The collection of 21 essays in this book critically examines the notions of human rights, gender and environment by addressing the vital issue of social inequality in India. While examining social inequality, the essays delve into questions of caste, class and gender interconnections here. They explore the manner in which marginalised groups in society engage in struggles for rights and how this process is linked to the role of the state, world economy, international organizations and civil society. The book is divided into four sections, each of which relates to the theme under study and maps the complex and contentious issues around it, first to serve as a guide and then to indicate some of the shifts in the contemporary debates. The first section explores the idea of social inequality and its class, caste, gender, ethnicity and race dimensions in India. It also examines the impact of globalisation in this scenario. The second section analyses the idea of human rights and explores the growth and development of human rights movements in India. The third section examines the idea of gender, the debates and discourses concerning women in India, the rise and growth of the women’s movements and the existing legal framework. The last section analyses the local and global environmental concerns and the growth and development of environmental movements in India. The introductory chapter aims at highlighting the underlying interconnections between the themes in order to draw attention to the existing structures and processes of power in society. The contributors, who are well-known scholars, thinkers and activists, analyse the basic conceptual issues taking care to provide a comprehensive framework. The book also has a guide to further reading and questions to ponder on, which will educate, provoke, stimulate and inform the readers. The volume will be of specific interest to students and teachers who are concerned with the study of social inequality, human rights, gender and environment. It will also be of considerable interest to those in the fields of development studies, philosophy, ethics, sociology, politics, women’s studies and social movements.
Shashi Motilal is Associate Professor in the Department of Philosophy, Delhi University. Her research interests include Ethics, Applied Ethics and issues in Human Rights. She is the co-author of Human Rights, Gender and Environment (2006) and the editor of Applied Ethics and Human Rights: Conceptual Analysis and Contextual Applications (forthcoming).
Bijayalaxmi Nanda teaches Political Science in Miranda House, Delhi University. She has been engaged in teaching and researching in the areas of political theory and gender. She is involved, both as an academic and activist in women’s issues and coordinates a campaign against sex selection in India. Her publications include a co-authored book Human Rights, Gender and Environment (2006) and research papers on sex selection and sex-selective abortion in India.