women, but the number of groups involved, other than upper- and
  middle-class Hindu women, was never large. A few Muslim women
  were steadfast followers of Gandhi; many more either found it
  difficult to accept the overtly Hindu ideological basis of his ideas or
  were neglected by the Congress organisers.
• There were distinct regional differences in the number of women
  who joined, in their relationship with Congress leaders, and the extent
  to which they synthesised women’s interests with nationalist issues.
  • Bombay women were the best organised, the most independent,
      and fielded the largest demonstrations. Most of their leaders also
      belonged to women’s organisations and they articulated a clearly
      “feminist nationalism.”
  • In Bengal, women attracted a great deal of attention because of
      their militancy. Marching alongside men in the Congress parade
      and later, joining the revolutionary parties, they became the
      subjects of folksongs and legends. Their peaceful demonstrations
      were fewer but they too attracted a great deal of attention in a
      society where purdah was widely practiced. These women
      espoused a feminist ideology but time and again, put it aside in
      favour of the broader struggle.
  • In Madras, where leaders were unwilling to use women’s talents,
      fewer women joined the movement.
  • In North India, the Nehru and the Zutshi families provided strong
      women leaders who put the nationalist agenda first. One cannot
      doubt their grasp of the importance of feminist issues, but their
      immediate concern was mobilising women for political
      demonstrations. They did not think it possible to raise women’s
      consciousness about both politics and women’s rights at the same
• Most women leaders were unable to get beyond their own sense of
  respectability when they sought recruits. An exception to this of
  course were the women who joined the revolutionary movement.
  They worked closely with men, wore disguises, travelled alone or in
  the company of strangers, and learned how to shoot, drive cars and
  make bombs. Even though           they were valorised, they were not