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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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Minority Accommodation, Cultural Mobilization, and Legal Practice

Minority Accommodation, Cultural Mobilization, and Legal Practice

The Experiences of Muslim Law and Christian Law

(p.199) Chapter 5 Minority Accommodation, Cultural Mobilization, and Legal Practice
Nation and Family

Narendra Subramanian

Stanford University Press

This chapter discusses the laws governing India's two largest religious minorities, Muslims and Christians. Policy makers retained distinct minority laws to accommodate minorities, but their limited engagement with minority initiatives and traditions and their stereotypes about Muslims being backward led them not to change minority laws after independence, even though support for personal-law reform was comparable among Muslims and Hindus. The growth of minority reformist mobilization and the engagement of more Hindu activists and policymakers with such initiatives enabled changes in minority law starting in the 1970s. Notably, alimony was required and unilateral male repudiation restricted among Muslims, and divorce rights increased for Christians and Parsis. Hindu-centered policy visions still limited the accommodation of demands to reform minority law (such as granting adoption rights to Christians), dissuaded legislation to increase Muslim women's rights (for example, to agricultural land), and kept Muslim law most distinctive.

Keywords:   Nationalist discourses and minority accommodation, minority personal laws, Muslim law, Christian law, minority religious discourses and religious mobilization, alimony among Muslims and Christians, unilateral male repudiation, Christian and Parsi divorce rights, adoption rights, Shariat Act

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