22 January 2008
BIRTH CONTROL AND WOMEN
REPRODUCTIVE RESTRAINTS: BIRTH CONTROL IN INDIA, 1877-1947
by Sanjam Ahluwalia
Reproductive Restraints traces the history of contraception use and population management in colonial India, while illuminating its connection to contemporary debates in India and birth control movements in Great Britain and the United States.
Sanjam Ahluwalia draws attention to the interactive and relational history of Indian birth control by including Western activists such as Margaret Sanger and Marie Stopes alongside important Indian campaigners. In revealing the elitist politics of middle-class feminists, Indian nationalists, Western activists, colonial authorities, and the medical establishment Ahluwalia finds that they all sought to rationalize procreation and regulate women while invoking competing notions of freedom, femininity, and family.
Ahluwalia’s remarkable interviews with practising midwives in rural northern India fill a gaping void in the documentary history of birth control and show that the movement has had little appeal to non-elite groups.
266 pp / Rs 595 / Hardback / ISBN 81-7824-229-X / For sale in South Asia only / Copublished by the University of Illinois Press / April 2008.