Sexuality, Obscenity, Community (Women, Muslims, and The Hindu Public in Colonial India)

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Item Code: NAG085
Publisher: Permanent Black
Author: Charu Gupta
Language: English
Edition: 2018
ISBN: 9788178241180
Pages: 403 (11 B/W Illustrations)
Cover: Paperback
Other Details 8.5 inch X 5.5 inch
Weight 400 gm
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Book Description

About the Book

Charu Gupta shows how gendered notions about women's sexually ere used to pull together a heterogeneous populace into a coherent Hindu community in colonial north India. She traces the deliberations of (largely male) publicists on how to make Hindu women pure on how to distance Hindus from Muslims and on what constitutes Hindu sacredness and purity. She reveals the redefinitions of literature, entertainment, and the domestic area that forged a respectable and singular idea of hinduness, semi-pornographic works and popular culture are examined to reveal the complex and contested terrain of Hindu literature and Hindu identity. Based on a vast number of pamphlets, tracts, newspapers and magazines, and backed by archival data, this book also examines heightened Hindu mobilizations within everyday sites and relationships. It describes attempts to prevent interaction between Hindu women and Muslim men. It shows how polarisations were sharpened between Hindus and Muslims, thereby camouflaging the realty of caste hierarchies. Hindu anxieties about their demographic decline are discussed alongside shifting debates on widow remarriage and stereotypical ideas about Muslims.

About the Author

Charu Gupta teaches History at Delhi University and is internationally recognized for her scholarship on women's issues, Hindi literature, and north Indian communalism.

Note on Transliteration

Hindi words are neither translated nor italicised in the text; most are included in the glossary. Phrases and poems have been italicised and translated in the text. I have not used diacritical marks but have instead transliterated Hindi terms phonetically. The final 'a' has occasionally been dropped, except in words familiar within English usage or Indology, such as dharma, Vaishnava, Krishna, Kayastha, and yavana. Certain words included in unabridged English dictionaries, and the names of organisations, castes and deities, have not been italicised. Translated titles of various Hindi tracts have been given in the bibliography. They are not always exact translations: they state the subject of the tract. Spellings, especially of place names, have been standardised; modern spellings have been used. Thus, Banaras for Benaras, Allahabad for Prayag, Kanpur for Cawnpore, and Mathura for Muttra, except when these appear within quotes or in the actual title of, say, a newspaper, an article or an organisation. When citing the place of publication, modern spellings have mostly been used, though Kashi and Prayag have been retained. In relation to some tracts, the name of the publisher and the number of copies published have been given in footnotes, whenever this seemed relevant. All Vikram Samvat dates have been converted to Roman dates by the standard method of deducting fifty-seven years. All references to archival unpublished documents state the file number first, followed by the year, then other details, and finally the department and location.



  List of Illustrations viii
  Acknowledgements ix
  Note on translation, transliteration orthographyand referencing methods xiii
  Abbreviations xiv
1 Introduction 1
  Women, caste, class, hindu communalism in UP 13
2 Redefining obscenity and aesthetics in print 30
  Colonial perceptions of obscenity 34
  Obscenities in hindu literature 39
  The indigenous elite and literary concerns 39
  Dirty literature: contesting the logic of morality? 49
  Brahmacharya, kaliyug and the advertisement of aphrodisiacs 66
3 Sanitising women's social spaces 66
  Controls over entertainment 85
  The dangers of prostitutes: The moral and urban geographical frameworks of Hindus 108
4 Mapping the domestic domain 123
  Unstable sexualities: The sexual politics of the home 124
  Conjugality and desire: The power of difference 125
  Controversies around some legislative activities on hindu marriage 128
  Fashion, clothes, jewellery, purdah 140
  The devar bhabhi relationship 151
  Education and the fear of reading: stated aims unintended consequences 161
  Gender, health and medical knowledge 176
  From traditional dais to trained midwives 177
  Child care, women's health and indigenouspractices 185
  Plague and women's honour 190
5 The icon of the mother: bharat mata, matri bhasha and gau mata 196
  Mapping the mother/nation: the bharat mata temple at Banaras 198
  Language debates 203
  Hindi as mother 205
  Lewd or chaste, femine or masuline? 206
  The cow as mother 213
6 Us and them : anxious hindu masculinity and the other 222
  From malabar to malkanas: the shuddhi and sangathan movements 223
  Evoking Hindu male prowess, community and nation 230
7 Hindu woman as sister-in-arms 235
  Conceiving the other 239
  Approaching the Muslim woman 239
  Abduction campaigns and the lustful Muslim male 243
  Innovative propaganda manipulation 259
  Hindu women, Muslim men 277
  Regulating women by fracturing shared spaces in every life 268
  Economic and social boycott 273
  Attacking the cult of ghazi mian 281
  Hindu wombs, Muslim progeny: shifting debates on widow remarriage 298
  The problem of widows sexuality 302
  The numbers game 307
8 Some conclusions and beyond 321
  Elopements and conversions: The recuperative possibilities of possible love? 325
  Appendix: Brief background of some Hindi writers and hindu publicists 330
  Glossary 338
  Bibliography 345
  Index 385

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