This book presents an overview of the varied experiences and representations of motherhood in India from ancient to modern times. The thrust of the arguments made by the various contributors is that the centrality of motherhood as an ideology in a woman's life is manufactured. This is demonstrated by analysing various institutional structures of society - language, religion, media, law and technology. The articles in this book are chronologically arranged, tracing the different stages that motherhood as a concept has traversed in India - from goddess worship to nationalism, to being a vehicle of reproduction of the sexual division of labour and the inheritance of property via the male-line. Underlying these stages are the dialectics between them that have been facilitated by agents such as the state - the ultimate controller of a woman's reproductive powers. The feminist critique of 'essentialising' the role of a woman has been employed to deconstruct and humanise the experiences and lives of mothers. This anthology therefore attempts to initiate a meaningful and 'sensitive' engagement with issues pertaining to a woman's autonomy over her body and her role also as a mother.

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