Indian History

Empowering Women through History: The Begams’ Bhopal


Bhopal in central India is celebrated as a city of lakes, but it also has a unique history.  For four generations, it was ruled by a dynasty of Muslim female rulers: Qudsia (1801-81; r. 1819-37), Sikandar (1816-68; r. 1844-68), Shah Jahan (1838-1901; r. 1868-1901) and Sultan Jahan (1858-1930; r. 1901-26).  Historical chance may have brought them to power – Qudsia became regent after her husband died in a shooting accident after which three generations produced only daughters – but administrative savvy enabled them to hold on to it.  These Nawab Begams have left an indelible mark on the fabric of the city – from the palaces and mosques that structure the old capital to the roads, parks, hospitals and neighbourhoods that still bear their names.  And yet, in Bhopal today, they are rarely commemorated or even remembered.  Could their inspirational life stories be used to empower contemporary women?

To test this principle, we undertook a pilot study in January 2020.  The academic team brought together historian Professor Siobhan Lambert-Hurley and sociologist Dr Nafhesa Ali from the University of Sheffield with applied education researcher Dr Radhika Iyengar from Columbia University to collaborate with local women’s organisation, Mahashakti Seva Kendra (MSK).  The latter is a government-sponsored initiative founded by local activist Indira Iyengar in 1992 in the wake of the city’s infamous Union Carbide disaster.  On its website, MSK identifies itself as an ‘all women’ organisation operating for the ‘social and economic upliftment’ of Bhopal’s women.  Working to the north of the city’s railway station, it aims to train women in practical skills that will enable them to contribute to the family income.  Now led by the founder’s daughter Pooja Iyengar, MSK serves a core of around 25 adult women, primarily Hindu, from the local area, most of whom have not received formal education past the age of twelve.

Figure 1: The project group at MSK’s workshed

Lessons in basic sewing skills mean MSK’s women usually spend afternoons – after children are at school and housework is complete – at the organisation’s workshed preparing items for sale.  Recent commissions include shopping bags made from old banners for the municipal corporation and stylish gifts for a local eco-friendly wedding.  During our visit, plant pots made from cowdung (gobar gamlas) were also drying in the cool winter sun.  Work is sometimes halted for visitors – with recent talks on single-use plastics and basic nutrition.  In the last month, MSK has also opened a computer centre in response to a local needs survey undertaken by students from Columbia University. 60 girls and women will receive training in computers, English and ‘soft skills’ over a three-month period.

Our visit promised something a little different.  Over the course of a week, we undertook a series of historical activities and discussions with MSK’s women.  These activities included a tour of local historical sites associated with the ruling Begams led by local heritage enthusiast and inveterate storyteller, Sikander Malik.  Among the locations visited were several nineteenth century palaces and the city’s largest mosque, the Taj ul Masajid.  On another day, Lambert-Hurley gave a talk at the workshed, highlighting the Begams’ contributions to architecture, education, health and literary culture. As highlighted by Figure 2, simple text and historical images featured alongside contemporary photographs taken on the group’s own tour to link past and present.  Informal group conversations – recorded as audio for our academic research and as video for a forthcoming documentary – proved rich in historical reflection on contemporary women’s issues.

Figure 2: Presentation slide on Shah Jahan featuring a historical image of the ruler alongside a photograph from MSK’s own tour at the Taj ul-Masajid.  Image accessed through Wikipedia Commons

Friends in Bhopal outside our partner organisation were often bemused by our project. These ‘poor women’ wouldn’t be interested in history, they pronounced with certainty.  In reality, the opposite proved to be true: MSK’s women overwhelmed us with their vigour and generosity as they participated in planned activities and interacted as a group.  Though our first day was a local holiday (makarsankranti), fifteen women bustled out of seemingly too few auto rickshaws at our first destination, smiling and laughing as they met the project team.  Decked out in bright saris and laden with snacks and sweets, the women gave their rare outing the air of a picnic.  Yet they listened intently to stories about Qudsia’s reign, exemplified by subtle architectural details in her nineteenth-century lakeside palace, Gauhar Mahal. Recapping the next day, we were surprised by how many of these anecdotes and historical details they recalled: from the circumstances around Qudsia’s ascendancy to the symbolic representations of her French Bourbon advisors.

