The Dashing Ladies of Shiv Sena

Political Matronage in Urbanizing India

By Tarini Bedi

Subjects: India And South Asian Studies, Asian Studies, Women's Studies, Anthropology, Religion
Series: SUNY series in Hindu Studies
Paperback : 9781438460307, 318 pages, January 2017
Hardcover : 9781438460314, 318 pages, May 2016

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Table of contents

Note on Transliteration
Dashing, Daring, and the Seduction of Political Persona1
1. “Just Doing Dashing” in Uncertain Places
2. Performance, Dashing, Image
3. The Poetics and Politics of the Dashing Ladies
4. Political Machinations, Electoral Campaigns, and the Texture of Politics

5. The Public Event: Political Spectacle and Public Sites of Dashing

6. Intimate Politics and Alliance-Building

7. Women, Urban Wisdom, and the Illicit Politics of Housing in Mumbai

8. Politics and the Relations of Domesticity

9. The Gendered Politics of the Malkin in Pune City

Conclusion: (Re)-theorizing Political Brokerage: Political Matronage?


Explores the activities and political personas of women activists in Shiv Sena, a militant Indian political party.


Rich in detail, this book tells the stories of women of Shiv Sena (Shivaji's Army), a militant political party in Western India. It provides insight into the political networks powered by lower-level women politicians in postcolonial, globalizing cities and on their margins. Based on more than ten years of in-depth ethnographic fieldwork with the women of Shiv Sena, the work shows how women political activists in urbanizing India conjure political authority through the inventive, dangerous, and transgressive political personas known as "dashing ladies." Tarini Bedi develops a feminist theory of brokerage politics, arguing that political grids where women employ political, symbolic, and material resources through the political system may be seen as channels of what can be termed "political matronage."

Tarini Bedi is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of Illinois at Chicago.


"Dashing Ladies significantly advances our understanding of how women participate in Hindu nationalist politics, and deserves a careful and widespread reading for its contributions to the second wave of literature on this phenomenon." — Pacific Affairs