This volume brings out various regional complexities and lively public debates on social reforms for women and their impact on issues like sati, widow remarriage, domesticity, sexuality and education. It shows how women emerged as both objects and subjects of popular discourse and discussions. Simultaneously, the essays engage with concerns around masculinity, inter-caste intimacies and communal identities.
The debates found multifaceted expression in an emerging dynamic popular-public sphere and also in a flourishing vernacular print culture. These in turn served as powerful tools for propagating dominant ideas about women and for fashioning national, regional and community identities.
The three primary texts translated by J. Devika, Anshu Malhotra and Charu Gupta bring out the relationship, most often fraught, between popular literature, reforms and women.