The Government of Social Life in Colonial India

The Government of Social Life in Colonial India : Liberalism, Religious Law, and Women's Rights

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From the early days of colonial rule in India, the British established a two-tier system of legal administration. Matters deemed secular were subject to British legal norms, while suits relating to the family were adjudicated according to Hindu or Muslim law, known as personal law. This important new study analyses the system of personal law in colonial India through a re-examination of women's rights. Focusing on Hindu law in western India, it challenges existing scholarship, showing how - far from being a system based on traditional values - Hindu law was developed around ideas of liberalism, and that this framework encouraged questions about equality, women's rights, the significance of bodily difference, and more broadly the relationship between state and society. Rich in archival sources, wide-ranging and theoretically informed, this book illuminates how personal law came to function as an organising principle of colonial governance and of nationalist political more

Product details

  • Electronic book text
  • Cambridge University Press (Virtual Publishing)
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • 1 b/w illus. 1 map
  • 1139415549
  • 9781139415545

Table of contents

Introduction; Part I. Economic Governance: 1. Property between law and political economy; 2. The dilemmas of social economy; Part II. The Politics of Personal Law: 3. Hindu law as a regime of rights; 4. Custom and human value in the debates on Hindu marriage; 5. Law, community, and belonging; more

About Rachel Sturman

Rachel Sturman is Associate Professor of History and Asian Studies at Bowdoin College. Her writing has appeared in many journals including Comparative Studies in Society and History, The Journal of Asian Studies, Economic and Political Weekly, and Gender and more