In 2006, the Nepali government made it feasible for women to pass citizenship onto their children. In 2015, a new constitution overrode these gains and again made it impossible to grant citizenship through the maternal line alone. Nepal's current gender-discriminatory citizenship laws are rooted in historical social and geopolitical tensions with India, especially nationalistic fears about Indian encroachment into Nepali territory and politics. This article argues that resurgent resistance to equitable citizenship laws does not simply reflect hegemonic Hindu patriarchal norms. This resistance is also a reactive stance against Indian influence as embodied by the real and potential coupling of Nepali women and Indian men whose children would further “Indianize” Nepal. This article suggests that restricting Nepali women's right to pass citizenship is a form of policing the boundaries of the state body via policing women's bodies, especially their reproductive capabilities.
Citizenship in the Name of the Mother: Nationalism, Social Exclusion, and Gender in Contemporary Nepal
Barbara Grossman-Thompson, Dannah Dennis; Citizenship in the Name of the Mother: Nationalism, Social Exclusion, and Gender in Contemporary Nepal. positions 1 November 2017; 25 (4): 795–820. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/10679847-4188422
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