Articulating the Major Issues of Gender History in the Context of Ancient India: A Review of the Limitations and Scope of Further Research

  • Anjana M Nair
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  • Anjana M Nair

    Student at Department of History, Hindu College, Delhi University, India.

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This paper tries to examine the complex relationship of gender with women’s agency, labour, familial institutions, property relations, violence and religion . It also tries to accentuate issues pertaining to the gendered notion of technology and colonial constructs, formation of gender differences through ideologies and lastly, the intersection of gender and caste. Recent researches have tried to trace both positive and negative connotations of women’s agency and women’s competence to ‘bargain with patriarchy’ within an authoritarian patriarchal regime. There is an undercurrent of violence against women and instances of forced compliance which reflect the patriarchal anxieties of the normative traditions that in turn occupy an uneasy boundary between the respective logics of women's consent and resistance, thus calling paternalistic patriarchy to account. The aim is to locate women’s voices or the lack of these therein in patriarchal elitist textuality by being wary of the objectives of these compositions, implied audience and modes of transmission. The major aim of this paper is to trace the limitations of early scholarship on gender by interlacing it with newer, modified arguments as correctives in the study of gender history, the major argument being that the working of patriarchies in the daily lives of women point to the need to explore plurality and to strive towards finding a fresh perspective on women and gender issues in Ancient India. How modern constructs of ancient womanhood affect our thought process needs to be explored with an inter-connectedness that needs to be substantiated, qualified, refined and contested for a meaningful understanding of gender relation themes, some of which remain relatively unexplored to this day.


Research Paper


International Journal of Law Management and Humanities, Volume 4, Issue 4, Page 4056 - 4067


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This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution -NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0) (, which permits remixing, adapting, and building upon the work for non-commercial use, provided the original work is properly cited.


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