Survival and Emancipation

Notes from Indian Women's Struggles

Brinda Karat

Foreword by Aijaz Ahmad


Three Essays Collective, New Delhi, 2005

xx+294 pages

5.5 x 8.5 inches

Price INR 300
Book Club Price INR 210

"It is that rare book, wise and modest, which informs, instructs, inspires – but with the lightest of touch. Realistic enough to know that for the vast majority of women in India the struggle is for sheer survival against all odds; visionary enough to know that the battle for survival itself shall not be won without winning the battle for emancipation from all kinds of oppression and exploitation. At the heart of that battle for emancipation in our country are the women of our villages and our working classes. This book is written from their standpoint." – Aijaz Ahmad

This is a comprehensive book on the wide ranging concerns of the women’s movements in India from a left perspective. The author’s active involvement in the women’s struggles adds to the strength of her narrative. It weaves together experiences and critical observations to create a work of great theoretical and practical import. It should be of great value to those interested in women’s studies and the general studies on South Asia. It contains a wealth of information on women’s lives and their multiple struggles.


Foreword by Aijaz Ahmad


I Multiple Struggles

  • The Multiple Struggles of Women
  • Globalizing Resistance Against Globalisation
  • Socialism and Women’s Emancipation

II Globalisation and Survival Issues

  • Neo-Liberal Agendas and Rural Women’s Concerns
  • Globalization and Women’s Work in Non-Agricultural Sector
  • Fighting for a Basic Human Right
  • For an Alternative Food Policy
  • The Feminisation of Poverty in Bihar
  • Budgeting Women Out in the Year of Empowerment
  • Gender Budgeting
  • No Jobs Ahead

III On Political Participation

  • Some Issues Concerning Women’s Reservation Bill
  • Reservation Rites – Women as Political Extras
  • OBCs, Minorities and the Women’s Bill
  • Biology, Ideology and Women in Politics
  • Vote for Policies, Not Gender
  • Women Chief Ministers
  • National Commission, or the National Omission of Women?

IV Communalism and Women

  • On the Uniform Civil Code
  • The Hedgewar Rekha for Women
  • Democracy on Trial – Gujarat Sends Alarm Bells Ringing
  • Dangerous Experiments
  • Apologise or Go
  • Investigation as Collusion
  • Kanpur – BJP Government to Blame

V Violence Against Women

  • Liberalisation, Communalism and Struggle Against Violence
  • On Women’s Unity and Citizenship Rights
  • Against the Politics of Terror
  • Remembering the Melavalavu Six
  • Delivering Anything but Justice
  • Some Issues in the Struggles Against Witch Hunting
  • Price of Honour
  • Dowry Related Violence
  • Domesticating Women the Saffron Way
  • Coercive Family Planning
  • Planning vs. Population Control
  • RU-486

VI A Personal Remembering

  • A Personal Remembering – MH, 1963-662

Aijaz Ahmad

Aijaz Ahmad is one of India's best-known Marxist scholars. His best-known books include In Theory: Classes, Nations, LiteraturesLineages of the Present: Ideological and Political Genealogies of Contemporary South Asia, and, from LeftWord Books, Iraq, Afghanistan and the Imperialism of Our Time.

Brinda Karat

Brinda Karat is a member of the Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist). She was the General Secretary of the All India Democratic Women's Association (AIDWA) (1993-2004), and a member of the Rajya Sabha (2005-2011). She is the author of Survival and Emancipation: Notes from Indian Women's Struggles (New Delhi 2005).