Inter-area/Border Crossing

Organized Panel Session

Women in Distress: Examples from the Ottoman and Mughal/post-Mughal Settings

Saturday, July 7
12:10 PM - 1:40 PM
Location: Magnolia, Lower Ground Floor

Women not only suffered physical violence but mental and emotional pressures as well. Based on palace chronicles, Shadab Bano’s paper discusses the sufferings of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century women at home: while the Mughal state took a paternalistic attitude, claiming to defend the weak, in practice patriarchal norms governed official reactions. In the Ottoman context, female victims of violence had long developed strategies to obtain some satisfaction; but as Başak Tuğ shows, by the mid-1800s, Ottoman laws were changing, and female complainants had to adjust their strategies accordingly.


In early colonial Bengal, local women cohabiting with British men suffered from two types of domination: the control of British members of the elite over their servants, apart from the ubiquitous gender bias. Ruchika Sharma asks whether the Bengali concubine, though a servant under the control of the household head, perhaps enjoyed a special status. When was the concubine the victim of violence, and when did she inflict violent punishment on ‘lesser’ servants?


Misogynistic attitudes dominated the art world too, as Ottoman women experienced when embarking on a writing career. As Emine Doğan shows, according to prevailing norms, the ideal woman was invisible and silent. Breaking this silence, the female poet made men uncomfortable and often doubted her own capabilities and legitimacy. Tülay Artan studies Ottoman miniatures of the 1600s and 1700s that sometimes depicted illicit sexual encounters. When discovered, it was always the fault of the women… 

Suraiya Nadira. Faroqhi

Ibn Haldun University, Turkey

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Suraiya Nadira. Faroqhi

Ibn Haldun University, Turkey

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Basak Tug

Istanbul Bilgi University, Turkey

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Shadab Bano

Aligarh Muslim University, India

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Emine Dogan

Ibn Haldun University, Turkey

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Tülay Artan

Sabanci University, Turkey

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Ruchika Sharma

University of Delhi, India

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Harbans Mukhia

Jawaharlal Nehru University, India

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