masculinity, on the other hand, praises strong, rational, and competitive
characteristics, which are superior to femininity as well as other constructs
of masculinity. The construction of hegemonic masculinity is often illustrated
through the military, where being a soldier is traditionally characterised as
possessing these masculine traits, which include capacity for violence.24
Such characteristics, which associate masculinity with strength and rationality while the opposite is aligned to femininity, are encouraged through social
institutions that reinforce gender
’. Nandy argues that ‘the main threat to the colonizers is … the latent fear
that the colonized will reject the consensus and, instead of trying to redeem their
“masculinity” by becoming the counter players of the rulers according to the
established rules, will discover an alternative frame of reference within which the
oppressed do not seem weak, degraded and distorted men trying to break the
monopoly of the rulers on a fixed quantity of machismo’ (Nandy, 2001: 175–6).
Gandhi successfully played on these fears.
In the meantime, the Muslims in India were becoming more