Figure 3: Women from MSK touring Qudsia’s palace, Gauhar Mahal, with Sikander Malik

During the historical talk at the workshed, an unexpected visitor – the wife of the former Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh – stopped by to listen.  Standing at the door of the small office in which we were gathered, she probed the participants on what they had learned.  Were they not impressed, she asked, by the particular architectural designs of the many grand palaces – now dilapidated or in severe disrepair – built by the third Begam, Shah Jahan?  One woman spoke up to capture the general view: the last Begam, Sultan Jahan, was more interesting to them.  A hundred years before their own educational initiative, she had founded and patronised schools for Bhopal’s girls and women, as well as a library, a museum and a women’s club.  Among the schools was the Asfia Technical School that had instructed those who needed to earn a living in practical skills, like spinning, weaving, embroidery and beadwork.  At MSK, they still do the gold embroidery, or zari work, that featured in this curriculum.

Figure 4: The project group enjoying the view to Shah Jahan’s palace, the Taj Mahal – now in a state of advanced decay – from the Taj ul-Masajid

When we first met MSK’s women, they admitted to knowing little or nothing of Bhopal’s dynasty of female rulers.  Why had no one taught them in school, they asked, that Bhopal had been ruled by women?  To learn this history changed their interaction with the city.  There was a pride in knowing that Sultania Hospital – in which many of them had given birth to their children or stayed for an operation – was named for a nawab begam who had put a qualified female doctor at the helm, introduced training for local midwives and furnished it with the most modern equipment. They were eager to visit more of the city’s historical sites, and expressed an ambition to share their newfound historical knowledge – especially precious because it had come to them before their husbands or relatives – with their own children. Give us simple books about our city’s begams, they instructed, and we will take them to our local schools to pass on this legacy.  Our new computer skills, they agreed, may be used to gather more knowledge and prepare this history for a website or app – to be used by locals and visitors alike.

Figure 5: European visitors to the Lady Lansdowne Hospital (now the Sultania Zenana Hospital) during the reign of Sultan Jahan (second from left). Image accessed through Wikipedia Commons.

One of the first questions we asked the women from MSK was how they identified a ‘Bhopali woman’.  The cumulative answer focused on traditional dress, limited mobility and simple dialect.  By the end of our short visit, the answer had changed unequivocally: Bhopali women were fierce, bold and brave! Our participants recognised that the challenges facing Muslim royalty were very different than their own, and remained somewhat pessimistic about their own futures – but, if these historic women could overcome their many trials, there was a lesson for them there.  Empowerment is a hard concept to define and measure, but we came away overwhelmed by the study’s impact and potential – in these women’s engagement with history and their understanding that they too might have agency in matters of education and health.

We will be holding two public events linked to this project in June 2020:

Radhika Iyengar, ‘Life-long learning opportunities a missed chance for young women in India: A gendered perspective’ (10 June 2020, 16:00-18:00, Jessop West Seminar Room 8, University of Sheffield): more information and tickets available on Eventbrite here

‘Advancing Female Literacy and Empowerment in Pakistan and India through Life Writing’ (11 June 2020, 17:00-19:00, Humanities Research Institute Conference Room, University of Sheffield): featuring talks and exhibits by our academic and NGO partners, including a short documentary on this pilot study, directed by Pooja Iyengar.

Siobhan Lambert-Hurley is Professor of Global History at the University of Sheffield.  Her latest book is Elusive Lives: Gender, Autobiography and the Self in Muslim South Asia (Stanford University Press, 2018).

Nafhesa Ali is Co-Investigator on ‘Advancing Female Literacy and Empowerment in Pakistan and India through Life Writing,’ at the University of Sheffield.  She is author of Asian Voices: First Generation Migrants (University of Huddersfield, 2011) and co-editor of A Match Made in Heaven: British Muslim Women Write About Love and Desire (HopeRoad, 2020)

Cover image: Women from MSK with the authors at the Taj ul-Masajid in Bhopal.


Additional Resources:

On the Begams of Bhopal:

Siobhan Lambert-Hurley, Muslim Women Reform and Princely Patronage: Nawab Sultan Jahan Begam of Bhopal (Routledge, 2007).


On our partner organisation:

‘Education for Sustainable Development, Mahashakti Seva Kendra, Bhopal’ []


Acknowledgements: this project is funded by a Sustainable Development Grant awarded from QR GCRF, University of Sheffield.


