, Mahmood 191 Manakancara Nayanar Puranam 51 Manusmriti 170, 171, 173, 174, 180n3 marital rape as a criminal offence 32 marriage: age of 116; child 113–117; disabled women 129; registration of 116 masculinity, violence and 197–198 maternal mortality ratio 9 Matrubhoomi (film) 244–246, 249 Mehra, Prakash 254 Meekosha, H. 127 Mehrotra, Nilika 12, 127, 129, 136 #MeToo campaign 3 microcredits 205–207 microfinance institutions (MFIs) 205–207 Milindapanha 174 Minault, Gail 155, 156 ‘Minute on Education’ (Macaulay) 70 Mirza, Syed Khan 117–118 missionaries: binary oppositions and paradoxes 64–65; epistemic and sexual difference 67–71; periodicals 62–64; see also Basel Mission; German missionary societies

264

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Mohanty, Chandra T. 24 Mukadam, Abdul Kader 158 Mumbai 247 Murthy, Ch. Narayana 113 Muslim feminism 13, 153–166; activism 154–158; case study of Zoya 162–166; defined 153–154; gender justice 154–155; Hasina Khan and Hamid Dalwai 154–155; overview 153; postcolonialism and 156–157; as reflection of Muslim reformism 155; resisting systemic violence 155, 162–166; rights movements 156; as women’s dissent movement 156 Muslim patriarchs/patriarchy 13; as an obstacle to Muslim modernity 161; Muslim personal law 154–155; as a violent missionary approach 161; women demanding freedom from 166 Muslim personal law 154, 155 Muslim Women’s Rights Network 158 National Commission for Women 247 National Crime Records Bureau 6 nationalism 26 National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MNREGA) 130 Naval, Deepti 253 Nayar, Mahima 12 Neuhas, R. 133 neuter sex 169 New Testament 81 NH 10 (film) 253–254 Nilagiri, India 11, 67 Nīlanakkar Nāyaṉār Purāṇam 51 Nirbhaya rape and murder case 5, 6, 14, 243, 254; analysis of symbols in 193–198; gender-oriented policies 8; incidents and episodes leading to 185–186 normalizing forces 23 North East of India 9–10 North Indian Muslim, Konkani Muslims and 162–166 Obama, Michelle 192 Old Testament 81 Omvedt, G. 145 oppression, interlocking systems of 22 ‘other’, the: colonial context 60; construction of 60; double paradox 64 Outcaste Sacred Prostitutes 145 overpopulation 208

Padmaavat (film) 4, 112–113 Padmavati (queen of Chittor) 112 Pancharia, Vinamra 246 Pande, Amrita 210–211 Pandey, Sudhir 245 Partition of India 14–15; HinduMuslim violence 29, 232; womencentric narratives/texts 232–241 Patekar, Nana 247 Patil, Smita 247 Pawar, Urmila 142 Periya Puranam 49 personal choice/agency 236–241 physical violence 23 Pinjar (Pritam) 237–238 Platform for Action 32 postcolonial feminist criticism 24–26 Pradhan, Rao Bahadur 115 Prakash, Bodh 14–15 Pratt, Mary Louise 67 Pre-Natal Diagnostic Act 1994 7 Pritam, Amrita 237 Prohibition of Child Marriage Act 116 Prohibition of Dowry Act 1961 7 prostitutes, crime against 117–120 Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act 138 Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, The 32 Protestant missionaries 58 public space/sphere: constitution of 189; driven by Thanatos 191–192; erotica in 192; gendering of 190; Habermas’s idea of 188; violence against women in 187–188 Puducherry 245 Punjab 245 Punjab Municipal Act of 1911 119 Puranas 170 Puri, Om 247 Quran 13, 154–155; gender equality and 159; post-marital maintenance 159 Raanjhanaa (film) 250–251 Racine, J-L. 142 Radcliffe Line 29 Rahman, Abdur 98 Rai, Alok 232 Rai, Anand L. 250 Rajan, Rajeshwari Sunder 233 Rajan, Rekha Kamath 61

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INDEX

Rajputs 113 Ranga, T. S. 246 Ramayana 234, 245 Ramprashad, Premsingh 99 Rana Plaza building, Bangladesh 201, 203 Rand, Ayn 195, 197 Randeria, Shalini 212 rape 5–6; Agnes on 31; child marriage and 113–117; in Early Modern Europe 31; Kakar on 31; as property offence 31; see also Indian films, violence against women in; Nirbhaya rape and murder case Ravi Das Colony, Delhi 194 Reingardiene, Jolanta 240 relative incomes 192 reliable ignorance 60 religious differences 65–67 religious norms, in Basel Mission 79–82 religious texts of medieval Tamilakam 53 Remarriage Act of 1856 113 reproductive economy in capitalism 191–193 reproductive technologies 208, 209; see also surrogacy Rights for Persons with Disability Act (RPD) 137 Right to Education (RTE) 130 River Churning, The (Debi) 236 Rudkin, G. D 98–99 Sabarimala temple 3; anti-women’s temple entry group 3 Safe Cities and Safe Public Spaces (UN Women Flagship Programme) 187 Saiva bhakti saints 10, 43, 47–53; extension of the self 49–51; life stories 52–53; physical violence 52; self-flagellation 50; woman as voiceless 51 Samar, Sabiha 238 same-sex relationships 5 Samhitas 169 Sample Registration System 7 Santoshi, Rajkumar 252 Sanyukta Maharashtra Andolan 161 Sassoon General Hospital, Pune 136 Sati 27–28 Sati (self-immolation) 7, 27–28; abolition 27; glorification of 28, 110–113; as marginal phenomenon 27; Parliamentary Papers 111

