ECPR Standing Groups
University of Uppsala, ECPG Conference
11 - 13 June 2015




Women in the Maoist War in India: Two Sides of the Spectrum

Conflict
 
Gender
 
Governance
 
Human Rights
 
India
 
Security
 
Women
 
War
 
Presenter
Pratibha Singh
Willy Brandt School of Public Policy, Universität Erfurt
Authors
Pratibha Singh
Willy Brandt School of Public Policy, Universität Erfurt

Abstract
The increasing support base of women in the lower Maoist ranks has failed to secure the attention it deserves in the Indian security paradigm.The Maoist support is in its declining phase since many men have either lost their lives in the war against the Indian State or have surrendered or have been arrested by the police officers. The Maoists who claim to restore tribal rights have earned further “social acceptability” due to increasing participation of women. Sixty to seventy percent of the lower Maoist cadres now comprise of women who are serving as fresh fodder in the bloody war against the State.
While for many women, the movement seems as a way to free themselves from the shackles of patriarchy,the picture however is not very pleasing. Since its inception, gender equality has remained a second class category and has been subverted by the larger ideals of class equality championed by the movement.
The cases of sexual abuse faced by women both at the hands of Maoists and state security forces are rampant. Since the female body is often bound by the sociocultural norms of “honour” and “dignity”, some women find it difficult to re-integrate into the society after having been abused. For many who surrender to the state after quitting the Maoist movement find it extremely challenging to restore their normal lives. I wish to cover the challenges faced by women from different vantage points, not only within the movement but also where they lack the financial agency and security to lead their lives after their husbands have joined the Maoists or lost their lives.This paper seeks to explore the various facets of lives of women caught in the fire between the Indian state and the Maoists.
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"History is past politics, and politics is past history" - E.A. Freeman


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