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

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Avenging Angels and Nurturing Mothers

Women in Hindu Nationalism

Feminists who have argued for the primacy of women's identity and solidarity have been presented with a dilemma with the rise of women's militancy in the Hindu Right. This paper, through an exploration of the role of the Sevika Samiti and the Durga Vahini in creating the militant cadre of women, contends that gender identity does not exist as primordially but is invented, created, resisted and subverted at the fulcrum of multiple identities. The entire oeuvre of practice, both discursive and material - the imagery of Bharat mata, the valiant historical figures and subservient mythical wives - all allow women to become avenging angels in moments of crisis. When these moments ebb away, they return to the mode of nurturing mothers and obedient wives.

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