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

Urvashi ButaliaSubscribe to Urvashi Butalia

Defend Freedom of Expression

We, the undersigned journalists, writers, historians, and activists from south Asia, are deeply concerned about the use of “contempt of court” law to curb freedom of expression. The conviction and sentencing on 2 December 2014 of Dhaka-based journalist David Bergman by the International Crimes...

Challenging Impunity on Sexual Violence in South Asia

Despite many attempts by women's groups to flag the issues of sexual violence, there still is a legal silence around the question of sexual violence and impunity. The Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act and other extraordinary legislations such as the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act are seemingly "protective" legislations which were put forward by states as necessary for security. In fact, they have been violative of the basic human rights of people in the areas where they are in force. A small group of women activists have initiated a discussion on these extraordinary laws of south Asia which function to create some sort of consent to formal obstructions to justice, and thereby, create a much wider culture of impunity.

Rape Culture

We are outraged and deeply upset at the grotesque sexualised assault on the adivasi woman who was stripped and viciously beaten at a protest demon­ stration by adivasi and tea tribe communi­ ties seeking scheduled tribe status and other political rights by “local” youths in Guwahati on November 24...

Remembering Sudesh Vaid

Her death last year, from cancer, at the age of 61, was a deep political loss that left a personal void and even ended a life-world for many people. Each of us has our private and collective memories of Sudesh, and sorting through the years of friendship, political sharing, the large memories and the small memories, is not an exercise that can be easily undertaken or ever completed.

UCC and Women s Movement

Amrita Chhachhi, Farida Khan, Gautam Navlakha, Kumkum Sangari, Neeraj Malik, Ritu Menon, Tanika Sarkar, Uma Chakravarti, Urvashi Butalia, Zoya Hasan THE Anveshi article (Anveshi Law Committee, is Gender Justice Only a Legal Issue? Political Stakes in the UCC Debate', 8, 1997) criticises tendencies within the 'Indian women's movement' that, in its opinion, have focused very narrowly and exclusively upon legal reform. The main thrust of such reforms, moreover, is described as a monolithicising intention that would like to erase all plurality of caste and community, custom and practice in the name of abstract, universal gender justice, thus denying women as well as a range of marginalised communities the right to autonomy. The universalising tendency of this version of gender justice betrays a biological essentialism that fails to take on board other aspects of women's social existence. Such tendencies are most evident among feminists who, according to Anveshi, are termed as 'upper caste, Hindu and urban' in other words, they share some social characteristics of the hindutva politics that they otherwise criticise. However, presumably because of shared social space, they 'unwittingly' lapse into some of the language and agendas of their political adversaries: the demand for a uniform or gender just civil code would be one such instance, the campaign against obscenity would be another. As examples of such immature and politically naive feminist thinking, Anveshi has singled out Forum against Oppression of Women from Bombay and Working Group on Women's Rights from Delhi.
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