‘Raising the Curtain,’ through the study of women performers in colonial and Independent India, points the question of gender and patriarchy.
Being the most public women, women performers unsettle the category of gender divided along castes, class, sexuality and the private/public paradigm.
Women performers never create a homogenous category. They differ in their roles, agency, issues, concerns and lives significantly because of their different social and cultural locations.
The enjoyed different status with regard to various period of time. They ranged from the royally patronised nagarbandhu and ganika in ancient India, to the lower-caste performers of popular theatres, to the politically powerful tawaifs in medieval India, to subaltern women actresses in elite theatre of colonial India, to educated middle-class women of the Indian People’s Theatre Movement of the 1940s, whose primary aim was to bring about social and political change.
This volume also highlights cultural labour, which has remained invisible in mainstream labour history and also devalued in mainstream society because of its linkage with caste, class, gender, sexuality and cultural politics.