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

Articles By Rowena Robinson

Adivasi Mahasabhas

Adivasi mahasabhas are organised across Assam to politically mobilise the Adivasi communities. The paper argues that in contemporary Assam, Adivasi struggles are not limited to the issues of identity but through the mahasabhas, the student associations are claiming citizenship, economic and constitutional rights. While resisting the larger “Assamese” identity on the one hand, the Adivasi student associations also reproduce prevailing gender inequalities within the movement. The present study analyses the All Adivasi Women’s Association of Assam, which seeks to bring together the issues of women and labour to counter the patriarchy of both trade unions and student movements.

Isolated Complaints Committees

The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 has been translated into policies against sexual harassment in corporations and organisations and in many higher education institutions. This article draws on our joint experiences working on Internal Complaints Committees in HEIs to examine current practices and show the new issues and concerns that have emerged, and how accumulating case law impacts the implementation of the act. We point out some best practices of HEIs to show that despite continuing challenges, ICCs have tried to not only secure justice for survivors of sexual harassment but also created broader support systems for them.

Inhabiting or Interrogating Faith

Against the growing literature on Muslim piety movements, this paper analyses the practices of faith among a young generation of educated middle-class Muslim women in Mumbai in the context of a liberalising economy, which offers them greater employment opportunities and draws them out of the ghettos to work and interact with people of different social and religious backgrounds. The paper shows that these women question and reason with their faith, while the earlier generation abides by a quieter piety. The findings are grounded in Mumbai’s specific history in which the riots of 1992–93 were a defining moment for Muslims. While focusing on everyday religiosity, it also connects with a larger canvas by arguing that piety movements, though located in society, are not unattached from the ways in which states may constitute secularity or define religious freedoms.

Revisiting Communalism and Fundamentalism in India

This comprehensive review of the literature on communalism - and its virulent offshoot, fundamentalism - in India considers the various perspectives from which the issue has sought to be understood, from precolonial and colonial times to the post-Independence period. The writings indicate that communalism is an outcome of the competitive aspirations of domination and counter-domination that began in colonial times. Cynical distortions of the democratic process and the politicisation of religion in the early decades of Independence intensified it. In recent years, economic liberalisation, the growth of opportunities and a multiplying middle class have further aggravated it. More alarmingly, since the 1980s, Hindu communalism has morphed into fundamentalism, with the Sangh parivar and its cultural politics of Hindutva playing ominous roles.