Religion, Fertility and Women’s Status in India
Authors:Patricia Jeffery & Roger Jeffery
Publisher:Three Essays Collective-Delhi
About the Book
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 marginalization, for example in relation to health services and to education. These revised and updated essays address these general issues through the examples of fertility, women’s status, and the obstacles to movements that might redress these problems.
About the Author
Patricia Jeffery & 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).