THIS is a book on borders and bordered existences with a special emphasis on the gender dimension of the existences. Replete with experiences of women, in author’s view, “the women geographically located in the borders define their many borders as well as themselves”.
This book discusses the security/insecurity of vulnerable communities living around the borders and contends that to understand borders, one has to understand the lives of women living in these borders and by creating and controlling borders, states create “bordered existences” – a new kind of marginality that affects women and frequently other marginal groups, such as migrant workers, ethnic groups, trafficked migrant workers and people with HIV and AIDS. In their struggle for existence lie the other histories of borders.
The narrative be Borders, Histories, Existences: Gender and Beyond, Paula Banerjee, Sage Pubications, Pp 254, Rs 650.00 gins with those who purport to ‘man’ borders constructed by them. We see how they constantly treat borders as given, even when they are evolving. While constructing the borders, they make the choices which define who is on which side of the border. This is a conscious choice. Border security is translated into militarisation of borders and control of borders.
This book narrates the tales of these aliens and others. Women on the borders have led a life of extreme hardship as they are targets for both the security personnel and the criminals. The story of Naga mothers and Meira Paibies reveal that women have to work to break the circle of insecurity. Here the author draws attention to the border people across the Line of Control, the Indo-Pak border, the Indo-China border, the Indo-Bangladesh, the Indo-Nepal and the Indo-Myanmar borders-each part of these regions is undergoing social and political turmoil where more and more women are getting marginalised.
This book tries to chronicle the processes whereby “attempts to control the ethnic others” is steadily transforming into control of women, migrant workers, the trafficked AIDS victims. But can this be controlled? “The negotiation for freedom continues and so too the tussle for ownership of the border- The saga continues.”
(Sage Publications India Ltd, B-1/I-1 Mohan Cooperative Industrial Area, Mathura Road, New Delhi-110 044.)