Shiv Sena Women

Shiv Sena Women

Violence and Communalism in a Bombay Slum
Atreyee Sen
Distribution: Western Hemisphere
Publication date: 11/26/2007
Format: paper 224 pages
5.5 x 8.5
ISBN: 978-0-253-21941-1
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This engaging book, based on Atreyee Sen's immersion into the low-income, working-class slums of Bombay, tells the story of the women and children of the Shiv Sena, one of the most radical and violent of the Hindu nationalist parties that dominated Indian politics throughout the 90s and into the present. The Sena women's front has been instrumental in creating and sustaining communal violence, directed primarily against their Muslim neighbors. The author presents the Sena women's own rationale for organizing themselves along paramilitary lines, as poor women and children have used violence and "gang-ism" to create a distinctive social identity, networks of material support, and protection from male violence in the explosive environment of the slums. Sen's moving account foregrounds the ethical dilemmas that surrounded her "covert" research and writing of the book, and she considers wider questions involving women, violence, and religious fundamentalism.

Author Bio

Atreyee Sen is Lecturer in Anthropology at the University of Sussex. She has previously worked as a features reporter specializing in social issues for The Telegraph, a national daily based in Calcutta.


"Shiv Sena Women is a riveting account of the Shiv Sena's `Mahila Aghadi' or women's front and their children in Bombay. Sen addresses urgent contemporary issues that are relevant not only to India, but to all political theory interested in the growing social support for fundamentalist movements." —Kumkum Sangari, University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee

". . . an important book that explores women's 'agency' in a right-wing movement that has been at the heart of communal political mobilization in Western India." —Uma Chakravarti, University of Delhi,
Pacific Affairs , Vol. 82.3 Fall 2009

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Table of Contents

1. Introduction
2. Urban alienation and the birth of women's 'gangs'
3. The Mumbai riots and women's agency in violence
4. Mobilisation and organisation
5. Sena boys and 'survival'
6. Women, history and the future
samaj (society)
7. Conclusion
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