19 September, 2020

Indian Feminism: Coming of Age

Coalescing concerns of high-profile urban feminism and grassroots activism result in a unified, indigenous vision

Indian Feminism: Coming of Age

A slapped bottom and a gang rape. A senior IAS officer and a village woman from Rajasthan. Both have moved the courts, seeking justice for all women. Both have stood up in the public arena to say that they have been robbed of freedoms supposedly guaranteed to them by the Constitution of independent India. Rupan Deol Bajaj of Chandigarh and Bhanvari Devi of Bhateri village have focussed attention on Indian feminism.

Yet, notwithstanding the publicity given to the most famous deriere in India at the moment, women’s groups say they have been "heartened" by the media response to Bhanvari Devi. When the social worker from Rajasthan addressed a press conference, almost every newspaper carried the story the next day. The district judge may have declared the upper caste men do not rape, but nobody doubted Bhanvari’s word. The campaign for a law on sexual harassment in the workplace has gathered momentum because of Bhanvari’s experience and women’s groups are planning several demonstrations in Jaipur in support of her. Rupan Bajaj may be a talking point, but...



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