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When Courts Adjudicate History: The Ayodhya Verdict


India witnessed one of its worst religious riots in 1992, when unruly mobs demolished a mosque built by the first Mughal ruler, supposedly on the exact site in Ayodhya where Lord Ram, of the Hindu pantheon, was born. In a sense, though, these mobs were not unruly at all – they had gathered with the specific intent of carrying out the demolition, were spurred into action by rousing speeches given by political leaders, and had been nourished on fake videos of Muslim brutality toward a majority Hindu population. The demolition set in motion nation-wide riots, and inaugurated a militant phase of Hindu right-wing politics that has culminated in the BJP — India’s largest Hindu right-wing party — coming into power with a thumping majority.

This episode has come back to haunt us again, as the Supreme Court of India passed its verdict last Saturday on whether or not a temple could be built on the site of the demolished mosque. Many aspects of 6 December 1992 (the day of the demolition) were replicated on Saturday: tens of thousands of people were, once again, gathered in Ayodhya; schools and colleges were shut across several states, as everyone kept a suspenseful watch on events of the day; and incendiary fake videos on social media had primed its audience for militant and aggressive action. Perhaps the only saving grace, on this occasion, was that national elections had occurred recently, and a riot was not going to serve the interests of any political party.

In this entire episode, what was most interesting for historians was the Supreme Court’s approach toward the past. The court appeared to have willingly assumed the mantle of a historian, going through several documents to decide whether Hindus had always believed in the holiness of the site. The choice of documents was fairly eclectic, ranging from religious scriptures, to travelogues by medieval Chinese travellers, to gazetteers and travelogues written by colonial officials.[1] All of these appear to have been given the same historical weight, without making any allowances for the potential biases of their authors. Indeed, colonial officials were often referred to as ‘historians’ in court hearings, their opinion being taken as accurate.[2] The overall strategy consisted of combing through documents for any sentence or phrase that referred directly or obliquely to either a temple, or the Hindu belief that this site was the birthplace of Lord Ram. Such an approach is bound to lead to a very warped view of the past, and is a good example of how a fetish for empiricism might drive us further away from a considered view of history – something that first year undergraduate students are taught in universities.

What is also equally significant is the court’s reluctance to allow historians to get involved in the court proceedings. Their opinions were not sought by the court, and even a famous statement released by a group of historians in the wake of the riots in 1992 was dismissed as unreliable.[3] Indeed, prominent historians of ancient India have given interviews to media channels on the issue, but not been summoned by the Supreme Court to give evidence. As one of the doyens of ancient history noted in an interview to Frontline: ‘In order to resolve the dispute over fact, the best thing is to have…historians sit in front of the court and debate. The court could then decide on what convinces it on the basis of rationality.’[4] The court’s unwillingness to do so either reflects its confidence in identifying the ‘correct’ view of history, or the fact that it has been persuaded by Hindu right-wing propaganda that most existing histories are unreliable, biased, or anti-Hindu.

Clearly, at least in this particular case, history is not merely the subject of dry academic debates – it has the potential to affect the lives of more than a billion people. By allowing Hindu groups to construct a temple on the site, while giving permission to Muslim groups to build a mosque on a separate 5-acre plot, the court has tried to carry out the task of calming down violent Hindu extremists, while also soothing the fears of the Muslim minority. Perhaps the entire hearing was never about getting to the most reliable version of history at all—it was always about achieving this precarious sense of balance. As we analyse the judgement, perhaps it is also time to consider whether well-intentioned historians do not often attempt to achieve a similar sense of balance, especially when writing on highly sensitive and politicised subjects.

Saurabh Mishra is a lecturer in the Department of History, Sheffield. He is the author of the monograph Beastly Encounters of the Raj: Livelihoods, Livestock and Veterinary Health in Colonial India, 1790-1920(Manchester University Press, 2015).

Cover Image: William Hodges, ‘A View of Part of the City of Oudh’, 1787, which features the Babri Masjid mosque on top of the hill.

[1] For the full list of documents being studied by the courts, see the following link:

[2] See the article at the following link:

[3] See article titled ‘Historians’ report on Babri Mosque mere “Opinion”: SC’


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Apologise for Amritsar? Violence and Memory on the Centenary of the Massacre

The wall with bullet holes at Jallianwala Bagh

Saturday just gone (13th April) marked the one-hundredth anniversary of the Amritsar Massacre. On this day in 1919, thousands of Indians from the city and its environs descended upon the Jallianwala Bagh, a public space, to celebrate the Sikh festival of Baisakhi, to attend a political meeting in the context of Gandhi’s Rowlatt satyagraha, or simply to rest and relax in the Bagh. The British commander in charge of the local army garrison, General Reginald Dyer, had earlier issued orders prohibiting public gatherings and imposing a curfew on the city. Considering the gathering a direct contravention of his orders, Dyer determined to disperse the meeting with force. Without any forewarning, Dyer’s troops opened fire upon this peaceful and unarmed group of men, women and children. After more than ten minutes of slow, deliberate firing, official figures suggest 379 people lay dead (other estimates are much higher), with three times that number wounded.

