Confronting Saffron Demography Religion, Fertility, and Women's Status in India

 
9788188789382: Confronting Saffron Demography Religion, Fertility, and Women's Status in India

Contents: 1. Saffron Demography and the Common Wisdom 2. 'We Five, Our Twenty-Five': Myths of Population out of Control in Contemporary India 3. A Uniform Customary Code? Marital breakdown and women's economic entitlements 4. Engendering communalism: Everyday and Institutional aspects of gender and community. Drawing on over 20 years of field-level research in rural Uttar Pradesh, these essays challenge Hindutva myths about Muslims in India. Communalist discourses often portray Muslims as 'backward' because of purdah, polygamy, illiteracy, high fertility and low women's status. The authors highlight the falsity and perniciousness of such negative stereotypes. Pointing to the danger of reifying and rigidifying these contrasts between Hindus and Muslims, they draw out parallels and similarities between them, for example in domestic and gender politics, to argue that Muslim women are not especially oppressed. Moreover, those differences that remain are compounded and exaggerated by Muslims' minority position in India and their marginalisation, for example in relation to health services and to education. These revised and up-dated essays address these general issues through the examples of fertility, women's status, and the obstacles to movements that might redress these problems.

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About the Author:

Patricia Jeffery and Roger Jeffery are both Professors in Sociology at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, UK. Their recent books include 'Don't Marry Me to a Plowman: Women's Everyday Lives in Rural North India' (Westview Press and Vistaar, 1996) and 'Population, Gender and Politics: Demographic Change in Rural North India' (Cambridge University Press, 1997). Separately they have also published Patricia Jeffery and Amrita Basu (eds) 'Resisting the Sacred and the Secular: Women's Activism and Politicised Religion in South Asia' (Routledge, 1998 and Kali for Women, 1999); Roger Jeffery and Jens Lerche (eds) 'Social and Political Change in Uttar Pradesh: European Perspectives' (Manohar, 2003); and Radhika Chopra and Patricia Jeffery (eds) 'Educational Regimes in Contemporary India' (Sage, 2005).

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