As we looked at what women have done and what they had achieved in the last century it seemed as if the century belonged to women…women who learned to read and write, women who as widows dared to remarry, fighting for the right to education, entering movements, flocking to jails, stepping for the first time into the world of radio, cinema and stage, becoming the first doctors, scientists, musicians, dancers, artists, students. Their courage writ large across the century fills us with a sense of awe. This book is a celebration of the past and a hymn to the future.
Calcutta: Stree, 2002. Co-author V. Kannabiran.
Focussing on the many hegemonies that confront women and men today, this book presents fresh insights on the linkages among gender, culture and politics. The authors’ -“concerns in politics have centred on questions of of culture and representation, on power and hegemonies that find legitimacy, in globalization, and the imperatives of anti-communal struggles in a field fractured by the globalizing politics of cultures.” As feminists who have long worked in Andhra Pradesh, they have witnessed the coalition between globalisation and fundamentalism and consider the disturbing portents for women, children, minorities and Dalits. While reflecting on the increase in state repression, they also critique the way the Left revolutionary parties too restrict women’s engagement.
New Delhi: Kali for Women, 2003. With V. Kannabiran. Revised Edition, New Delhi: Zubaan, 2021.
Muvalur Ramamirthammal’s novel, Web of Deceit, has generally been read as a novel that propagates reform, and has even occasionally been dismissed by feminist scholars as a “reformist” text. At the other end, it has been read as a radical text that is located in the politics of the self-respect movement and one that provides a far more nuanced understanding of the problem than the movement for devadasi abolition. This is however a rather simplistic portrayal of what happened in the devadasi abolition movement and in the context of the debate it generated. The novel, however, does the contrary. It contains in its unfolding, all the nuances and complexities of the devadasi institution and the demand for abolition. On the surface, it is a very straight and unequivocal demand – for abolition of the practice of dedicating girls to temples [a euphemism for prostitution] that the novel that the novel propagates. And yet in the very process of articulating the demand, the author also uncovers different layers of resistance and acquiescence to this demand.
New Delhi: Women Unlimited & Kali for Women, Delhi, 2005.
This volume looks at the experience and articulation of violence against women in relation to feminist debates and organising on the issue and the positive/negative responses to that articulation particularly from the standpoint of law and the institutional apparatuses of the state. Its several essays focus on everyday settings from justice dispensed by traditional authorities to modern courtrooms domestic spaces a home for mentally disabled women in Pune a factory in Tamil Nadu. Moving from the routine to the extraordinary the essays analyse the spectrum of violence against women that covers witch hunting in Adivasi communities structural adjustment programmes and economic violence against sexually marginalised groups and against women of religious and ethnic minorities. Read together they expose the extent of systemic violence against women in India a violence so routine that everyday forms of it slide into the gross and macabre in a seamless continuum.
This collection of essays examines the racialized and gendered effects of contemporary politics of belonging, issues which lie at the heart of contemporary political and social lives. It encompasses critical questions of identity and citizenship, inclusion and exclusion, emotional attachments, violent conflicts and local/global relationships. The range – geographically, thematically and theoretically – covered by the chapters reflects current concerns in the world today.
New Delhi: Women Unlimited, 2007. Co-author R. Menon.
From the late 1970s to the present, feminists in India have had to deal with spiralling violence against women and the alarming ramifications of its forms, as well as assess their strategies to combat it. This monograph reviews twenty-five years of protest and action by them, in an attempt to take both our analysis and theories forward. It maps the trajectory of feminist organising in India in the post-Emergency period, after 1977; the paths of legal reform and the points at which they have intersected with, or resulted from, feminist campaigns; the texture of campaigns and the creativity with which women’s groups have fashioned and sustained difficult struggles against violence; the persistence of feminist interventions and the ways in which different groups have been able to tilt the balance in favour of women in perceptible ways; and the escalation of collective violence, increasingly by agents of the state, against women. Notwithstanding the diversity of formal political affiliations and theoretical analyses within the women’s movement, the last twenty-five years have seen the evolution of a minimum consensus that categorically rejects any rationalisation of violence against women, even while recognising its complexity.
