Notions of Gender: Rehabilitating refugee women in Partition’s aftermath

This article seeks to recover the experience and agency of refugee women during the process of rehabilitation after Partition, focusing on technical training.2 It explores the ideas that underpinned the process of rehabilitating refugee women in the immediate years following the Partition of India in August 1947, within the Bombay state. This article contributes to attempts in the historiography to challenge conventional histories of Partition that have marginalised women and focuses on recovering the agency of refugee women in rebuilding and reshaping their lives.It will be argued that the Bombay state’s notions of gender shaped and informed
the type and content of rehabilitation that unattached refugee women received. Whilst the state showed little evidence of any genuine concern regarding the welfare of refugee women, unofficial organisations designed and implemented various schemes to rehabilitate refugee women. This article will reveal the fraught and unequal relationship, between a relatively absent state, and these unofficial organisations.

Kana, Sandip