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Women in ancient and medieval India

Chandel, Bhuvan [u.a.] (Hrsg.):
Women in ancient and medieval India / edited by Bhuvan Chandel in association with Shubhada Joshi. - New Delhi : Centre for Studies in Civilizations for the Project of History of Indian Science, Philosophy and Culture ; distr. by Munshiram Manoharlal, 2009. - XXXIX, 437 S. : Ill. - (History of science, philosophy, and culture in Indian civilization ; Volume 9: Colonial period, pt. 2)
ISBN 81-8758635-4 / 978-81-8758635-7
US$ 42,00 (Munshiram Manoharlal)
US$ 68,45 (D.K. Agencies)
US$ 75,00 (inkl. Airmail) (Vedams Books)
US$ 85,50 (Bagchee)
DDC: 934.0082 und 954.0082

(Bildquelle: Wikimedia Commons)

How significant is the difference between physical sex and culturally structured sex? Is nature and nurture interdependent or separate? If both are separate, then is ‘gender’ culture specific? Is woman a weaker sex and, hence, also subordinate socio-politically? Is woman inferior to man in moral and intellectual capacities? Has the Indian tradition treated women with a bias? What has been the socioeconomic status of women in different epochs of India’s cultural past? This volume tries to explore these and many other allied questions, issues, and aspects of culture related to women studies in ancient and medieval Indian context. Offered in two parts, the volume, in Part 1, deals with ancient India, while its Part 2 focuses on medieval India. It is a narrative of ancient and medieval India. Which is multireligious, multilingual, and multicultural. Reinterpreting, in gender perspective, wide-ranging, widely scattered sources, like Vedic writings, Upanisads, Bhagavad Gita, Dharmashastras, Arthasastra, smritis, epic literature of the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, besides the Buddhist Tripitaka, Jaina Agamas and Saiva Sakta Agamas, the 13 essays in Part 1 try to reconstruct the picture of woman and her position in ancient India. These sources represent all the three main streams of ancient Indic culture: Vedic, Sramana and Tantric. Part 2 of the volume, also comprising 13 essays, presents the continuous saga of Indian culture – a narrative full of the moments of discontinuity, ruptures, tensions, assimilation and harmony of divergent cultural and religious traditions of thought that coexisted in India. This part describes Akbar’s contribution towards prohibition of sati and extending inheritance to women, which normally was not given by Muslim law. Also considered here, among other aspects, are women’s status in Vajrayana Buddhism, in the Sikh tradition, and in the mother-centric tribal societies of the North East India. This volume is a part of the on-going, highly ambitious Project, History of Science, Philosophy and Culture in Indian Civilization (PHISPC) which aims to discover the central aspects of India’s heritage and present them in an interrelated manner. Notwithstanding its primarily historical character, the Project: in both conceptualization and execution, has been shaped by scholars drawn from different disciplines.

General Introduction / D.P. Chattopadhyaya
Introduction / Shubhada Joshi
   1. Women in the Vedic age gender problems - status and role / A.V. Sugavaneswaran
   2. Persona of women in the Vedas / Shashiprabha Kumar
   3. The Vedic woman / Shubhada Joshi
   4. Identity and the status of women in the Upanisads / G.C. Nayak
   5. Women's education in ancient India / Chandrakala Padia
   6. Position of women in Buddhist and Jaina Agamas / Mukul Raj Mehta
   7. Position of woman in Tantra (Saiva-Sakta tradition) / Kamalakar Mishra
   8. Woman's status in the Tantras / Vidya Nivas Misra
   9. Women in Smrtis: issues of inheritance / Sindhu S. Dange
   10. Status of women in India as reflected through extended and continual influence of the tradition of Smrti treatises / Shanker Gopal Nene
   11. Crime and punishment in the context of women as gleaned from the Dharmasutras and Arthasastra / Susmita Pande
   12. Some women characters in the Ramayana / A.V. Subramanian
   13. The Rama Saga: the eternal quest for the glory of Indian woman with reference to Valmikis Ramayana and Tulasi's Ramacaritamanas / Lakshmi Narayan Sharma
   14. Women in medieval Indian Society / Irfan Habib
   15. Women in Vajrayana Buddhism: myth and reality / Lata Chhatre
   16. Unworthy pilgrims: Jaina women in medieval India / Meenal Katarnikar
   17. Status of women in Sikhism / Nirbhai Singh
   18. Women in Medieval Sanskrit literature / Sunanda Y. Shastri
   19. Women philosophers in India (Ancient and Medieval Period) / G.C. Nayak
   20. Great women sainsts of India / Prema Nandakumar
   21. Status of women in medieval Karnataka / Manimalini V.K.
   22. Manipuri women throughout the ages: a case study of the feminine response to the challenges of history in north-east India / Sayam Lokendrajit
   23. Maharani Tarabai: a woman who empowered herself / Deepti Gangavane
   24. "Agency, participation and the family: a study of two women of the Mughal Royal Family" / Radhika Seshan
   25. Women in religion-women on religion: a historiography of gender and religion in Indian History / Vijaya Ramaswamy
   26. Status of women in Buddhism: analysis and reflections / L.P. Singh

Dr Bhuvan Chandel, former Professor of Philosophy and Dean, Faculty of Arts, Panjab University, has been the Director and Member Secretary of the Indian Council of Philosophical Research, New Delhi, and also Director of the prestigious Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla.

Quellen: Munshiram Manoharlal; D.K. Agencies; Bagchee; Vedams Books; WorldCat; Library of Congress