This rare comprehensive critique of criminology in India brings together widely respected activists, advocates, bureaucrats, scholars and practitioners who share their concerns about the Indian criminal justice system through an interdisciplinary lens and discuss the need to entrench human rights in Indian polity. It is a significant step towards mapping the ways in which interdisciplinary research and human rights activism might inform legal praxis more effectively and holistically.
Challenging the Rule(s) of Law contests unproblematic assumptions of the rule of law and opens out avenues for a renewed and radical study of criminal law in the country. The collection looks at the problem of criminal law from the early colonial period to the present, examining the problem of overt violence by state actors and their compliance with dominant private actors. It calls into question the denial by the state of the wherewithal for bare life, which compounds people’s vulnerability to a repressive rule of law.
“This work is a must read for students, researchers and faculty of Law, Criminal Law, Criminology, Legal History, Human Rights, Sociology of Law and Colonial History. It will also be invaluable for law historians, legal scholars and policy makers, especially the judiciary.”
New Delhi: Routledge, 2012.
This book explores the critical possibilities of the concepts of non-discrimination and liberty, and reimagines the idea of democratic citizenship. It shows how the breaking down of discrimination in constitutional interpretation and the narrowing of the field of liberty in law deepen discriminatory ideologies and practices. Instead, it offers an intersectional approach to jurisprudence as a means of enabling the law to address the problem of discrimination along multiple, intersecting axes — caste, tribe, religious minorities, women, sexual minorities, and disability.
Drawing on a rich body of materials, including official reports, case law and historical records, and insights from social theory, anthropology, literary and historical studies and constitutional jurisprudence, this volume offers a new reading of non-discrimination.
“Lucid, accessible and insightful, the book will be indispensable to students, researchers and scholars of law, sociology, gender studies, politics, constitutionalism, disability studies, human rights, and social exclusion.”
“A careful study of this fascinating work would enhance an understanding of the position on the ground, the dire need for change and the way in which this is to be done.”
Justice Z. M.
Yacoob, The Hindu
“Tools of Justice will be treated as a profound book … demanding our attention … For those who study citizenship it will be even more rewarding.”
Ranabir Samaddar, Economic & Political Weekly
“This publication heralds a new era for legal studies and feminist legal studies as well as the potential for a popular constitutionalism in India, South Asia and globally.”
Rhoda Reddock University of West Indies, St. Augustine, Trinidad
New Delhi: Sage, 2014.
How should we approach the problem of “women and law”? Should the focus be on women-centred laws and their efficacy? Or should the focus be, instead, on the ways in which the law imagines women and the ways in which women have engaged with the law—spilling beyond fields traditionally associated with the phrase “women and law”? And how does violence figure in all these? Women and Law, a compilation of 11 insightful essays, examines these questions and a range of concerns—domestic violence, employment and labour, anti-discrimination jurisprudence, family laws, access to forest and land rights, the right to health, the complexities in the intersection of women’s rights with disability rights and women’s experiences of repressive legislation such as TADA.
This volume attempts at a fresh mapping of the field of women and law from an interdisciplinary perspective and presents the work of activists, lawyers and scholars in conversation.
Delhi: Oxford University Press. 2016.
Violence is embedded in our everyday. We encounter not only its overt, raw, and brutal nature but also the deeply buried invisible and insidious forms that normalize violence in the collective conscience, making it less noticeable and more tolerable.
This volume opens out the field of violence studies with a focus on its myriad habitations and experiences in India. It interrogates the numerous ways in which omnipresent violence is interpreted and represented, and delves into the interconnections between the identifiable normative axes of power and the engendering of violence. Bringing together fresh methodological and conceptual perspectives on the way violence is understood and analysed, the contributors to this volume investigate its occurrence across sites—law, family, state, gender, labour, caste, sexuality, communalism, and so on—to explore the normal as well as the exceptional.
The case studies in this book are all drawn from the Indian experience. This volume aims towards a coherent and more nuanced understanding of violence that moves beyond the episodic to the systemic, structural levels of society and consciousness.
New Delhi: Routledge, 2017. Co-editor P. Swaminathan.
This book tracks the trajectory of gender in the social sciences and humanities through an exploration of the challenges and contradictions that confront contemporary feminist analysis as well as future directions. Drawing on research in India, the essays in the volume engage with the subject in breathtaking ways, each one going beyond documenting the persistence of gender inequality, instead raising newer questions and dilemmas while unravelling the complexities of the terrain.
