Debating Patriarchy: The Hindu Code Bill Controversy in India (1941-1956)
During the 1940s and 1950s, India witnessed major transitions in the political, social, and cultural spheres. As the country embarked...
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Exploring this significant episode of Indian social history, this book attempts to unravel the formative process of family law by examining the discourse surrounding the Hindu Code Bill in a historical perspective. Revisiting the communicative processes around the Bill, the book provides an in-depth account of the intense debates that took place in and outside the legislature involving political groups, social associations, religious organizations, legal associations, and womens groups.
Placing the debate in a historical continuum, the author traces the genesis of the Hindu Code Bill by exploring the linkages of late eighteenth century initiatives of colonial administration, the efforts of eighteenth-century social reformers, and the contribution of the Indian national movement and womens organizations in early twentieth century.
The book also analyses the role of Nehru, Ambedkar, B.N. Rau, and other prominent personalities in the promotion of gender justice. It argues that while effective implementation of enabling legal provisions were impeded by deeply entrenched patriarchal structures in independent India, the debate contributed towards a gradual transformation of the Indian social consciousness, and towards the promotion of gender justice in Indian society.
About the Author
Chitra Sinha is a PhD from the University of Mumbai, and has been a visiting fellow, Centre for Study of Women, University of California at Los Angeles, USA. She has taught at the Visva Bharati University, SNDT Womens University, and in colleges affiliated to the University of Mumbai in a teaching career spanning two decades. She has been a recipient of several prestigious fellowships, including the SSRC Fellowship of the Ford Foundation and the New India Foundation Book Writing Fellowship.