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Selective Appropriation of Gender Ideology: Mahila Aghadi of the Farmers’ Movement in Maharashtra (1986–2004)

By D.N. Dhanagare

History and Sociology of South Asia, 8 (2) 2014

The farmers’ movement in Maharashtra was understood as, and identified essentially with, economism—raising demands related to prices of farm produce, inputs and agricultural credit, etc. However, the Shetkari Sanghatana did attempt to go far beyond simple economic demands. It involved women in its numerous agitations—like rasta roko, rail roko, blockade of the Collector’s office at the district and also at local levels between 1980 and 1994. However, the movement sought women’s liberation and gender equity without any cogent critique of patriarchy; instead the agenda document prepared by Joshi reaffirmed its position regarding marriage and family institution as indispensable. Women’s mass mobilisation was thus only an entry point for the Sanghatana into electoral politics that it had eschewed initially. The Sanghatana thus used the agenda of women’ s liberation and empowerment as a sheer token symbolism and women’s mass mobilisation as an instrument of its pragmatic populist politics. While it raised women’s hopes, this strategy left many women activists in total despair

Url:http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/2230807514524046

Courtesy:SAGE

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