New Login   

A Study of Micro Realities

Padma Velaskar

By Zoya Hasan and Ritu Menon
Women Unlimited, Delhi, 2005, pp. 186, Rs. 300.00

VOLUME XXIX NUMBER 10 October 2005

Within the vast and proliferating literature on women’s studies in India, there has been a noticeable dearth of work on women’s education. A book on education of girls especially those belonging to the educationally disadvantaged religious minority of Muslims is thus a much needed and welcome contribution.   Zoya Hasan and Ritu Menon’s book Educating Muslim Girls: A Comparison of Five Cities is in their words an attempt to relate macro data on Muslim girls’ education which were gathered from an earlier survey, with micro experiences gathered for the present study. While the survey of 10,000 households from across the country clarified the poor educational status of Muslim women as compared to their Hindu counterparts, it also showed sharp regional (particularly between North and South India), social class and urban-rural discrepancies in literacy and educational achievement. The micro study on which this book is based was planned to shed light on these discrepancies through a comparative study of five cities viz., Delhi, Aligarh, Hyderabad, Calcutta and Calicut. The cities were chosen due to their location in diverse historical, regional and socio-political contexts and diverse trends they had experienced in the education of Muslim girls. Data on micro experiences of “educating Muslim girls” were collected for qualitative and empirical substantiation of survey findings. The book identifies as its specific tasks: 1) the examination of ground experiences which may be at variance with the macro findings, 2) the explanation of success and failures of educational initiatives, and 3) showing how social forces—economic, cultural, gender and religious—converge to influence educational attainments of Muslim girls (p. 35). The authors’ effort is to juxtapose the emergent macro educational scenario against micro experiences and thus highlight the discrepancies between policy and practice, between macro factors and the lived realities of schooling for the Muslim girl child.   The book begins by providing the colonial and contemporary context of Muslim women’s education. Chapter one discusses factors governing the uneven spread of Muslim women’s education in colonial India and attempts to capture differences and changes in the educational discourse among Muslim men and women. It skillfully weaves together regional accounts of Bengal, Madras Presidency, Hyderabad and the United Provinces. The current educational status of Muslims and Muslim women is highlighted in chapter two, in the context of post-Independence developments in state educational policy and its implementation. The analysis indicates marked community differentials in educational outcomes between Muslims and ...

Table of Contents >>
Please or to Read Entire Article

Free Access Online 12 Back Issues
with 1 year's subscription
Archive (1976-2011)
under construction.