Gendering Minorities: Muslim Women and the Politics of Modernity explores the politics of framing Muslim women’s identity in India. Against the backdrop of colonial modernity, nationalist movements and post-Independence dialogues, it provides details of the ‘feminist enterprises’ that Muslim women in Kerala were involved in at several historical junctures.
Examining Muslim women’s negotiations with their cultural and religious identities, the author also analyses the exclusion and homogenisation that did not allow them to be viewed as active political agents. Through oral narratives, folk songs, journal entries, little magazines and historical documents, the chapters address the subjectivity of Muslim women in Kerala through their participation in diverse fields such as religion, governance, sufism, and in early twentieth-century reform movements in Kerala.
The author also examines the popular novel Barsa by Khadija Mumtas in the context of discourses on Islam in Kerala, stating that its construction of the Muslim woman as defined only by Islam is problematic. Through her engagement with women and Islam in Kerala, the author presents Muslim women as heterogenous subjects of differently conceived ideas of religion, shaped by different variables of time, region, class, ethnicity and culture.
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Messy Mediations: Feminist Politics and Muslim Identity in India