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9780197567227

Marginalized, Mobilized, Incorporated Women and Religious Nationalism in Indian Democracy

by
  • ISBN13:

    9780197567227

  • ISBN10:

    0197567223

  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2023-05-23
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press

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Summary

How has the participation of women in Hindu nationalist politics in India changed over time? More broadly, what has their changing participation meant for women, Hindu nationalism, and Indian democracy?

In Marginalized, Mobilized, Incorporated, Rina Verma Williams places women's participation in religious politics in India into historical and comparative perspective through a focus on the most important Hindu nationalist political parties in modern Indian history: the All-India Hindu Mahasabha (HMS) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). She compares three critical periods to show the increasing involvement of women in Hindu nationalist politics over time. In its formative years in the early 1900s, the HMS marginalized women; in the 1980s, the BJP began to mobilize them; and in the contemporary period, as the BJP returned to power in 2014, it has incorporated women into its structures and activities. Williams contends that the incorporation of women into Hindu nationalist politics has significantly advanced the BJP's electoral success compared to prior periods when women were either marginalized or mobilized in more limited ways. For the BJP, women's incorporation works to normalize religious nationalism in Indian democracy; however, incorporation has not been emancipatory for women, whose participation in BJP politics is still predicated on traditional gender ideologies that tether women to their social roles in the home and family.

Drawing on significant new data sources, Williams includes interviews with key BJP leaders, visual campaign materials, and an examination of major campaign events to construct an unmatched before-and-after view of India's watershed 2014 elections. Given that the BJP is one of the most dynamic religious/ethno-nationalist parties in the world at present, Williams' account of how it incorporated masses of women into its coalition is essential reading for scholars and students interested not just in India, but in the relationship between gender and right-wing populist politics globally.

Author Biography


Rina Verma Williams is Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Cincinnati, where she is also Affiliate Faculty in Asian Studies and Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies. She teaches and researches in the areas of gender and identity politics; religion, law, and nationalism;
democracy and politics in developing countries; and South Asian and Indian politics. She has published extensively on these topics and is especially interested in the role of the state and democracy in the social and political construction of gendered identities. Her first book, Postcolonial
Politics and Personal Laws, examined how religious laws affected ethnic conflict in India.

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