The Book Cover
Released on 3rd October 2011

Available at all leading book stalls.

Table of Contents and Sample Chapter

Aiming to expand our understanding of the role of institutions, norms, and key players in shaping the evolution of child rights in India. It traces the evolution of the child rights discourse in post-Independence India, suggesting that there are different and political ways of thinking about childhoods.

Divided into three parts, the book begins with analyses of the effects of Partition, which while creating new political and cultural identities framed the child-State relationship. The second part further examines the ways in which the multiplicity of discourses during the nationalist struggle gave way to a singular view, seen in later public conversations on children and their rights. The third part explores the narratives of continuity and change, and maps the departures of memory, history, and identity.

The book emphasizes the point that more than any other event or process, the violence and fears aroused by Partition have influenced the course of modern child development related policy-making. The relationship between the political and cultural identities of all the actors, who influenced the experience of childhoods, had also been deeply affected by these events.

This book offers invaluable insights to researchers and policymakers as well as students and teachers of law, social work, development studies, gender studies, and politics.

Reviews and Articles

Perspective on Child Well-Being - An Article by the Author on Economic & Political Weekly, Vol-XLIX No.35, August 30, 2014

Alienation of Chacha Review by Sreelatha Menon in Business Standard on January 9, 2012

The book asks for viewing the child, not just as a category, based on age and family situation, but within the political and social context.Read more of this review

Review in The Telegraph on December 16, 2011

Balakrishnan analyses competing discourses and their implications.She leaves readers to judge whether Thomas Hobbes's model of the 'minimalist' State or Hugo Grotius' model of the interventionist/paternalistic State as an embodiment of 'collective responsibility' is more viable in defining the child-State relationship in contemporary India. Read more of this review

Review in The Hindu on December 20, 2011

Contributions to Indian Sociology 2013 - Review by Shanti George

The remarkable feat of Balakrishnan's book is to sketch a meta-narrative of policitcal discourses about children and childhood, across the sub-continental expanse of India, from the late colonial period through Independence to the early 21st Century.Readers, both inside and outside the country, who have been led to believe that debates on children and their rights are largely Euro-American in origin and momentum, will now have evidence and case to remonstrate that in other parts of the world too, policitcal discourses have address critical issues about children and childhood Read more of this review