I spent more than two weeks thinking about the topic for my research project. I had multiple ideas in mind that encompassed different historical epochs. After great deliberation and a very insightful conversation with Dr Struck, I decided to go ahead with my research on the Indian Suffragettes. My starting point was a little tricky as I was confused about whether a topic such as this would fall under comparative or connected histories. In the case of Indian Suffragettes, it is difficult to isolate them from the empire’s global networks. This is not to ignore that there were substantial differences between western and Indian suffragettes.
The fight for the vote was not merely a ‘white’ phenomenon; women of colour were an integral part of it, making this a global issue. I was recommended Sumita Mukherjee’s ‘Indian Suffragettes: Female identities and transnational networks’ by Dr Banerjee. Mukherjee’s primary focus was to analyse the interactions between Indian and British women and their campaigns. Indian women were operating within different geographical spaces and simultaneously adopting various political identities. First, they were the Indian subjects of the British empire. Second, they worked closely with British feminists as allies for their voting rights; third, they showed solidarity towards the women across different colonies of the empire for a universal cause. They occupied international spaces for a myriad of reasons. In the past, most of the literature on Indian feminism revolved around the benevolence of the British reformers and how they nurtured and guided Indian women. Exploring Indian Suffragettes will help understand the agency of Indian women and their contributions to the global history of fighting for women’s rights