The Amritsar Massacre has come to occupy a prominent place in any litany of the violent excesses of British imperialism. At the time, Dyer’s actions were criticised by some (but not all) in Britain as an outright betrayal of British values. Most famously, in July 1920, Churchill recalled what happened as ‘a monstrous event, an event which stands in singular and sinister isolation … Such ideas are absolutely foreign to the British way of doing things’.

Today, centenary activities have principally coalesced around demands for the current British government to issue an official apology, with debates on this issue in the Lords back in February and in the Commons last Tuesday. This reflects larger, ongoing concerns about how best to contend with Britain’s imperial legacy. Ahead of the debate in the Commons a Foreign and Commonwealth Office spokesperson revisited Churchill’s speech, in tones that were reminiscent of David Cameron’s visit to Amritsar in February 2013.

Whilst stopping short of an apology, Cameron expressed ‘deep regret’, drawing upon Churchill’s speech to both condemn the massacre and attempt to recover Britain’s reputation as a benevolent influence upon the world. Both Churchill’s and Cameron’s depictions have been informed by a narrative of exceptionalism, in which British colonial rule is portrayed as kinder and gentler than that practised by other European powers. In these accounts, Dyer’s actions are an aberration, abhorrent to the strong moral basis upon which the empire was built.

In reality, however, Amritsar was no exception, but the most well known example of the ordinariness of colonial violence in British India. Invoking such banality is not to suggest that we should take this violence for granted. Doing so can reduce us to simply reconstructing history for its own sake, rather than reflecting on how events and actions were experienced and justified at the time. At the same time this is not an attempt to excuse what happened, but to better understand the motivations behind such actions.

Rather than focus on the ways in which the massacre subsequently electrified Indian anti-colonial nationalism of various ideological hues and methods, Kim Wagner’s recent book has emphasised the continuities of colonial rule in the violence of 1919. Invoking ‘the spectre of the “Mutiny”’ of 1857, Wagner has revealed how a particular and recurring ‘colonial mindset’ was shaped by the contradiction between ‘white power and white vulnerability’. In fact, Dyer’s actions reflected a common desire to ‘keep up appearances’ and avoid ‘losing face’, in the context of a pervasive and imagined anxiety about the latent threat of ‘native rebellion’.

Whether we end up with a formal apology or not, we can be certain that the massacre will continue to figure on any roll call of British colonial violence. This owes much to the consistent depiction of Amritsar and other colonial massacres as exceptional events. However, such interpretations ultimately deserve much closer and more careful scrutiny, in view of both the inescapability of colonial violence and the shared pressures and apprehensions that informed it.


Oliver Godsmark is Lecturer in History at the University of Derby. His research considers citizenship, democracy and territory in late colonial and early postcolonial India. He has considered these issues in his recent monograph and in articles in South Asia and Modern Asian Studies.

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Locating Women in the history of India’s Emergency (1975-1977)

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Image: Prime Minister Indira Gandhi addressing a (female) audience in Delhi, 1 March 1977 (Socialist India, March 5 1977)

More than forty years on from India’s State of Emergency (1975-1977), we are beginning to understand the many ways in which women supported, resisted and experienced this critical period in India’s history.

Forty-two years ago today, on 21 March 1977, India’s State of Emergency collapsed. The Janata Party, a coalition of anti-Emergency opposition groups, defeated Indira Gandhi’s Congress Government at the polls. Gandhi imposed this Emergency in June 1975, responding to rising opposition and a legal challenge to her position. Government censored the press, arrested opposition party members and activists, suspended elections and undertook controversial socioeconomic programmes, including coercive sterilisation and aggressive slum clearance. This is now a well traversed history. Recently, there has been a burgeoning of scholarship analysing these events. But the role of women in relation to all aspects of the regime has not commanded sufficient attention.

This is particularly striking for several reasons. A female leader who drew heavily on gendered narratives like Bharat Mata (Mother India) presided over this regime, mobilising such imagery to defend the Emergency’s legitimacy. In one instance, Gandhi stated:

We felt that the country had developed a disease and if it is to be cured soon, it has to be given a dose of medicine. However dear a child may be, if the doctor has prescribed bitter pills for him, they have to be administered for his cure… Now, when a child suffers, the mother suffers too. Thus we were not very pleased to take this step. But we see it worked (Socialist India 15 November 1975).

