Anveshi was set up in 1985 in Hyderabad by a small group of activist-scholars to provide resources to research and develop a feminist theory relevant to women’s lives in contemporary India. Today we are one of the foremost non-university research centers in India. Our work focuses on six research initiatives: education; health and health care systems; law and critical legal theory; dalits and minorities; development; and public domain. Projects in these initiatives examine the shifts in development theory; the crisis of medicine in the Indian context; hegemonic perspectives in school textbooks; the question of secularism and minority in Indian politics; the problematic nature of law and rights in domestic violence; and thinking about what it entails to be a ‘Dalit woman’ in modern India.
Our history of campaigns around violence and law in the last twenty years has forced a rethinking on questions of feminist law reform, rights and advocacy. Our involvement in the Uniform Civil Code debates in the 1990s enabled us to interrogate entrenched notions of nation, secularism and religion. All these insights drive our current work on minority. Drawing on our sustained work in women’s health and the two health books resulting from it, we are currently collaborating with Christian Medical College, Vellore, on a project aimed at rethinking medical education in India.
Anveshi’s work has constantly engaged with caste as it operates in the procedures and institutions of everyday life in modern India. Beginning with a strong focus on caste atrocities, discrimination and reservation policies, our work has since traveled to examining institutions such as welfare and education with the caste question in mind. Our research in school education has foregrounded the problems with existing wisdom on curricular transactions, children from marginalized backgrounds, and notions of ideal childhoods.
In all our research we have found it useful to situate women and their experiences in the relationships, institutions and structures that give them an objective reality: as recipients of health care policies; undervalued participants in political struggles; bearers of the costs of development; and victims of violence seeking state protection. We have been alert to the problems of dominant perspectives that focus solely on ‘women’, treating constitutive contexts such as nation, caste, development and culture as mere additive categories. This caution has enabled us to interrogate some of the major impasses of Indian feminism, and work towards crucial alliances in relation to caste, minority and law.
Read about Anveshi’s institutional and working culture.
Read about Anveshi’s collaborations with civil societal and political groups and other research organisations.
Acknowledgments: We would like to express our gratitude to Srinivas Vellikad who has designed (and is continuing to maintain) this website pro bono. The earlier version of website was designed (also free of charge) by Adley Siddiqi who is now unable to continue maintaining it. Our presence on the web is due to these generous and quiet contributors of effort to the Anveshi cause.