The essays in this collection address the problem of Hindu women's relationship to authority, both within and without the textual traditions of Sanskrit, Tamil, Hindi, and English. The authors adopt a method of close textual and ethnographic reading, which results in some surprisingly new and subtle ways of interpreting older, more "classical" discourses, such as Veda and Mimamsa, as well as newer discourses, such as the RSS use of the Devimahatmya.
Contributors ; Abbreviations ; Introduction ; PART II. ANCIENT ARGUMENTS ; 1. The Housemistress at the Door: Vedic and Buddhist Perspectives on the Mendicant Encounter ; 2. Ritual Rights: The Gender Implications of Adhik-ara ; 3. Mantras and Miscarriage: Controlling Birth in the Late Vedic Period ; PART II. CLASSICAL ARGUMENTS ; 4. Giver or Given? Some Marriages in K-alid-asa ; 5. Om, the Vedas, and the Status of Women with Special Reference to 'Sr-ivaisnavism ; 6. Casting Light on the Sounds of the Tamil Veda: Tirukk-on-eri D-asyai's "Garland of Words" ; PART III. REFORM AND COMTEMPORARY ARGUMENTS ; 7. By What Authority? Hindu Women and the Legitimization of Reform in the Nineteenth Century ; 8. Hindu Nationalist Women: On the Use of the Feminine Symbolic to (Temporarily) Displace Male Authority ; 9. Counterpoint Authority in Women's Ritual Expressions: A View from the Village ; Afterword ; Bibliography ; Index