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Gender and Nationalism in India


... Abolition of sati following campaign led by Indian Raja Ram Mohan Roy (1774-1833) 1856: Act permitting Hindu widows to remarry 1857: Anglo-Indian War ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Gender and Nationalism in India

Gender and Nationalism in India
  • International Perspectives on Gender
  • Week 11

Structure of lecture
  • Introduction and Context
  • History From Trade to Colony to Nationalism to
  • Colonialism, Nationalism and the Woman Question
  • Womens Participation in Indian Nationalism
  • Conclusions

  • 3 million square kms
  • 1.15 billion people
  • (2010)
  • 1947 - independence
  • Biggest ever colony
  • 1947 Partition India
  • and Pakistan
  • 1971 independence
  • for Bangladesh

  • Multi-faith society
  • Hinduism gt50
  • Hindu caste system a
  • form of social stratification
  • with castes hierarchically
  • organized and separated
  • from each other by rules
  • of ritual
  • purity.

Brief history from trade to colony
  • Concentrate on colonial and post-colonial periods
  • How did India become a British colony?
  • How did Indians organise for independence?
  • How did Indian womens legal status change
  • How did Indian womens movement emerge?
  • 1600 Elizabeth I granted Charter to East India
  • 1700s Company bribing Indian Princes to secure
  • Mid 1700s militarization begins
  • Late 1700s Influence transformed into territory
  • Cross-cultural mixing common
  • 1773 First Governor-General appointed by Britain

  • 1813 78 duty imposed on Indian
  • muslins imported into Britain (against 3.5)
  • 1829 Abolition of sati following
  • campaign led by Indian Raja Ram Mohan
  • Roy (1774-1833)
  • 1856 Act permitting Hindu widows to remarry
  • 1857 Anglo-Indian War large and unsuccessful
    rising against British. End of inter-cultural
  • 1858 India became British Crown Colony
  • De-industrialization, famine, disease
  • (1850 55 depend on agriculture, 192173)
  • 1877 Queen Victoria Empress of India

Rise of Nationalism and Womens Movement
  • 1885 Indian National Congress founded
  • 1891 Age of Consent Bill
  • 1904 First Indian Womens Conference
  • 1906 Muslim League founded
  • 1907 Mass picketing, boycotts
  • 1914-1918 First World War 47,000 Indians
  • killed in service, 65,000 wounded
  • 1915 Mahatma Gandhi entered Indian politics
  • 1916 First Womens University established
  • 1917 Womens Indian Association founded
  • 1919 Government of India Act implemented very
    limited reforms 3 of Indian adults given voting
    rights for Provincial Assembly

  • 1919 Amritsar Massacre 1,500 demonstrators
    shot dead by British troops
  • 1920-22 Non-cooperation campaign led by Ghandi
  • 1922 Ghandi suspended campaign. Tried that same
    year and sentenced to 6 years in prison by
  • 1925 National Council of Women in India founded
  • 1927 Simon Commission on reforms boycotted by
  • 1928 Congress publishes report on
  • 1930-1935 Satyagraha campaign, Salt March,
    Gandhi arrested again
  • 1931 Ghandi released and suspended campaign to
    attend 2nd Round Table Conference to discuss
    dominion status

What was Satyagraha?
  • Campaign of non-violent civil disobedience
  • Boycotting of imported goods
  • Self-reliance hand-weaving cloth
  • Khadi a symbol of nationalism
  • Non-payment of taxes
  • Marches and demonstrations
  • Translates as Truth-Force

Ongoing Struggles
  • 1932 Civil disobedience resumed
  • 1934 All India Womens Conference demanded
    reform of Hindu personal law
  • 1935 Government of India Act condemned by
    Congress and womens organisations
  • 1939-1945 Second World War, 2.5 million Indians
    fought, 24,000 killed
  • Ghandhi split with Nehru
  • and led 3rd non-violence
  • campaign

Towards Religious Divide
  • 1940 Muslim League under Jinnah
  • calls for separate Muslim state in
  • Lahore Resolution

P from Punjab A from Afghania K from Kashmir I S
from Sind Tan from Baluchistan (plus Bengal
Assam) A N
Independence Partition
  • 1942 India offered, and refuses, dominion status
  • Quit India movement
  • 1946 New Labour Government in Britain starts
    preparing India for independence
  • 1946-7 Increasing inter-religious violence
  • 1947 Mountbatten appointed as last Viceroy,
    independence planned for June 1948
  • Independence brought forward to August 1947
  • 37 days to decide line of partition
  • 7.5 million Muslims moved from India to Pakistan
  • 5.5 million Hindus moved from Pakistan to India

Nehru and Mountbatten at Indian independence, 1947
Mass Migration
Celebrating Indian Independence Day
Partition Before and After
British India
India following Partition and independence of
Colonialism, Nationalism and the Woman Question
  • British Policies on Gender Equality
  • Emphasise Indian womens subordination to portray
    India as backward and unfit for self-rule
  • Present British rule as essential to save Indian
  • Actual British record suggests full gender
    equality never envisaged matrilineal family
    undermined judicial system sought to impose
    moral constraints of upper-caste women on all
    Indian women
  • Highlighting gender inequality was about
    legitimating continued colonial rule more than
    about helping women

  • Indian Policies on Gender Equality
  • Only when India governed itself could womens
    position be improved
  • Problem was state structures, not male power
  • Early campaigns for women led by Indian men
  • By early 20th century Indian women organising and
    linking cause to nationalism (reduced opposition)
  • Womens movement led by MC and took up MC issues
    not representing all Indian women
  • Supporting womens suffrage was way for
    nationalists to claim moral high ground
  • Full gender equality in family never envisaged by
    male nationalists

Womens Participation in Indian Nationalism
  • Indian women played important roles in
    nationalist movement, both in domestic and public
  • Nationalist movement constructed women in
    particular ways
  • Nurturers of nation raising patriotic children,
    doing without men, weaving cloth, representing
    the new woman but focussed on home and family,
    some hiding weapons and pamphlets
  • Saviours of nation Stepping into mens shoes,
    demonstrating, boycotting, guerilla warfare for a
  • Many women entered the public sphere for the
    first time

Women in the Quit India Movement
  • British influence began with East India Company
    in the 1600s and shifted from trade to direct
    colonial rule
  • Colonization brought under-development and
  • British response was to concede as little as
    possible and try to crush resistance
  • The Woman Question was central notwithstanding
    well established Indian womens movement from
    19th century British claimed only they could save
    Indian women nationalists claimed only
    independence would help but didnt envisage full
    equality for New Woman
  • Women were central to Gandhis Satyagraha
    campaign, domestic sphere was politicized and
    some accessed public sphere, but often with
  • Independence in 1947 brought Partition what did
    it bring for Indian women?