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

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. Forty to fifty 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 socio-cultural 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 Maoist.

Full Text from Original Source: Institute for Transnational Studies

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