In 1975 India participated in the UN’s International Women’s Year (IWY) celebrations and the government’s Committee on the Status of Women in India published its report Towards Equality. One of the Emergency’s most infamous policies, coercive sterilisation in the name of family planning, is an issue that has been at the fore of feminist activism and scholarship. Although the Emergency is widely acknowledged as a catalyst for the contemporary women’s movement in India, there has been little attention to women’s activism or experiences during it.

My doctoral research revealed the myriad ways in which women were key to the articulation and implementation of Emergency measures. Depictions of women’s support for the regime were integral to pro-Emergency propaganda. The Congress Party used women dominated photographs to represent support for the regime, even describing the Emergency as akin to the IWY, as ‘yet another significant event for the welfare of women in this country’ because of its imposition of ‘law and order’ (Socialist India 21 August 1976). Contrary to such claims, and despite perceptions of the Emergency’s sterilisation policies as a vasectomy programme, my research revealed the negative implications of these policies for women, particularly the impact of the focus on sterilisation on the Mother and Child Health programme. Women were often at the forefront of families’ attempts to negotiate the Emergency’s many coercive measures. As one man put it, because of the financial pressures authorities placed on his family ‘my wife had to get sterilised.’

Women were not simply victims of the Emergency’s repressive measures, nor symbols utilised by the Congress’s pro-Emergency narratives. Women were active in resistance and organised protests against the Emergency. Underground literature reveals glimpses of this recording how in December 1975, Jayawantiben Mehta, Ahilya Rangnekar and Kamal Desai led groups of women protestors in Mumbai as part of an organised Satyagraha (non-violent resistance) campaign. Documentation from Maharashtra’s prisons shows that state authorities there arrested over 500 women during this period for such activities. Once in prison, women cultivated lively cultures of resistance, continuing to protest and maintaining connections with the underground resistance movement. Those who escaped arrest, such as teacher and later Janata Party Secretary Pushpa Bhave, continued to organise protests and shelter those participating in underground resistance in their own homes.

The Janata Government that took office in March 1977 had the lowest number of women in parliament. As feminist activist and scholar Dr Ranjana Kumari, who was active in underground activism as a student in Delhi, told me in an interview, ‘there were a lot of women who were very, very active’, but ‘they were all pushed aside post-Emergency… so many of them not even recognised, not even written about, it is sad’. This marginalisation of women in post-Emergency politics has contributed to the absence of their voices and stories from this history. My doctoral research begins to address this gap, but forty-two years on, there is still much work to be done.

Gemma Scott completed an AHRC funded PhD at Keele University in 2018. Her research examines the history of India’s State of Emergency (1975-1977), focusing particularly on women’s activism during this period and women’s experiences of Emergency measures. In 2015, she was an AHRC International Placement Scheme Fellow at the Library of Congress, Washington DC, and in 2016/17 she held a Scouloudi Foundation Doctoral Fellowship at the Institute of Historical Research, University of London. She is currently working as Engagement, Partnerships and Impact Development Officer at Keele University.

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The #MeToo movement, intersectionality, and its implications for Dalit women

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The phrase ‘Me Too’ originated with Tarana Burke, an African American civil rights activist, to raise awareness of the magnitude of sexual harassment and assault among women of colour.  Yet the recent upsurge in its use, and the face of the Hollywood movement, has been spearheaded by Western (and mostly white) celebrities.

Their campaigning has undoubtedly exposed the severity of sexual harassment in the film industry, but it has raised some troubling questions about the influence of race on perceptions of violence and the granting of support to its victims.

These questions have opened a vital dialogue about the importance of intersectionality in the feminist movement and of making space for women from vulnerable minorities who face discrimination on multiple axes.#MeToo revealed the everyday (and sadly unexceptional) nature of sexual harassment, whilst providing women with a safe platform to voice their experience, without having to disclose explicit details.

Yet for many women, including those living in stigmatised Dalit (‘Untouchable’) communities in postcolonial India, this sort of platform remains largely unavailable. Their low status in the caste system and position within economically impoverished communities exacerbates their vulnerability to severe discrimination. The small distance separating women from their attackers, and from the violent repercussions of men surrounding them, further restricts their ability to seek support and refuge.

