Limiting women only in the world of reproduction is a patriarchal politics to hold the power, said Prof. Uma Chakravarti delivering a lecture at the University of Hyderabad on 28 January. Men always managed the social production and women’s role were confined to reproduction of children.

Uma Chakravarti who is a former faculty of the University of Delhi is now an independent historian who writes on gender and caste in India. She delivered a lecture on ‘Gendering a Transitional Movement: The Politics of Reproduction in the Mahabharata’. Political power is always contingent, settled norms are never stable as far as power is concerned. Kinship is a patriarchal setup and it works in a particular structure. In the Mahabharata Kunthi is forced by her husband King Pandu to bare children to save the hire. When she refuses to have physical relationship with other men the king forces her saying that the sexual choice laid with women in the past and a wife is to obey when her husband says so. Women are always owned by male dominated society to produce the next generation. State manages kinship at political level she added.


Prof. Chakravarti also pointed out the examples of the caste structure and the marriage practices in the Mahabharata. Rakshasa marriage was the proper marriage form for Kshatriyas, where Kshatriya men could abduct a woman and keep. She narrated the abduction of Amba, Ambika and Ambalika by Bhishma to simplify the concept of politics of reproduction and women in the context of Mahabharata.

The public lecture was organized by the Special Assistance program, Department of History, University of Hyderabad. Dr. Bhangya Bhukya, Associate Professor in the same department gave the welcome.

By: Priyanka Manikandan, MA-Communication