Author: Wendy Singer
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN/UPC (if available): 0195679008
This book focuses on the Indian tradition, since before independence, of establishing separate electoral constituencies for women. Women have participated in politics through a variety of creative and innovative forms. Wendy Singer demonstrates that using the category of women as a lens through which to view the practices and particularities of elections, can illuminate the whole process in profound and unexpected ways. Singer reveals that far more than simply being markers of democracy, the practice and process of elections are part of an ongoing social drama that re-enacts citizenship. Therefore, the narratives of the women as a special category of citizen are constantly influenced by and influencing the related histories of other social groups—Dalits, minorities, and backwards classes.
A Constituency Suitable for Ladies—derived from the Congress party policy in the 1960s to provide designated seats for women—interrogates the creative practices that have constituted India’s efforts at finding suitable means to assure rights of participation for all citizens. From separate electorates for women and Muslims before independence to the proposed constitutional amendment that would have provided one-third representation to women in parliament and perhaps reservations for backward classes, this book uses the tools of social history to examine the evolution of women as special category in Indian politics.
LIST OF TABLES
LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS
Telling Histories of Women in Elections
Separate Electorates and the Process of Defining a Constituency
The 15 Per Cent Solution: Women as a Social Category in Early Indian Elections
Where One-Third of the Government is Women: The New Panchayats
Manifestos: Defining Issues and Politicians
Rhetoric, Culture, and Elections on the Ground
Candidates, Potential Candidates, and Non-Candidates
The Women’s Bill