They also interrogate extant knowledge that has ‘constructed’ women as ‘agentless’ over the years, incapable of contesting or transforming social orders — by taking a close look at gendered decision-making processes and outcomes, sex for pleasure, healthcare practices, content and context of formal schooling, or the developmental state that ‘mainstreams’ gender. Do existing feminist methodologies enable the understanding of emerging themes as online sexual politics, transnational surrogacy, or masculinist ‘anti-feminist’ sensibilities? The feminist methodology delineated here will provide readers with a toolkit to assess the criticality of gender as well as its nuances. The work foregrounds the importance of intersectionality and builds a case for context-specific articulations of gender and societies that destabilise binary universals.
This volume will be useful to scholars and researchers across the disciplines of the social sciences and humanities, especially gender studies, women studies, feminism, research methodology, education, sociology, political science and public policy.
Hyderabad: Council for Social Development, 2017. Co-editors - P. Swaminathan, J. Jeyaranjan.
The Telangana State Social Development Report 2017 provides data necessary for planning in social sectors and with reference to the specificities of marginalised social groups in Telangana State. The TSDR was formulated in the first instance with specific reference to social demography, land and agriculture, consumption expenditure, health, education, housing amenities, and employment-unemployment across social groups in Telangana State.
Drawing largely on Census, NSSO and NFHS data, the TSDR aims to provide state specific data that will track shifts in socio-economic status in the districts that now comprise Telangana State drawing on data from 2001 and 2011 Censuses, along with corresponding data from the other sources. Given the criticality of social and economic precarity in Telangana State, we hope to develop a template that will be fine tuned annually for direct relevance in social policy with full reports coming out once in two years.
The India: Social Development Report 2016—Disability Rights Perspectives presents new research in disability studies, a little understood subject in the social sciences and humanities in India, as also in the development discourse. The disproportionate disadvantage, exclusion and stigmatization suffered by persons with disabilities are caused by cultural, social and physical barriers that obstruct their effective participation in social and political life. Encompassing the diversity of life-worlds of persons with disabilities, the first part of the report presents research findings in the areas of health, socio-economic status, custodial facilities and psychiatric care for persons with psycho-social disabilities; Employment and labour, right to education, higher education, status of women and girls with disabilities and status of women with intellectual disabilities. The second part of the report deals with other critical aspects of social development such as ageing, housing, displacement, degrading labour, labour migration and financial inclusion. The third part presents the cumulative Social Development Index.
The Social Development Report 2016 addresses the fundamental elements of non-derogable rights of all citizens of India, illuminating the pathways to their realization for persons with disabilities in all their heterogeneity. By addressing the need for setting the constitutional standard of non-discrimination and dignity, the report also shows how entrenched social practices can be dislodged with appropriate, mandatory and necessary governance structures.
Telangana Social Development Report 2018: Gender, Access and Well Being provides baseline information covering information drawn from official data sources on a wide range of themes of social relevance with a focus on gender. The report aims at enabling the government of Telangana to arrive at evidence-based policies to address the several issues raised under each of the themes.
New Delhi: Kali for Women, 2003. With V. Kannabiran. Revised Edition, New Delhi: Zubaan, 2021. Originally published by Kali for Women, New Delhi: 2003.
New Delhi: Routledge, 2021. Co Editors - Asha Hans, Kalpana Kannabiran, Manoranjan Mohanty and Pushpendra.
The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a mass exodus of India’s migrant
workers from the cities back to the villages. This book explores the social conditions and concerns around health, labour, migration, and gender that
were thrown up as a result of this forced migration. The book examines the failings of the public health systems and the state response to address the humanitarian crisis which unfolded in the middle of the pandemic. It highlights how the pandemic-lockdown disproportionately affected marginalised social groups – Dalits and the Adivasi communities, women and Muslim workers. The book reflects on the socio-economic vulnerabilities of migrant workers, their rights to dignity, questions around citizenship, and the need for robust systems of democratic and constitutional accountability. The chapters also critically
look at the gendered vulnerabilities of women and non-cis persons in both public and private spaces, the exacerbation of social stratification and prejudices, incidents of intimidation by the administration and the police forces, and proposed labour reforms which might create greater insecurities for migrant workers.
