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Hindu Code Bill Controversy in India (1941-1956)

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The Greatest Debate in Indian Social History

Hindu Code Bill : A Brief Intro

The decade of 1940s was a vital decade in Indian history. The nation was bestowed with the unprecedented opportunity to transform itself as a modern nation. To build a modern nation,  a variety of  economic , political, social and cultural factors had to come to terms with each other. The vision of planned economic development and self reliance within a curious mixture of socialism and capitalism led to the evolution of   political structures within the ambit  a democratic set up. As economic and political forces reconfigured themselves to contribute towards the emergence of the modern economy, the cultural milieu also experienced  the need  for alignment to the  aspirations of an emerging nation. The protracted  debate over the Hindu Code Bill  with widespread participation across  all regions  and segments of the Indian society  between 1941 and 1956 , known as the Hindu Code Bill debate , epitomised the necessity  of the society to strike an alliance with the forces of modernization. Customary Hindu laws, frozen in  religious beliefs of centuries , came to be challenged by the egalitarian, secular structure envisioned by the leaders of the modern Indian nation.The extensive  Hindu Code Bill debate, in both public and legislative spheres, was of momentous importance to the entire project of carving a new, secular India. It was the debate that contributed to the family law reforms that influenced, to a great extent, the distribution of power and resources within the society, particularly at a granular level, within the family and enabled Indian society to align with the planned economic progress and modernisation.

Works on Hindu Code Bill

·         Chitra Sinha , Debating Patriarchy : The Hindu Code Bill Controversy in India (1941-1956) ,  Oxford University Press,  India and USA, 2012.

·         Agnes, Flavia, Law and Gender Inequality: The Politics of Women's Rights in India, Oxford University Press, New Delhi, 1999.

·         Khairmoday, Changdeo Bhavanroa , Dr.Ambedkar ani Hindu Code Bill, Sugawa Prakashan, Pune, 1999.

·         Kumar, Radha, The History of Doing: An Illustrated Account of Movements for Women's Rights and Feminism in India, 1800- 1990, Kali for Women, 1993.

·         Parashar, Archana, Women and Family Law Reform in India, Sage Publishers, New Delhi, 1992.

·         Ray, Bharati(ed.), From the Seams of History, Oxford University Press, New Delhi, 1995.

·         Rodrigues, Valentine (ed), The Essential Writings of B.R.Ambedkar, Oxford University Press, New Delhi, 2002.

·         Kishwar, M, Codified Hindu Law - Myth and Reality, Economic and Political Weekly, Volume XXIX, No. 33, August 13,1994.




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