In my career as a journalist in India for about six years, I witnessed a tumultuous period of upheaval in the polity and the economy. I reported and wrote on the political economy, minority rights, and the relationship between law and society. My work involved travelling around Western Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, and Rajasthan. I also wrote extensively on the Supreme Court of India at a time when the stance of the judiciary vis-à-vis corruption in the corridors of power was at the forefront of public discourse. My reportage on the movement for personal law reform in India led by community initiatives aroused my intellectual curiosity in the subject. I had earlier engaged with the issue of the relationship between liberalism and religious identity while working with a human rights collective called Femine Ijtihad. I was also engaged in a research project on madarsa education and ideas of citizenship in Pakistan as a post-graduate student at the School of Oriental and African Studies.I was awarded the Felix scholarship to study for a Masters in South Asian Studies with a focus on Politics, Law, and Anthropology at the School of Oriental and African Studies. I studied for a BA in English Literature with History and Philosophy as subsidiary subjects. In my PhD thesis at the Department of Politics and International Studies, I propose to look at the relationship between religion and constitutionalism in the context of Muslim personal law reform in India. I propose to combine a discourse analysis of the judgments of the Supreme Court with an ethnographic study of sharia courts run by women in Mumbai to examine the discursive constitution of religion and a liberal ‘rights’ regime.
University of Calcutta
School of Oriental and African Studies