JNU professor talks on women’s rights

CHANDIGARH: Noted feminist writer and Professor at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), Prof Nivedita Menon, on Wednesday delivered the annual Professor Pradeep Kumar Memorial Lecture at Panjab University (PU).

Professor Menon spoke on ‘Women’s Rights to Land and the Challenge of the Commons’ at the lecture. The lecture was organized by the Department of Political Science. In her lecture, Professor Menon explored the inter-linkages between two developments of the past decade and half in India, namely, the amendment to the Hindu Succession Act in 2005. The Act ensured women’s rights to property and the emergence of mass movements against land acquisition, which posit collective ownership as resistance to capitalist globalisation. Given the latter, she argued that the feminist project has to rethink and reformulate its positions on women’s rights to land.

Prof Menon said, “The state’s ability to pass legislation on women’s land rights despite the widespread anxieties over it expressed in Parliament and outside signified that the state did not see it as a way to challenge patriarchy but to further the capitalist agenda of making land alienable”. She examined three sets of laws and debates over it- personal laws, customary rights in adivasi and tribal areas, and forest rights in India to look at the divergent imperatives of the state, family, kinship and agrarian and industrial classes on the question of land. The session was chaired by Prof Pam Rajput.