Delhi: Zubaan. 2021. Co-authors - Kalpana Kannabiran & Swethaa S Ballakrishnen.
In 2017 an all-male nine-judge bench of the Indian Supreme Court delivered the landmark Justice K.S. Puttaswamy & Ors v. Union of India judgment on privacy. In this book, the authors look at the embodiment of privacy in the judgment to examine the ways in which the bench articulated the question of gender. They argue that while Puttaswamy has been central in clarifying the extent of (and extensions to) the right to privacy as a fundamental right, the discourse on this has long existed in India — in various gendered social movements, policy-making around women’s rights, feminist historiography, and discourses on the family, sexual rights, autonomy and choice (in and outside courts), dignity, and critiques of surveillance — and provides an important context within which the judgment becomes especially relevant.
The authors unpack the underlying logics of the right to privacy within the default prism of the notional identity of the normative household and offer an entry point to re-read existing jurisprudence on rape, sexual assault, sexual harassment, atrocity, and sexual violence and humiliation under conditions of mass violence. They suggest a springboard for the possibility of theorizing personhood within the right to privacy, arguing that while the judgment sets up radical precedent on the questions of sexual minorities, it remains trapped in a reductionist reading of the female body within heteronormativity.
Law, Justice and Human Rights in India is a collection of short essays on a range of contemporary issues—prisoners’ rights, campus violence, women’s rights, state impunity, judicial accountability, citizen engagement in law-making, and questions of discrimination against Dalits, Adivasis, persons with disabilities, and sexual and religious minorities. Framed by the Constitution of India, the chapters provide a sense of the times we are living through, with each essay addressing an urgent debate that has arisen at a particular moment in India’s contemporary history. Kalpana Kannabiran brings her formal training in law, sociology and gender studies, and her work as a feminist socio-legal counsellor with a women’s collective, into her essays, allowing them to open up alternative spaces for dialogue and public discourse on dissent. Reflecting upon issues of social justice and human rights, she offers insights into the Constitution and law, moving these out of the sacred, unreachable precincts of constitutional courts and into the realities of everyday life. This volume presents an account of the making and unmaking of laws through resistance struggles and movements, encouraging readers to engage with the language, protocols and practices of legislations. The continuing relevance of the concerns raised in this collection and its level critique of power and dominance will interest anyone who wishes to trace the development of human rights debates in India over the past two decades.
Discourses on Corruption: International and Intercultural Perspectives Corruption, often described as all that is rotten in the modern society, has become an increasingly dominant theme in contemporary political discourse, one that is related to specific practices, concepts and evaluations that vary across regions, cultures, spheres of action and disciplines. This volume, through case studies, investigates corruption in the Global South (especially India and Brazil) and West (especially Switzerland) to gain a more nuanced view of the phenomenon. The chapters in this volume are organized into two loosely structured and overlapping parts: the first part consisting of Chapters 2-5 covers conceptual questions related to corruption discourses from different perspectives such as economic ethics, social capital theory and literature; the second part consisting of Chapters 6-11 details the complexity and diversity of corruption practices within and between countries and regions, providing different interpretative frameworks, which in turn flow into discourses on corruption.
Translated, compiled, edited and with an introduction by Kalpana Kannabiran.
New Delhi: HarperCollins, 2022.
The Speaking Constitution: A Sisyphean Life in Law The Speaking Constitution takes a close look at the functioning of the Constitution and the development of the idea of justice through the courts, mapping in the process a legal geography of civil liberties in India through the work of one of its most committed campaigners. An edited translation of the oral memoir narrated by advocate and human rights activist K.G. Kannabiran (1929-2010), and edited, translated and introduced by Kalpana Kannabiran, this book is reflective of Kannabiran’s lifelong battle with the state and his work in the civil liberties movement in India. From Ansari Begum’s deportation case in the aftermath of Partition to encounter deaths and custodial killings, the work of citizens’ tribunals in the aftermath of the 2002 Gujarat massacre, the peace talks and negotiations between Naxalites and the Andhra Pradesh government, the highly polarizing trial of Afzal Guru and the question of the death penalty, Kannabiran shines light on human rights violations in courts across the country and the radical possibilities the Constitution offers citizens today. In the process, he maps a legal geography of the civil liberties movement in India. Rich in detail and insightful, The Speaking Constitution: A Sisyphean Life in Law interweaves personal history with courtcraft and politics to create an unparalleled account of the evolution of jurisprudence in India.
