||This biographical article needs additional citations for verification. (September 2012)|
Madhu Purnima Kishwar is an Indian academic, and writer. She is the Senior Fellow at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS), based in Delhi, and the Director of the Indic Studies Project based at CSDS which aims to promote the study of Religions and Cultures in the Indic Civilization”. She studied at Miranda House as well as at Jawahar Lal Nehru University. In 2013, Madhu Kishwar wrote Modinama (Chronicles of Modi) in which she has been critical of the media for their false propaganda about Narendra Modi's role during Gujarat violence 2002 and in its aftermath, Kishwar had earlier been critical of Modi, in the context of the violence.
Editor of "Manushi"
Kishwar is founder editor of Manushi - a Journal about Women published since 1979. It has been described by Amartya Sen as "a pioneering feminist journal", though Kishwar does not accept this political label and is wary of all "Isms. She has explained her reasons for rejecting "ism" labels inan article entitled "Why I do not call Myself a Feminist.
She is Founder President of Manushi Sangathan, registered under the Societies Registration Act, is a forum for research based activist interventions. It works for democratic reforms that will promote greater social justice and strengthen human rights, especially for women. Kishwar’s work with Manushi Sangathan includes:
- Carrying out investigations on violations of human rights of minority communities and right to livelihood of vulnerable communities and occupational groups;
- Advocacy for policy and legal reform to free the livelihoods of the self employed poor from harmful statist controls;
- Provide legal aid for women, including Public Interest Litigation on behalf of vulnerable individuals and groups;
- Making documentary films as part of advocacy campaigns on issues that require serious policy reform;
- Ground level research on the gap between the intent and actual impact of various laws enacted for women’s rights and propose workable laws and policy reform for strengthening women’s rights.
Fighting for the downtrodden
Since the early 1990’s Manushi has been involved in campaigning for economic reforms that will reach the vast majority of our people, the self-employed poor. The hard working traditional producers and entrepreneurs of India have been kept poor through active state interventions that deprive them of their just dues. Through Manushi's research, writings and campaigns Manushi has tried to combat the wrong perception that loosening of government restrictions results in anti-poor policies. Manushi has tried to demonstrate how the still flourishing License-Permit-Raid-Raj continues to keep the livelihoods of the poor in its vicious grip by tying them up in a web of illegality though they are pursuing legitimate and useful occupations.
Manushi's work with street vendors and the cycle rickshaw sector and longstanding engagement with farmers’ movements are all part of a larger endeavour to push for a bottom-up agenda of economic reforms. Kishwar believes that Indian people are perfectly capable of fending for themselves and moving out of the poverty trap if the Government machinery stops harassing them, extracting bribes, depressing incomes and making it impossible to earn an honest living without groveling and other humiliations, including beatings and blackmail.
The social causes she has taken up was opposed by vested interests and she was attacked by anti-social elements several times.
- Zealous Reformers, Deadly Laws: Critical Review of Laws to Strengthen Women’s Rights, Sage Publishers, 2008.
- Deepening Democracy: Challenges of Governance and Globalization in India, Oxford University Press, New Delhi, 2006.
- Rashtriyata ki Chakri Mein Dharm, (Hindi), Vani Prakashan, 2005.
- Off the Beaten Track: Rethinking Gender Justice for Indian Women, Oxford University Press, New Delhi, 1999.
- Religion at the Service of Nationalism and Other Essays, Oxford University Press, New Delhi, 1998.
- The Dilemma and Other Stories by Vijaydan Detha, (Ed) Manushi Prakashan, 1997.
- Himalaya Bachao Andolan ki Do Awazein, Manushi Prakashan, 1993
- Women Bhakta Poets, Lives and Poetry of Women Mystics in India from 6th to 17th Century (Co-edited with Ruth Vanita), Manushi Prakashan, New Delhi, 1989.
- Gandhi and Women, Manushi Prakashan, New Delhi, 1986. (Also published in Telugu).
