Indian Muslim Mothers and their Maternal Subjectivity


  • Syeda Naghma ABIDI PhD Scholar, Ambedkar University, Delhi, India


Maternal subjectivity is defined in terms of emerging agency of a mother as a woman within the interface with her child. It entails engagement with the experience of motherhood and womanhood to define a sense of self. In psychoanalysis, this ground of interaction with the mother is seen as a key influencer to the evolution of one’s identity much before the phase of oedipal complex. For many years, the mother-child relationship was understood from the child’s perspective but in recent times, due recognition has been given to the Mother as a subject as well. This paper is an attempt to capture her voice to address her dilemmas and efforts to negotiate with the fragmented self within her to contribute to her emerging agency. Existing work around maternal subjectivity has a predominantly western lens, theoretical underpinnings have been taken from the work of Jessica Benjamin and Alison Stone, but the effort was to capture the voices of Middle class Muslim mothers of adolescent daughters. In the Indian context, Sudhir Kakar has worked extensively to explore Indian Psyche; however the realm of the Muslim mother’s experience is still on nascent ground. It has been found that contemporary Indian Muslim mothers struggle in their efforts to sync their agency with conflict coming from their mothered experiences, and contemporary societal realities. Exploratory in its nature, data was collected through in-depth interviews conducted with 10 mothers.This paper was developed on the analysis of two interviews conducted as part of the larger research.

KEYWORDS: Maternal Subjectivity, Indian Muslim Mothers, Intersubjectivity, Maternal Negotiations