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All through the history of revolutionary upsurges women have actively taken up various roles. They have forgone the traditional assigned roles of wives, mothers and sisters and have assumed leadership roles, going beyond just rendering support to male combatants. In the different liberation wars of Africa, Latin America and Asia women have proved to be brave fighters. The Maoist movement in India has attracted a number of women cadres, over the years. Women combatants have outnumbered their male counter-parts in some of the crucial military operations. The Maoists’ publication titled “Women martyrs of the Indian Revolution” (2006) highlights that, “women from the most oppressed sections, join in large numbers”. Both young girls and grown up women of different ages actively participate in the Maoist movement. They have proved themselves as professional fighters in the Peoples' War and a few have attained crucial leadership positions at various levels. Besides direct military roles, they have engaged themselves as propagandists, organizers, espionage workers, logistics suppliers, nurses and cultural activists, as cadre managers and as human shield to combatants. This study will make an attempt to address the agency and motivations of women that led them to make a decision of joining the movement and will also focus on the debates regarding how women’s experiences in the movement changed their viewpoints regarding gender discourses in the society. It will also explore the challenges faced by women combatants in the movement and ex-combatants when they try to integrate into the larger society.  

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Bijayani Mishra (India) 8287
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