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

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Three-Dimensional Family

Empirical research on the family has largely concentrated on kinship patterns, modes of household organisation, patterns of inheritance, and practices of nurturance. Contemporary social movements, on the other hand, have underscored the subservience of nurturance to the hierarchies of gender in family households in India. In this complex location of the family, this article seeks to map a three-dimensional view that cuts across discourses and disciplines and underscores a multilayered practice of sociology in order to evolve a more nuanced understanding of the family.

Social Institutions and Development Challenges

A recent seminar in Mumbai attempted to adjudge the direction of change in existing social institutions and those established after independence, as well as the obstacles to forming effective social institutions in the country. In spite of the disheartening picture that emerges, of an iniquitous process in terms of development and empowerment, there are hopeful signs of fruitful alliances in various segments of society as well as of audible articulation of alternatives.

On the Trail of 'Missing' Indian Females

This paper seeks to explain the century-long trend of falling proportion of females in the Indian population. In the first part, some clues to the puzzle are unearthed by identifying the age groups, regions and social groups of the estimated 21 million females gone 'missing' between 1901 and 1991. In particular, it is shown that overtime there has been a convergence of the sex ratios of adults and children, and female-male ratios declined in regions and social groups where the adult sex ratios were substantially higher than the child sex ratios. In the first half of the last century, the overall sex ratio declined because of the decline at adult ages, especially at age 40 and over. After independence, the decline has been more concentrated at ages under 15. However, census data should be interpreted with caution because improving quality of age data on children can produce a spurious trend of falling sex ratios at certain childhood ages. In the light of these disclosures, the second part of the paper reviews the plausible explanations for the long-term trend of falling female-male ratio in India.

Gender in Feminist Theory

Gender by V Geetha; Theorising Feminism Series, Stree, Kolkata, 2002; pp xvi + 149, Rs 175.

Honour, Gender and the Legend of Meera Bai

The 'Rajput' period in Indian history represents that interlude which evolved beliefs and practices that endowed a distinctive character to female honour - which linked the purity and honour of the clan itself with women's sexuality. The story of Meera Bai presents in a way the most flagrant violation of this Rajput notion of dishonour. This essay probes at the contradictions that Meera Bai embodies. Hers was a rebellion against conventional restrictive norms that sought to regulate and control women's lives, and Meera was condemned by feudal society for such acts of deviation, yet Meera still remains honoured and revered and till date survives in the cultural consciousness of the people.

Feminist Theorising and Politics

 Gender and Politics in India , Nivedita Menon (ed); Oxford University Press, New Delhi, pp 539, Rs 650.
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