Knowing Kashmiri Women on International Women’s Day

Knowing Kashmiri Women on International Women’s Day

Kashmiri Women, Conflict Situation and the People’s Perspective of Women Empowerment   Adfar Shah Prelude If a more active role is assigned to the vital Observation technique and methodologically designed field studies are given a preference and sufficient time with proper follow-ups, the facts thus far established on Kashmir will automatically turn to half- truths! On the gender issue in Kashmir valley, though a great deal of literature has been produced but hardly any use of varied models and approaches of fact collection have been employed; rather thereseems to have been the incorporation of a unique mode though with several approaches but never juxtaposed against each other for maximum effect! Though there are ample ethnographic studies in existence as well, however there are not ethnographers but the enemies of ethnography-the methodology of direct observation. We need a deconstruction approach towards most of the gender discourses on Kashmir in order to get a fresh and realistic perspective. Introduction The world is still trying to do away with the burden of gender discrimination, gendered violence and exploitation of women besides the abhorrent issues of caste, religion, colour, class. Women are still the most disadvantaged segment of the world population, though efforts to alleviate the many ills that beset them, are on everywhere, in right earnest! However, acknowledging the fact that mainstreaming the gender and accomplishing the transformation process/achieving women’s emancipation is not a one day jo, this is an uphill task requiring immense and unswerving devotion and perseverance. This paper deals with  the question of the politics and politicization of women empowerment as a slogan and discusses the perceived empowerment as a local narrative beyond any feminist tendencies among women at the micro-level, with a special reference to Kashmiri women. The paper conceptually deliberates upon the women’s understanding of empowerment and realization of a viable social identity/identity at home against the grand theories of gender discrimination and feminism. It utilizes the people’s as well as women’s ‘thinking of being’ empowered against the labels of disempowerment and worthlessness, devoid of dignity. Amongst the myriad interpretations of empowerment, the paper discloses the never before exposed dimension of women’s sense of empowerment that is quite contrary to the conventional...

Women and the Wind of Change

Women and the Wind of Change

Book Review by Nikita Mandhani Author: Dr. Vinita Kaul  The women of India have witnessed both minor and major transformations in their status and position over times immemorial. Many books have been written on the subject of Women and a plethora of women issues and movements brought forth for their resolution. But, Dr. Vinita Kaul handles an extensive array of women related discussions in this book that was first published in the year 2000. ‘Women and the Wind of Change’ extends to roughly 500 pages that will compel you to picture the conditions of women from prominent old days of Sati, extreme prejudice and conservatism to the era of developments and enhancements that came about as an effort of some great leaders and the common populace. What I like the most about her writing is that it is simplistic and undeviating in its approach and comprises of comprehensive descriptions concerning subjects varying from the part of women in the freedom movement to the augmentation of female education and employment. Kaul tries to draw attention to the ancient practices of purdah, child-marriage, pitiable dealing of widows and the pivotal role of men like Raja Ram Mohan Roy, Swami Vivekanand and Mahatma Gandhi in this struggle for women’s equality. The book covers particulars of efforts carried out by Margaret Cousins and Annie Besant along with organizations like the Indian Women’s Association, the All India Women’s Conference etc. Thus, what this book provides you with is a thorough historical background ranging up to the year 2000 mentioning facts that are commonly unfamiliar or neglected. There are full-fletched chapters on Women’s education, empowerment, employment, the inheritance laws, the crimes that they face, the constitutional rights that they own, their position in the politics of India, health issues, gender bias, women’s services in the Armed forces, the tale of the Dalit women, various NGOs and reforms and the rising status of women in different realms. It cites examples of various striking incidents and events imperative to the women’s circumstances and quotes statements from different people at diverse levels to portray the opinions and views of the masses. What’s remarkable is the technique in which the author analyzes the past...

Women’s Day: Let Us Think Positive Today – Adfar Shah

Women’s Day: Let Us Think Positive Today – Adfar Shah

Are women really so disempowered the way we are discussing today on Women’s Day? I think ‘not’. Or is it their sense of internalization of violence, self domestication and psyche of being a weaker sex that has rendered them confused? I think ‘yes’. The term Empowerment or equality holds different meanings to different people and is dependent on people’s ways of interpretation. However, it is mostly the academic and political domains that over-exaggerate and represent gender issues in a more belligerent format. I think we have lost the real vision of understanding both the women suffering and their empowerment because we always compare more than conceptualize the various and distinct contexts of their empowerment and mere imitation to us is almost synonymous to development or women’s being at par either with men or western women. An important perspective of women’s self evaluation, perception of self-satisfaction and self actualization is still missing in the dominant gender discourses. To a larger section of the populace and so called social analysts, rural or tribal women are disempowered perhaps because they do not go to beauty parlors every week or attend meetings or conferences but lie at home, rare cattle, work in fields, take care of children, or do not know how to prepare ice creams or foreign recipes, etc,. A researcher on women on finding women working in fields in villages, abruptly concludes that they are slaves, made to work by men, lack government jobs, are illiterate and thus disempowered and disadvantaged, etc, ignoring the fact that wonen keep on motivating their family members to work hard for the family’s progress.The basic facts remain hidden like the fact of the people’s sense of empowerment in different contexts and geographies, the sense and sprit of coexistence and division of labour among people, women’s own sense of empowerment and their consciousness of responsibility towards home, culture of work and hard work among women, women’s working alongside men in fields also means equality to them. The so called revolution/delusion of igniting women against men or awakening them to strive for their rights was feminism that even attacked the institutions of motherhood and marriage, is now breathing its last. Even those...

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