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The Nehru Memorial Museum & Library


‘Aspects of Democratic-Feminist Social Movements in Delhi: 1970s and 80s’,12th May, 2015.

‘Aspects of Democratic-Feminist Social Movements in Delhi: 1970s and 80s’

Dr. Deepti Priya Mehrotra,


The paper examines aspects of feminism and allied social movements in Delhi, during the seventies and eighties. Women’s movements of the time drew public attention to hitherto concealed aspects of social and personal life especially violence against women; and questioned the low economic and political `status of women’. There was, during the same period, an upsurge of activism around civil liberties, livelihood, shelter and basic amenities, labor, child rights, environment, health including mental health and disability – and an overall spirited involvement by citizens in defense of democracy. Feminist activism of the time engaged with gender and class, confronting family and the state as sites of institutionalized patriarchy. People formed new collectives and undertook varied kinds of action, focused on specific concerns. The paper journeys through this terrain, exploring aspects of ideology and organization, internal dynamics, relationships between movements and organizations, and personal-political trajectories. What value may such an archiving of the contemporary past hold, for us today?


Dr. Deepti Priya Mehrotra is currently a Fellow at the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library. A political scientist, her interests are multi-disciplinary; her books include biographies of Irom Sharmila, Gulab Bai, Jaggi Devi; and the lives of single mothers. She has taught at Lady Sri Ram College, and contributed in research and advisory capacities to varied institutions.

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