Sati Prevention Act of 1987 111–112, 113 Satre, Paul 192 Saundatti 246 Saxena, Ankit 5 Scheduled Castes (SC) 30; see also Dalit(s) Scheduled Tribes (ST) 30 Schneider, Nadia-Christina 156 Scholars Strategy Network, New York 187 Second Age of Consent Bill (Sharda Bill) 115 Section 375, Indian Penal Code 3 Section 376, Indian Penal Code 7 self-referential system 62 Sen, Amartya 245 Sen, R. 137 sex: being risky 191–192; food and 194; learning and 192 sexual deviance: Basel India Mission 82–90; colonial legal system 95–105 Sexual Harassment at the Workplace Act 204–205 sexual violence 5, 29–30; caste system and 30; as conversion rituals 31 shared normative universe 4 Sharma, Anushka 253 Sharma, R. S. 44 Sharma, Vinay 194 Shatapathabrahmana 169 Sheshadri, Meenakshi 252 Shiva (Lord) 174 Sholay (film) 254 Showalter, Elaine 240–241 Shpancer, Noam 188, 191 Sikand, Yoginder 157 Singh, Jyoti 14, 254; see also Nirbhaya rape and murder case Singh, Mukesh 194 Singh, Navdeep 253 Singh, Ram 194 Singh, Ratansen 112 Sippy, Ramesh 254 Sivacarya, Umapati 49 Smuts, Barbara 188–189, 190, 191–192, 195 Social Statistics Division 131 South Asia, disability in 126–130; disabled women 128–130 South India: Basel Mission (1834–60) 77–78; Danish-Halle missionaries 61 Spivak, Gayatri C. 24, 59–60

266

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Sridharand, C. V. 113 stalker, stalking 250-251, 254 Stoler, Lara Ann 64–65, 67 street violence against women (SVAW) 10, 249 structural inequalities 126 structural violence 23; culture and 212–214; financial inclusion 205–207; labour inclusion 201–203; overview 200–201; Sumangali scheme 203–205; surrogacy 207–212 Sudras in Ancient India 44 suicide, microcredit indebtedness causing 205 suicide by opium ingestion 67 Sumangali system 14, 203–205; forceful subordination 204; as violent labour system 204–205 surrogacy 14, 16, 19n31, 207–212; altruistic 211; bans on 211–212; biopolitics 208–209; comparative advantage of 209; contract 209–210; emotional labour 210; ethnographic research on 210–211; public controversies 208; unequal economic relations 208 Sushruta 169 svabhava (self-being) 170, 171 Swaminathan, Shakti 251 Swaraj, Sushma 211 Syed, Renate 13–14 symbolic violence 126 Tablighi Jamaat 155–156 Tambe, Ashwini 120 Tamilakam, religious texts of 53 Tamilnadu: political economy and sociocultural traditions 47; Saiva bhakti saints 10, 43, 47–53; Sumangali system 14, 203–205; textile workers in 14, 203–205 tantra (Buddhist, Hindu) 252 television advertisements and programmes 192–193 textile industry 201–203 textile value chains 201–202 textile workers 14, 203–205 Thailand 211 Thakurdas, Purushottamdas 115 Thanatos 191–192 third gender 13–14, 169–179; ancient Indian texts 169, 170; biological discrimination 170–171; economic

discrimination 173–174; ethical discrimination 172–173; everyday discrimination 174–175; foreign discrimination 175–178; law and 178–179; in medical discourses 170; metaphysical and spiritual discrimination 174; psychological discrimination 171; ritual discrimination 173; Sanskrit term 169; sexual discrimination 172; social discrimination 171–172; Vedic term 169 Third World women: as victims of male violence 25; Western feminists on 24 This is Not That Dawn (Yashpal) 239–240 three-sex model 176 Times of India, The 228 Tirukkural 47 Tiruvalluvar 47 Tower of Goldbach, The(Gendler) 222 transgenders 176 Tripathi, Laxmi Narayan 175, 178 Twelfth Plan for Women and Children 8 two-sex model 176, 177 Udwin, Leslee 243, 254 Ukraine 211 ulama 154–155 Uma (Goddess) 174 United Nations 32 Valmiki, Omprakash 142–143 Vasishthadharmashastra 174 Vatuk, Sylvia 154–155, 156 Veluthat, Kesavan 48 victimization 236–241 Vienna Accord of 1994 32 villages, literacy rate in 8 violence: dimensions 23; as hegemonic tool 43; legal practice and 31–33; masculinity and 197–198; as mental frustration 195; as result of social processes 23; social inequalities 22; structural 23; transhistorical and transcultural principle 23 violence by omission 201, 213 Viramma 13, 142 Vishakha judgement guidelines (1977) 3 Walker, Alice 233 wealth-to-child ratio 191 Western media 20

267

INDEX

Whipping Act 12, 99–100 Wichterich, Christa 7, 14 widowhood 113–114 women: desexualizing 51; as goddesses 233–236; as market subjects 213; objectification 44; victimization 236–241; see also specific women workforce: Census 2001 8; industrial distribution 9; sex differences 8–9

workspace harassment 190 World Health Organization (WHO) 6 World Report on Disability 130 Yajnavalkyasmriti 174 Yellamma (goddess) 246 Young Bengal Movement 11, 67–68, 69–71 Zanjeer (film) 254

268