The book explores a significant episode of Indian social history, the Hindu Code Bill controversy that stirred the Indian social consciousness in the mid-twentieth century. Revisiting the communicative processes surrounding the reform of Hindu customary laws relating to marriage, divorce, succession, adoption and maintenance, the book provides an in-depth account of the intense debate that took place in and outside the legislature involving political groups, social associations, religious organizations, legal associations, and the women's movement. Placing the debate in a historical continuum, the author tracess 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 Indian national movement as well as women's organizations in early twentieth century. The book analyses the relationship of discourses in the public and legislative spheres and emphases the role of Nehru, Ambedkar, B.N. Rau and other prominent personalities in the promotion of gender justice. The book 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, thus contributing towards gender justice in Indian society.
This book will interest scholars, researchers, and students of law, modern Indian history, and gender studies. It will also appeal to general readers.