- In Search of Answers: Indian Women’s Voices from Manushi. (Co-edited with Ruth Vanita), Zed Books, London, 1984. Second edition, Horizon Books, New Delhi, 1990. Third edition, Manohar, New Delhi, 1996. Also published in Japanese by Akashi Shoten, Tokyo, 1990.
- ‘No’ to Zenana Dabbas : Deghettoizing Women’s Politics and Enhancing Their Representation in Legislatures, in “ India’s Political Parties, Readings in Indian Government and Politic” edited by Peter Ronald de Souza.E.Sridharan,Sage Publications, New Delhi 2006
- Gandhi on Women, in “Debating Gandhi - A READER” edited by A. Raghuramaraju, Oxford University Press, New Delhi 2006.
- “Beginning With Our Own Lives: A Call for Dowry Boycott", in "Dowry & Inheritance", edited by Smt. Basu, Women Unlimited & Kali for Women, New Delhi 2005.
- “Rethinking Dowry Boycott", in "Dowry & Inheritance", edited by Smt. Basu, Women Unlimited & Kali for Women, New Delhi 2005.
- “Dowry and Inheritance Rights", in "Dowry & Inheritance” edited by Smt. Basu, Women Unlimited & Kali for Women, New Delhi 2005.
- “Enhancing Women’s Representation in Legislatures: An Alternative to the Government Bill for Women’s Reservation” (with Jayaprakash Narayan, Dhirubhai Sheth & Yogendra Yadav), in "Electoral Reforms in India", edited by Anjoo Sharan Upadhyaya, Concept Publishing Company, New Delhi 2005.
- “The Idea of India - Bollywood Style", in “The India Mosaic: Searching for an Identity”, edited by Bibek Debroy & D. Shyam Babu, Academic Foundation and Rajiv Gandhi Institute for Contemporary Studies, New Delhi, 2004.
- “Arthik Azadi Ka Swawal”, in “Bharat Ka Bhumandalikaran”, (Hindi) edited by Abhay dube, Vani Prakashan, Delhi, 2003
- “Shah bano Ka Mukkadama”, in “Secularism Banam Personal Law”, (Hindi) edited by, Abhay Dube, Vani Prakashan, Delhi 2003
- "Yes to Sita, No to Ram: The Continuing Popularity of Sita in India”. in “Questioning Ramayana”, edited by Paula Richman, University of California Press, USA and Oxford University Press, New Delhi, September 2000
- "Traditional Female Moral Exemplars in India", "Education About Asia”, Vol. 6, No. 3, Winter 2001.
- "Women and Politics: Beyond Quotas”, Economic and Political Weekly,Vol. 31, No. 43, 26 October 1996.
- "Breakdown of Conflict Resolution Mechanisms in Contemporary India". in a symposium on the “Limits of Tolerance” in Seminar, 435, November 1995.
- "The Primacy of Cultural Issues in Manushi", Journal of Culture and Policy, Vol. 6, No. 2, 1994, Institute for Cultural Policy Studies, Australia.
- "Codified Hindu Law: Myth and Reality", Economic and Political Weekly, Vol. XXIX, No. 33, 13 August 1994.
- "Violence on Gurupurab in Jammu". (with Smithu Kothari), Economic and Political Weekly, 15 April 1989.
- "Struggle of Indian Women". Philosophy and Social Action, 14(4), 1988.
- "Nature of Women’s Mobilization in Rural India". Economic and Political Weekly, (in two parts) 24 and 31 December 1988.
- "Toiling Without Rights: Ho Women of Singhbhum", Economic and Political Weekly, (in three parts) Vol. 22, Nos 3-4-5, January 1987.
- "The Daughters of Aryavarta: Women in the Arya Samaj Movement in Punjab", Indian Economic and Social History Review, 23 February 1986.
- "Arya Samaj and Women’s Education: Case Study of the Kanya Mahavidyalaya, Jalandhar". Economic and Political Weekly, 31(17), 1986.
- "Gandhi and Women". Economic and Political Weekly, Vol. XX, Nos. 40, & 41, 1985. (This has been translated and published in Telugu as a book.) reprinted in Race and Class, London, Summer, 1986.
