India: New academic work on Producing Muslim Womanhood in Colonial Bengal

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The near-invisibility of Muslim women, except as victims, underpins the construction of the ideal citizen-subject in late colonial India.
In Visible Histories, Disappearing Women, Mahua Sarkar examines how Muslim women in colonial Bengal came to be more marginalized in nationalist discourse than their Hindu counterparts.
She considers how their near-invisibility, except as victims, underpins the construction of the ideal citizen-subject in late colonial India. She argues that the nation-centredness of history as a discipline, and the intellectual politics of liberal feminism, have together contributed to the production of Muslim women as the oppressed, mute, and invisible ‘other’ of the normative modern Indian subject.

Drawing on extensive archival research and oral histories, Sarkar traces Muslim women as they surface and disappear in colonial, Hindu, nationalist and liberal Muslim writings. This compelling study concludes by tracing the complex links between past constructions of Muslim women, current representations, and the violence against them in contemporary India.

Published by Zubaan Books Publisher, New Delhi: www.zubaanbooks.com/zubaan_books_details.asp?BookID=125