About the Book :
Is it possible to recover the histories of gender for early India? How can gender analyses enrich our understanding of early India today? Drawing upon a range of textual traditions, this unique collection examines the significance of gender in the reconstruction of India’s past. It goes beyond the simple binaries of a ‘high’ or ‘low’ status for women to explore the diversities and complexities of gender relations in early India.
Kumkum Roy draws attention to distinct strategies through which identities of men and women were constituted. She presents a gendered analysis of institutions and processes, ranging from the household to urbanism to renunciatory traditions to show how they remain critical for an understanding of early Indian history. The book also highlights the ways in which rituals were used for socialization as well as evidence for the subversion of the normative traditions.
The author explores classic sastras—Manusmrti and Kamasutra along with a range of Sanskrit, Prakrit, and Pali literature, including texts and inscriptions—as much for what they expressly state as for their implications, tensions, and inconsistencies. She shows how such textual traditions were informed and structured by prevailing notions and conceptions of power.
About the Author :
Kumkum Roy is Professor, Centre for Historical Studies, School of Social Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. Her works include The Emergence of Monarchy in North India (OUP 1994).