ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Articles by Prem ChowdhrySubscribe to Prem Chowdhry

Urbanism, Consumerism, and Culture

Haryanvi sensibilities have been conspicuous by their absence on the silver screen. For the first time, a credible space is accorded to them in Bollywood cinema through two films—Gurgaon (2015) and NH10 (2015). These two films massively score in their portrayal of the locale, inhabitants, and culture of Haryana. This paper analyses both these films in the context of present-day Haryana to show how they succeed in highlighting the transitional phase and travails of this state.


Masculine Spaces

In rural north India, there are thriving and exclusive all-male spaces in the villages which play an important role in constructing gender identities. These extend from the home to the public domain. Reserved and used almost exclusively by the male population, these are spaces where the power and legitimacy of masculinity are displayed and cemented and where men are at a distinct advantage in terms of deployment of power. Masculinisation of space means an access to and control over resources of various kinds - material, sociocultural, political and ideological. Signifying both the symbolic and the material dimension of male power, these spaces validate men's control at home, in the village, community, and wider society while asserting the caste and class hierarchies which are under attack in post-Independence India. Circulating ideals of gendered separateness, they make the presence of males and the absence of females seem "natural". This masculinisation of spaces goes totally unacknowledged and unchallenged even by those most affected. It has merited little comment, discussion or condemnation from any quarter.

Infliction Acceptance and Resistance

This study seeks to determine the effect of property ownership and economic independence of women on the reduction of violence, especially spousal violence, in rural Haryana - a state well known for its violent past and equally violent present towards women. Based on extensive fieldwork, the paper argues that the rapidly changed and changing political economy of this region has thrown up certain contradictions in society which have come to pose a challenge to the hitherto established cultural norms that decree infliction and widespread acceptance of violence upon women. Through individual life experiences of rural women, it highlights women's understanding of violence, their self-assertion and resistance as well as the importance given by them to different options in handling or containing violence.

Women in the Army

The Indian army continues to define itself along gendered lines. There is a strong belief that combat, by nature, is a male occupation; that the army is a male space and combat the most masculine of all aspects of war. Also, accommodation of women challenges the familiar gender roles in society and their intrusion into the army seems threatening.

Crisis of Masculinity in Haryana

This article engages with the complexity of masculinities in present Haryana, generated by increasing numbers of unmarried, unemployed men as well as elderly men, and the relation this bears to power by uncovering those aspects of political economy in contemporary Haryana that shape these complexities. Operating in the era of new technologies, globalisation and consumerism, this combination is leading to greater aggression and violence, worsening gender equations and encouraging a greater exploitation of other subordinate categories, consolidating repressive social forces and strengthening casteism. Such masculinities also afford an unprecedented role to illegal and unconstitutional bodies like caste panchayats and thereby also strengthen highly regressive trends in society.

Enforcing Cultural Codes-Gender and Violence in Northern India

Enforcing Cultural Codes Gender and Violence in Northern India Prem Chowdhry Inter-caste and intra-caste marriages which infringe cultural norms and customary practices invariably lead to direct violence perpetrated by the male family members on the couple generally and on the girl specially. The author's analysis of this widespread phenomenon in rural north India throws up aspects of caste, class and gender which have a crucial interconnection.

Marriage, Sexuality and the Female Ascetic-Understanding a Hindu Sect

An analysis of the Brahma Kumari sect in its initial years enables us to unravel certain hidden aspects of Sindh society which account for an unprecedented but successful patriarchal attempt to regulate and rest rain female sexuality or stimulate its self- restraint under the all-encompassing claims of reforming society. In the later years, with the coming of the partition and subsequent migration to India, this sect, confronting a greatly changed social milieu, assumed a somewhat different focus and identity. Despite this shifting of emphasis and consequent contradictions, the core doctrine of celibacy has remained and its advocacy of female sexual control continues to find receptive echoes.

High Participation, Low Evaluation-Women and Work in Rural Haryana

Women and Work in Rural Haryana Prem Chowdhry The introduction of wide-ranging agro-economic changes has catapulted Haryana from a subsistence economy into the second richest state in the country. These changes have also affected the role and nature of women's work.

Socio-Economic Dimensions of Certain Customs and Attitudes-Women of Haryana in the Colonial Period

This paper analyses the dominant peasant cultural ethos sanctifying customs and attitudes in relation to women in rural Haryana in the colonial period. In this connection, the role of a reformist movement like the Arya Samaj and of administrative policy decisions which sustained these customs has been explained. The study also highlights the role of the colonial administration in retaining and reinforcing the emergent dominant social ethos of the Haryana peasantry.

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