Chapter

The Hour of Reckoning: Orthodox Hinduism and the Age of Consent Bill Controversy in Bengal (c. 1890–1892)

Amiya P. Sen

in Hindu Revivalism in Bengal c.1872-1905

Published in print February 2001 | ISBN: 9780195655391
Published online October 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199080625 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195655391.003.0006
The Hour of Reckoning: Orthodox Hinduism and the Age of Consent Bill Controversy in Bengal (c. 1890–1892)

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This chapter examines the Consent Bill controversy in Bengal in relation to orthodox Hinduism. It explains that the law sought to prevent the sexual abuse of both married and unmarried women below a legally determined age and raised the minimum age of consent which in effect increased the scope of criminal law to punish the male sexual offender. Though many orthodox protesters opposed the bill, they eventually resigned themselves to its eventual outcome. This chapter suggests that it was the confidence in West-inspired political or social change and the faith in the instrumentality of the British government in India that helped men to finally turn away from recourse to traditional modes of change. It also discusses the history of marriage reform in India and the Rukmabai case in Bombay in 1887.

Keywords: Consent Bill controversy; sexual abuse; age of consent; male sexual offender; political change; social change; British government; marriage reform; Rukmabai case; orthodox Hinduism

Chapter.  15386 words. 

Subjects: Hinduism

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