Notions of purity are essential to the caste system and rest exclusively on female behaviour, marriage practices and reproduction. Transgressions from social norms frequently lead to the gendered humiliation of Dalit women, which presents a means of collectively punishing the family and wider community. [1] This ranges from verbal abuse and harassment, to violent physical and sexual assault.

The distance separating Dalit communities from caste Hindus and Muslims makes them easily identifiable, and they often become the sites of violence. A letter sent to the secretary of the Home Department of Bombay in 1928 outlines the violence inflicted on a group of Dalits within their own village, as punishment for refusing to continue customary ‘untouchable’ practices. [2]

Historians like Nicholas Dirks have done much to emphasise the role played by colonial administration in the construction of the caste system. Vast ethnographic volumes and official censuses were produced for the colonial government, categorising groups according to their perceived varna status. By doing this, the British imprisoned their Indian subjects into castes, whilst largely granting political representation to higher caste groups that controlled access to material resources. [3]

Historian Rupa Viswanath, in particular, has documented the increasing influence of ‘untouchability’ in the public consciousness since the late nineteenth century. [4] Such narratives demonstrate the historical construction of caste and lend understanding to the problems afflicting Indian society today. The use of caste in the Census of India was withdrawn by 1931, but its rigid hierarchical organisation continues to influence discriminatory practices against lower caste groups. [5] Dalit communities remain bound to the bottom of caste and class hierarchies, separated both spatially and economically from caste Hindu villages.

The denial of basic resources such as water requires Dalit women to leave their homes to provide for their families in a way that upper caste women avoid. [6] Without access to toilet facilities, they are forced to defecate openly, and often at night, away from their homes. The distance this demands leaves them vulnerable to humiliation and harassment from upper caste individuals and groups.

Physical and sexual violence against Dalit women is so common place that it receives very little attention. In contrast, cases involving the rape of higher caste and middle class women, such as the Jyoti Singh case in 2012, are given significant attention in international media coverage. This disparity begs a comparison between the influence of racial and caste prejudice in responses to gendered violence.

Utilising a discourse of human rights legislation, academics are beginning to draw comparative histories that categorise caste and race under ‘descent-based discrimination’. [7] This presents a vital development in widening understanding of caste issues by placing them within a global context.

The persecution women face is exacerbated by patriarchal practices within the home. Dalit men often enforce their own superiority within these rigid social hierarchies by subordinating women in their own communities. In interviews conducted with 400 Dalit couples in Tiruppur district, Tamil Nadu, between 2009-2010, over 60% of the women reported high male alcohol consumption and violence. [8]

The complications of reporting sexual violence when it occurs at the intersection of several spheres of loyalty was emphasised in Burke’s original MeToo campaign. African American women were much less likely to report violence committed against them when they risked incriminating men within their already-vulnerable homes and communities. [9] The position of Dalit women presents a similar problem and one that requires a unique human rights discourse.

The rise of international online movements such as #MeToo present a promising shift for women working in established industries. Yet for those trapped at the bottom of caste, class, and gender hierarchies, in economically impoverished communities in postcolonial India, the sentiment of the movement is lost. The violence faced by Dalit women is a relentless, everyday occurrence deeply embedded within the socio-religious framework that dominates Indian society.

Raising awareness of the historical context behind contemporary discrimination is vital. However, more needs to be done to make international women’s movements and the contemporary human rights discourse inclusive for those facing violence and persecution under vastly different circumstances.


Frances Hargreaves is an undergraduate student at the University of Sheffield. Her interests lie in gender history in late colonial and postcolonial South Asia.


[1] Anupama Rao, The Caste Question: Dalits and the politics of modern India (California, 2009), p. 222

[2] Letter available in the India Office Records at the British Library, London. File L/PJ/6/1959.

[3] Nicholas B. Dirks, Castes of Mind: Colonialism and the making of modern India (Princeton, 2001), p. 5

[4] Rupa Viswanath, The Pariah Problem (New York, 2014)

[5] Nicholas B. Dirks, Castes of Mind: Colonialism and the making of modern India (Princeton, 2001), p. 16

[6] Aloysius S.J Iruduyam, Jayshree P. Mangubhai and Joel G. Lee, Dalit women speak out: caste, class and gender violence in India (New Delhi, 2014), p.12

[7] Deepa S. Reddy, ‘The Ethnicity of Caste’, Anthropological Quarterly, Vol. 78, No. 3 (Summer, 2005), pp. 543-584

[8] Nitya Rao, Marriage, Violence and Choice, Gender and Society, Vol. 29 Issue 3 (2015), p. 428


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