ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Khap Panchayats, Sex Ratio and Female Agency

While many intelligent reasons have been proffered for the recent resurgence of khap panchayats in Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh and their actions vis-à-vis self-choice marriages, two very important aspects of the phenomenon need to be highlighted. The first is the impact of the abysmal sex ratio, which is a result of rampant female sex selective abortions, neglect of girl children and a minuscule but still present female infanticide. The second is that it is only women in this male-dominated society who have publicly stood up to the might of the khap panchayats and are challenging their writ.

Bengali Bridal Diaspora: Marriage as a Livelihood Strategy

While cross-regional and cross-cultural marriages appear to be occurring more often, it is Bengali brides who seem to be migrating to far-flung and culturally strange, rural destinations away from their own homeland. This article uncovers reasons for this bridal diaspora and finds that in West Bengal, a consumption smoothing strategy of the family is to marry one daughter in a socially approved dowry marriage in the state itself and send the rest out as marriage migrants. However, migrating as a bride achieves both marriage and work. Sexual and reproductive labours combine with economic labour, pointing to the increasingly complex forms of migrating in which women are imbricated.

Dispensing with Daughters: Technology, Society, Economy in North India

A study of the micro-level experiences of families in five districts, one each in five states, some of them with the lowest child sex ratios in the country, seeks to explain the complex causes behind the declining ratios by looking at gender and family strategies, shaped by social processes in the urban and rural areas.

Dispensable Daughters and Bachelor Sons: Sex Discrimination in North india

Daughters may not be wanted but daughters-in-law are necessary for family well-being and perpetuation. Similarly, not all sons in the family receive equal treatment and those who are left bachelors suffer a lesser fate. This paper attempts to move beyond currently available explanations of low sex ratios and daughter elimination. While supporting the hypothesis that large peasant castes in the north and north-west practised infanticide, non-marriage of men and polyandry as strategies to control family numbers in relation to available resources, this paper makes three arguments: one, that these strategies occurred together, two, that one needs to go beyond this explanation to understand why daughters were the dispensable ones and, three, that the number of sons wanted was by no means unlimited.

The Last Journey

The very first theme inaugurating any personal narrative of Partition is that of "last journey" that migrants undertook to escape fatal violence. The theme is situated in those critical moments of turbulences and upheavals within families, neighbourhoods and the political leadership that made individuals leave their homes. This article focuses on the "differing" means and modes of transport used by the Hindu and Sikh migrants from West Punjab (now Pakistan) to East Punjab during the Partition displacement. A variety of transport modes were used like foot columns, bullock carts, trucks, private cars, trains and aircraft -of which the fastest and the safest means were seldom available to underprivileged sections. These differing modes are a pointer to the divergent class experiences of Partition displacement, and the way collective memories of cataclysmic events are formed and popularly remembered.

Across-Region Marriages

Given the declining juvenile sex ratio, a further shortfall in marriageable women in the low sex ratio areas of India is a foregone conclusion. What are the 'social' implications of this shortage for both men and women? This paper documents and analyses an unusual response to the shortage of marriageable girls in the North. The need for women, for productive and reproductive purposes, is being addressed through unconventional marriages that are uniting rural, illiterate Indians across boundaries of region, language, religion and even caste.

Making Sikh Women Visible

Relocating Gender in Sikh History: Transformation, Meaning and Identity by Doris R Jakobsh; Oxford University Press, New Delhi, 2003; RAVINDER KAUR Doris Jakobsh

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