Women and Indian Independence movement

deadline for submissions: 
May 31, 2023
full name / name of organization: 
contact email: 


One of the limitations of historiography has been an obvious projection of an uneven gender balance.  The politics of nationalism has timelessly eulogized select male heroes, exploring the tropes of masochistic identities in terms of the physical space as well as the constructed geopolitical frame. The historical and cultural representations of the social evolution of India follow patriarchal ideologies that have categorically thwarted or at least distorted the possibilities of an inclusive gender history. The history of the Indian freedom struggle is not an exception to this, and is deeply entrenched on narratives concerning male freedom fighters. Only a handful of women have found places in the mainstream narratives. In many cases, even when there were female representations, they follow, the stereotyped gender roles of competent assistants in the greater picture of the otherwise masculine or male struggle for independence. How many of us have heard about Amruta Mai from Bihar’s Ara district, who had rebelled against the British indigo cultivation? Or, Manua from Santhal Pargana who killed two Britisher predators to save her from them? Or, Supriya and Somiya from Danapur who fought like Manua?

Keeping in mind this uneven gender representation and with an intention of memorializing the underrepresented, the proposed volume intends to bring into focus hitherto unheard voices who had subverted the British rule and fought against injustices in varied forms. We are particularly looking for writings celebrating the women in the above mentioned historical contexts and spaces through varied representations in history, fiction, memoirs, autobiographies to name a few. As we intend to bridge the gap between (his) story and (her) story, we would also be interested in critical and academic writings on female participation and struggle during the independence movement. The suggested topics may include:

  • Women and independence movement
  • Balancing domestic roles with the call for the nation
  • Women’s overcoming of the stereotyped roles of accomplices rather than leaders
  • Social impact of women’s movement during the independence struggle
  • Women’s contribution to nation building through education, healthcare etc. during the struggle 
  • The dichotomy between home and the world as reflected in memoirs of women freedom fighters
  • Women and mass movements of independence struggle
  • The politics of the representation of bhadramahila in the larger picture of Nation making
  • Women and armed violence
  • Women against British highhandedness
  • Women’s writing of the ‘meta’ & ‘micro’ narratives of the Indian Independence


This list is not exhaustive. A 300-word abstract with a 50-word biography of the contributors should be sent to the following email addresses by 31st May 2023. Acceptance would be mailed by 20th June and the full paper is due by 30th July 2023. The book is likely to be published by Routledge.