New Delhi & London: Routledge, 2022.
Routledge Readings on Law and Social Justice: Dispossessions, Marginalities, Rights presents some of the finest essays on social justice, rights and public policy. With a lucid new Introduction, it covers a vast range of issues and offers a compelling guide to understanding law and socio- legal studies in South Asia. The book covers critical themes such as the jurisprudence of rights, justice, dignity, with a focus on the regimes of patriarchy, labour and dispossession. The fourteen chapters in the volume, divided into three sections, examine contested sites of the constitution, courts, prisons, land and complex processes of migration, trafficking, digital technology regimes, geographical indications and their entanglements. This multidisciplinary volume foregrounds the politics and plural lives of/ in law by including perspectives from major authors who have contributed to the academic and/ or policy discourse of the subject.
New Delhi & London: Routledge, 2022.
Routledge Readings on Law, Development and Legal Pluralism presents some of the finest essays on social justice, environment, rights and governance. With a lucid new Introduction, it covers a vast range of issues and offers a compelling guide to understanding the harm and risk relating to biodiversity, agro-ecology, disaster and forest rights. The book covers critical themes such as ecology, families and governance and establishes the trajectory of contemporary ecology and law in South Asia. The thirteen chapters in the volume, divided into three sections, trace violence and marginality in the plurality of families and their laws in India, as well as discuss community-based just practices. With debates on development, governance and families, the book highlights the politics and practices of law making, law reform and law application. This multidisciplinary volume foregrounds the politics and plural lives of/in law by including perspectives from major authors who have contributed to the academic and/ or policy discourse of the subject.
Hyderabad: Asia Law House. 2022.
Insurgent Constitutionalism, Transformative Courtcraft: K.G. Kannabiran Lectures, 2020-21 presents thirteen lectures delivered in a lecture series organised in memory of civil liberties advocate KG Kannabiran (1929-2010) to celebrate his spirit and his work. KG Kannabiran lived and worked in the undivided state of Andhra Pradesh, in Hyderabad. He travelled across the country appearing in courts of trial, high courts, the Supreme Court of India, and in peoples’ tribunals and fact finding missions. Within Andhra Pradesh every nook and corner, every forest, village, town and city bear his footprints. Practically every court of every jurisdiction in the state bears his imprint. In his untiring defence of the rule of law and the constitution, and in his quest for justice, no place was out of bounds. His unwavering voice in defence of dissent, personal liberty, associational freedoms, justice; speaking truth to power; calling for judicial accountability; and state accountability especially in the matter of repressive laws, custodial violence and extrajudicial murders — encounter killings; calling out entrenched practices of discrimination and structural violence; and setting out the basic structures of constitutional rule, shaped the ways in which civil liberties embedded in the constitution began to be understood anew.
Lectures delivered by: B. Sudershan Reddy * B. Nalin Kumar * Mihir Desai * Nitya Ramakrishnan * K. Chandru * B. Mohan * V. Raghu * J. Chelameswar * Colin Gonsalves * Henri Tiphagne * K. Jithendra Babu * Z.M. Yacoob * Upendra Baxi
Voices of Resistance: Telugu Progressive-Political Literature and Vibhaa Prabhaatamulu present a selection of Telugu writings in Telugu and in English translation that explore articulations on humaneness, justice and social transformation from unlikely locations in time and genre. Edited by Volga and Kalpana Kannabiran and translated into English by Vasanth Kannabiran, these poems, songs, stories, and extracts from novels and tracts—by 89 authors from the thirteenth century to the present—open a window into literary imaginations around questions that continue to preoccupy us today: egalitarianism, dignity, oppression, violence and resistance. Voices of Resistance is part of the ‘Dakshinayan Indian Thought’ series of books curated by G.N. Devy, showcasing the plurality and diversity of Indian traditions.
New Delhi: Zubaan, 2023/2024. Co-authors: Kalpana Kannabiran, Devi Jagani.
New Delhi: Oxford University Press. 2024.