Beyond the Private World explores the status of Indian women, through the ages, in the framework of the private-public dichotomy, as reflected in their lives. Keeping in mind the Habermasian concept of 'public sphere' as a reference point, yet mindful of the incongruity between the Eurocentric ideas and the Indian reality this collection of essays appraises the position of Indian women in the pre-modern period with reference to tradition. It also provides glimpses of the various social movements and struggles to overcome patriarchy as well as the nationalist/democratic movements in colonial and post-colonial India that filtered into the 'private sphere' and transformed it.
The book analyses the connection between Indian modernity and women's changing position since the colonial period. It also seeks to stress the fact that the trajectory of Indian women's participation in the public sphere is profoundly influenced by the tensions of differential gender relations within the social groups — such as caste, class, religion, community and tribe. By exploring the continuities and changes, the book argues that mounting gender violence thwarts gender equity which in turn necessitates collective movements through well-built women's agencies.
Subrata Bagchi is Associate Professor of Political Science at Kidderpore College, University of Calcutta. His doctoral work focuses on the problems of urban development, governance and politics in the small towns of India. The focal area of his current studies is gender and different human right related issues of the marginal population of India. He is the editor of the on-line journal Inclusive.