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Gandhi’s Women Satyagrahis: Why do they matter in studying contemporary social-political trends?

A talk by Dr Meenal Shrivastava

Dr Meenal Shrivastava, author of Amma's Daughters (Athabasca University Press, 2018) will talk about her research into women activists associated with Gandhian mass anti-colonial movement in India.

Event details

In 1930, during Mahatma Gandhi led Civil Disobedience movement in India, 17000 out of 80,000 political prisoners were women and children. Despite such an unprecedented level of political participation, the nature and scale of ordinary women’s role remains invisible within most Indian historiographical traditions, which rarely venture beyond mentioning a handful of women leaders with famous last names. In the past few decades, there has been a huge uptake in the critiques of women in the subaltern project. These works, nevertheless, remained largely uninterested in women nationalists. Consequently, the presence, voices, and agency of ordinary women in the various battles for freedom and equality remain unaccounted for. Using the findings of an archival research which informed my recent book (Amma’s Daughters: A Memoir (AUP, 2018)), my talk will highlight some of the factors that have led to this glaring omission and argues for reclaiming the role of ordinary women in disparate history writing traditions. Revealing the diverse nature and the substantial scale of women’s involvement in social/political change is important not only to gain a fuller understanding of human history, but also to counter persistent gender inequality in contemporary society. To this end, I apply the social history approach of subaltern studies, and highlight the importance of archival research and individual narratives to bridge the expanding gulf between the histories of peoples and states.


XFI Conference Room 1