Shahin Kachwala to give Gender Out of Bounds presentation

The Department of Women’s and Gender Studies presents GENDER OUT OF BOUNDS “Remembering Revolutionary Pasts: Militant Women, Indian History, and Hindi Cinema” featuring Dr. Shahin Kachwala, visiting assistant professor of Women’s and Gender Studies at SUNY Oneonta. The presentation will take place Thursday, Feb. 7 from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. in the CME Great Room in Lee Hall.

From Dr. Kachwala:

Indian historiography portrays the independence movement as a triumphal history of nonviolence, but armed militancy was an important part in the resistance against the British. State driven projects of history writing in India results, first, in a skewed picture of Indian nationalism, emphasizing a narrative of Gandhian nonviolence, and second, the chronicling of armed militancy is often relegated to the popular realm in India. Mainstream Hindi cinema has produced historical films on the independence movement largely highlighting the nonviolent faction of Indian anti-colonialism, but there has been a significant rise in the production of films that represent the militant anti-colonial struggle.

In this talk I analyze cinematic representations that highlight revolutionary-terrorist groups and their contribution to the Indian freedom fight. I argue that while these films about the terrorist movement might serve as reparative history of violent nationalism, they ultimately confirm the dominant narrative of Gandhian ahimsa (nonviolence). The historical accounts of these films include representations of women terrorists, yet, they only highlight women who espouse the “ideals of Indian womanhood”. Even as the films challenge accepted narratives of Indian nationalism, in the end they all conform to the larger message of nationalist historiography — that the Indian independence struggle was a moral, heroic, predominantly male, struggle of non-violence.

For more information about Gender Out of Bounds presentations, contact Charlene Christie at or the Women’s and Gender Studies Department at 436-2014.