- Membership of Expert Committee of Delhi Government for reviewing the policy of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi and for implementation of the National Policy for Street Vendors.
- Member of the Delhi government’s committee for the reform of cycle rickshaw policy amendment in the Cycle Rickshaw Bye-laws of MCD
- Board Member, Indian Social Studies Trust, New Delhi.
- Member of Editor’s Guild of India
- Advisory Board Member of Janaagraha, Centre for Democracy and Governance, Bangalore
- Member of Board of Governors, Indian Council for Cultural Relations
- Member of Governing Board, Common Cause, New Delhi
- Member of Complaints Committee to deal with complaints of harassment of women at work place in the Ministry of Culture
- Member of Governing Board of Delhi International Arts festival
- Secretary, Kashmir Committee headed by Ram Jethmalani.
- Member, Advisory Board, Nehru Memorial Museum and Library Society (1989 to 2003).
Documentary Films and Media Work
Madhu Purnima Kishwar has produced several documentary films on subjects of social cause:
- The Manas Series for Doordarshan on the following themes was shown on the national channel.
- 1)Dowry: Compulsion vs. Need. The social and economic dynamics behind the spread of the culture of dowry despite stringent legislation.
- 2)The Disinheritance of Women from Family Property.
- 3)Liquor and State Policy: Why Anti-Liquor Movements Inevitably Turn Anti-State.
- 4)Governmental Controls on Agriculture and the Increasing Rural-Urban Divide being promoted through our Farm Policy.
- 5)License Permit Raj: a View from Below (Study of street vendors and rickshaw pullers in Delhi).
- 6)The Pauperization of our Traditional Technologists and Artisans.
- Researched, scripted and anchored several episodes of a prime-time programme called News Watch on the Doodarshan Channel.
- Under the Agenda for India series commissioned by the national television channel Doordarshan she made thirteen episodes entitled “Kisse Kanoon Ke” reviewing the actual workings and impact of various laws enacted ostensibly to protect or strengthen women’s rights in India.
- Conceptualized and anchored a series of youth programmes entitled Baazgasht for the Srinagar Kendra of Doordarshan in 2006.
- Kishwar has also written and set to music a cassette of songs on women’s issues entitled Manushi Geet. Some of these were used in a street play entitled Roshni created as a group effort by Manushi’s performance team under the direction of Feisal Alkazi.
- Burke, Jason (31 March 2011). "Shiney Ahuja, fallen Bollywood star, jailed for raping maid". The Guardian. Retrieved 8 September 2012.
- Meyta, Neha (7 March 2010). "Ashrams of Sex and Sleaze". Mail Today – via HighBeam Research (subscription required). Retrieved 8 September 2012.
- Sen, Amartya (2006). The Argumentative Indian: Writings on Indian History, Culture and Identity. Penguin. ISBN 0141012110.
- Shepard, Alexandra; Walker, Garthine (2009). Gender and Change: Agency, Chronology and Periodisation. Wiley Blackwell. p. 195. ISBN 1405192275.
- Anagol, Padma (2006). The Emergence of Feminism in India, 1850 - 1920. Ashgate. p. 12. ISBN 0754634116.
- Pisharoty, Sangeetha Barooah (16 April 2010). "Voice of the Underdog". The Hindu. Retrieved 9 September 2012.
- Khethal, Havindar (13 July 2008). "Defenceless on the streets". The Tribune-India. Retrieved 8 September 2012.
- "Zealous reformers, Deadly Laws". Hindustan Journal – via HighBeam Research (subscription required). 12 April 2008. Retrieved 8 September 2012.
- Chakrabarty, Bidyut (2008). Indian Politics and Society since Independence: Events, Processes and Ideology. Routledge. p. 195. ISBN 0415408679.
- Kishwar, Madhu Purnima (22 April 2011). "On Secular fatwas". The Times of India. Retrieved 10 September 2012.
- Kishwar, Madhu Purnima (18 November 2011). "Playing a dangerous game". The Times of India. Retrieved 10 September 2012.
- Kishwar, Madhu Purnima (17 August 2011). "Uncivil Manners". Outlook India. Retrieved 10 September 2012.