Dr Padma Anagol - BA, MA, MPhil, PhD (Lond.)
Centre for the History of Religion in Asia (CHRA)
The West of England and South Wales Women’s History Network (2010 – present)
Families, Identities and Gender Research Network (FIG).
Gender and Sexualities Research Cluster (SHARE).
Title of Project:
“Indian Women Patriots on the Colonial State, Race and the Political Economy of Nationalism.”
Key concepts such as ‘race’, ‘caste’, ‘community’ and ‘nation’ have attracted the attention of scores of historians, sociologists, anthropologists and literary critics working on unveiling the complexities of Indian history and society for over several centuries. Whether elite or subaltern, the writing of modern Indian history has been largely viewed and framed as a masculine enterprise. The fact of large scale female illiteracy in the nineteenth century combined with the silence of the imperial archive have also provided convenient defences for male scholarship in ignoring gendered and women’s perspectives on a range of issues that have affected the making of Indian societies and the unfolding of historical processes on major events and phenomena of modern India. This monograph hopes to address such lacunae with the aid of micro histories left by Indian women in the vernacular and in indigenous archives. This study makes claims for being an all-India one and my linguistic skills in three major modern Indian languages (Marathi and Hindi – Devanagari script) and Kannada (Dravidian script) will aid immensely in keeping to the all-India flavour of the book. In providing women’s viewpoints the book will illumine the growth of caste based political organisation in the twentieth century and the origins of fundamentalist movements; plug into the largely abandoned debates of de-industrialisation and impact of colonialism on the Indian economy; understand more clearly how and why Indians responded to European theories of race and ‘Aryanism’; throw light on indigenous forms of state and governance prior to the coming of the Raj. In doing so, the monograph will re-consider much of the received wisdom on the key categories of ‘race’, ‘nation and nationalism’ and ‘caste and community whilst providing fresh insights and resolutions for the more vexatious and continuing debates on the rise of Hindu fundamentalism in India.