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

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Women Framers of the Constitution

From Subjects to Sovereign Authors of the Nation

Founding Mothers of the Indian Republic: Gender Politics of the Framing of the Constitution by Achyut Chetan, Cambridge University Press, 2022; pp 364, `1,074 (hardcover).

The present work by Achyut Chetan is a recent addition to the domain of the historiography of the Indian Constitution. It marks a sharp departure from the existing corpus of literature as it weaves the narrative of Constitution-making as the first act of nation-building from a gendered lens. In so doing, it has evoked the voices of women framers of the Constitution, delineating the significant contributions they made in shaping it. Problematising the import of the vocabulary of Founding Fathers, as a group of significant men, the nation builders, from the American tradition, Chetan uncovers the invisibility of Indian women who played a significant role in making the Constitution in public and academic discourse. The most critical intervention of the author remains his argument that apart from the mainstream archival source, that is, Constituent Assembly Debates (CAD), the personal letters, petitions, general public speeches on various other platforms, memoranda drafted by the organisations the women framers were part of, should be assessed and read together with the CAD to establish the political and social imagery of women framers and also their role as the Founding Mothers of the nation.

The book, divided into seven chapters, with an introduction and a conclusion, presents crucial axes to locate and probe the agency of women authors of the Constitution of India.

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Published On : 9th Mar, 2024

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