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Nation and FamilyPersonal Law, Cultural Pluralism, and Gendered Citizenship in India$
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Narendra Subramanian

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780804788786

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804788786.001.0001

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Recasting the Normative National Family

Recasting the Normative National Family

Changes in Hindu Law and Commonly Applicable Matrimonial Laws Since the 1960s

(p.137) Chapter 4 Recasting the Normative National Family
Nation and Family

Narendra Subramanian

Stanford University Press

This chapter explores the changes since the 1960s in Hindu law, which increased divorce rights and the rights of daughters in family joint property, and in commonly applicable matrimonial laws, which strengthened alimony entitlements and support for women and children facing domestic violence. These changes made nuclear-family membership more important and patrilineal kinship less important as a basis of rights and responsibilities, and promoted conjugal autonomy and women's entitlements. Decline in lineage power and the importance of landed property combined with the growth of rights organizations and policy institutions that address gender relations enabled these reforms. Political elites and judges only promoted changes in family practices they felt they had a basis in indigenous cultures, and politicians continued to seek broad coalitions. This dissuaded changes that could empower women such as dissolving joint property and restricting testamentary rights, but not a recent proposal to recognize rights in matrimonial property.

Keywords:   assessments of matrimonial fault, mutual consent and no-fault divorce, conjugal rights, maintenance rights and obligations, inheritance rights, shares in joint property, land rights, Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act, matrimonial property

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