chapter  9
GENDERING THE MODERN
Pages 14

Domesticity, especially as tied to notions of Indian womanhood, was at the core of both imperial and nationalist designs for society in British India at the turn of the twentieth century.1 Explicit interventions in and metaphoric deployments of domesticity and womanhood stemmed from their status as icons of Indian society. New, prescriptive discourses on local conceptions of femininity and gendered difference, on education, and on quotidian matters such as clothing, jewellery, and cosmetics were proposed in vernacular and English periodicals and pamphlets.2 Elite homes were among the sites where these new interests were expressed, in the forms of artistic and cultural associations, clubs, and schools. Homes were also spaces where differential nationalist modernities were fashioned and displayed through decoration, clothing, crafts, and handiwork.