Feminist Collective Activism in Telangana, South India: Exemplary by the Andhra Pradesh Mahila Samatha Society

Main Article Content

Julia Guenther


This research aims at contributing to the ongoing debate of feminist standpoint epistemology by introducing a study on feminist collective activism in Sangareddy and Yellareddy, two districts of the newly established 29th state of India, Telangana. The purpose here is to document the work of two sanghams (collectives) by the Andhra Pradesh Mahila Samatha Society (APMSS). The focus lies on songs created by Dalit and indigenous women, which are used as a form of, protest against societal and gender inequality. Those songs contribute in making a positive difference on a local level. Analysis of two group interviews strengthens this argument. The sanghams have shown that despite all societal differences, solidarity among women for a common cause can make a difference in combating social issues on a local level. Taking the APMSS as an example, this research shows that the use of a holistic approach to education to support women in their responses to social issues has an overall positive effect on women. Furthermore, and most importantly, women are strengthened in believing that their life-experiences matter. My research shows that literacy is not necessarily needed to be a successful advocate for women´s rights. What is needed, however, is an understanding of local contexts, social issues and ultimately the ability to link them to life-experiences.


Download data is not yet available.

Article Details

How to Cite
Guenther, J. (2014). Feminist Collective Activism in Telangana, South India: Exemplary by the Andhra Pradesh Mahila Samatha Society. Space and Culture, India, 2(2), 17-27. https://doi.org/10.20896/saci.v2i2.85
Received 2014-11-16
Accepted 2014-11-16
Published 2014-11-01


Ahmed, Waquer, Amitabh Kundu, and Richard Preet, eds. (2011). India’s New Economic Policy: A Critical Analysis. New York: Routledge

Bhattacharyya, R. (2009). Examining the Changing Status and Role of Middle Class Assamese Women: Lessons from the Lives of University Students, PhD thesis, Newcastle University, UK

Bhattacharyya, R. (2013). Are we empowered? Stories of young Indian working women. Saarbrücken, Germany: Lap Lambert Academic Publishing [ISBN: 978-3-659-20580-4]

Brooks, A. (2007). Feminist Standpoint Epistemology. Building Knowledge and Empowerment Through Women´s Lived Experience. In

S. N. Hesse-Biber et al. (eds.), Feminist Research Practice. A Primer, Thousand Oaks: SAGE Publications [ISBN: 978-14-129-8427-0], pp. 53-82

Desai, A.R. (1948/1991). Movement for the Emancipation of Women. In

A. R. Desai (1948/1991) Social Background of Indian Nationalism. Mumbai: Popular Prakashan Private Limited, [ISBN: 978-81-7154-667-1], pp. 273-280

Do Mar Castro Varela, M.; Dhawan, N. (2005). Postkoloniale Theorie. Eine kritische Einführung. Band 12, 1. Auflage, Bielefeld: transcript Verlag (ISBN: 3-89942-337-2)

Forbes, G. (1998/2000). Women in Modern India. The New Cambridge History of India. New Delhi: Cambridge University Press (ISBN: 978-0521653770)

Forbes, G. (2005). Caged Tiger. “First Wave” Feminists in India. In G.

Forbes (2005) Women in Colonial India. Essays on Politics, Medicine, and Historiography. New Delhi: Chronicle Books D.C. Publishers [ISBN: 81-8028-017-9], pp. 11-27

Future Generations (year unknown), Hyderabad, India: APMSS.

Harding, S (2004). Introduction: Standpoint Theory as a Site of Political, Philosophic, and Scientific Debate. In S. Harding (ed.). The Feminist Standpoint Theory Reader: Intellectual and Political Controversies, New York: Routledge [ISBN: 0-415-94500-3], pp. 1-15

Hartsock, N. C. M. (1983). The Feminist Standpoint: Toward a Specifically Feminist Historical Materialism. In C. R. McCann et al. (eds.) (2010) Feminist Theory Reader: Local and Global Perspectives, 2nd Edition, London: Routledge [978-04-155-2102-4], pp. 316-331

Jayawardena, K. (1986). Women, Social Reform and Nationalism in India. In K. Jayawardena (1986): Feminism and Nationalism in the Third World. New Delhi/London: Kali for Women/Zed Books Ltd [ISBN: 978-0862322656], pp. 73-108

Kumar, R. (1993). The History of Doing. An Illustrated Account of Movements for Women’s Rights and Feminism in India 1800-1990, New Delhi: Kali for Women (ISBN: 0-85107-76-9)

Kumar, R. (2010). Dalit Personal Narratives. Reading Caste, Nation and Identity, Hyderabad: Orient Black Swan (ISBN: 978 81 250 4250 1)

Lalita, K.; Kannabiran, V., et al. (1989). ‚We Were Making History …‘: Life Stories of Women in the Telangana People´s Struggle, New Delhi: Kali for Women (ISBN: 81-85107-12-2)

McDowell, L. (1992), Doing Gender: Feminism, Feminists and Research Methods in Human Geography, Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, New Series, 17 (4), pp. 399-416

Oza, R. (2006). The Making of Neoliberal India. Nationalism, Gender and the Paradoxes of Globalization, New Delhi: Women Unlimited (ISBN: 81-88965-32-4)

Patnaik,Utsa (2007). Neoliberalism and rural poverty in India, Economic and Political Weekly, 42(30), 3121-3150

Personal Communication (2012): group discussion, Sangareddy.

Personal Communication (2012): group discussion, Yellareddy.

Rao, H. C. H. (2014). The New Telangana State: A Perspective for Inclusive and Sustainable Development, Economic and Political Weekly, XLIX (9), pp. 10-13

Rose, G. (1997). Situating Knowledges: Positionality, Reflexivities and Other Tactics, Progress in Human Geography, 21(3), pp. 305-320

Spivak, G. C. (1985). Subaltern Studies: Deconstructing Historiography. In D. Landry; G. MacLean (eds.) The Spivak Reader. Selected Worls of

Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak. New York/London: Routledge [ISBN: 978-0415910019], pp. 203-235

Sundarayya, P. (1997/2014). Telangana People´s Struggle and its Lessons, New Delhi: Foundation Books (ISBN: 978-93-82993-85-8)

Thapan, M. (2009). Living the Body. Embodiment, Womanhood and Identity in Contemporary India. New Delhi/Los

Angeles/London/Singapore/Washington DC: Sage Publications (ISBN: 978-81-7829-901-3)

The Poor Daily Wage Labourer (year unknown), Hyderabad, India: APMSS.

The Village is Ours (year unknown), Hyderabad, India: APMSS.

Together We Make a Path … The Journey from Sangham to Mahila Court (year unknown). Together We Make a Path … The Journey from

Sangham to Mahila Court, Hyderabad, India: APMSS.
Walkers Katy Le Mons (2008). Neoliberalism on the Ground in Rural India: Predatory Growth, Agrarian Crisis, Internal Colonization, and the Intensification of Class Struggle, The Journal of Peasant Studies, 35(4), 557-620

Zubrzycki, J. (2006). The Last Nizam. The Rise and Fall of India´s Greatest Princely State, Sydney: Macmillan (ISBN: 13 978 1 4472 1889 0)