ABSTRACT

This chapter begins by tracing the development of several interrelated narratives — the idea of separate religious ‘communities’ in India, the constructions of ‘Indian Muslims’ as a minority and of ‘Muslim women in India’ as a unied group in need of rescuing. ese discourses continuously shape people’s articulations of their identities, although often in an indirect and refracted fashion. Building on poststructuralist methods, by deconstructing particular categories and discourses, I am also undertaking a process of redoing and remaking (Game 1991: x). While exposing and questioning the boundaries around ‘Muslim women in India’, I simultaneously propose an alternative way of understanding identities — one that aims to highlight the interrelated and shifting nature of identities as the products of localised narratives. is approach attempts to replace Muslim women into context through their own stories. However, through this focus on the narrative construction of identities, I do not propose to replace old categories with newer, more ‘authentic’ ones. Rather, my approach resists any form of closure, and highlights the process of identity construction as one that is perpetually unnished.