Marriage and Family

Ashutosh Dayal Mathur

in Medieval Hindu Law

Published in print February 2007 | ISBN: 9780195685589
Published online October 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199081578 | DOI:
Marriage and Family

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This chapter deals with the title of dispute traditionally called strī-pum-dharma which seeks to regulate the mutual conduct of men and women both within, and outside marriage. Dharma śāstra, in all its stages of evolution, adopts an overly protective attitude towards women, and prescribes that they must always remain under the ‘manly’ protection of fathers, husbands, sons or other male members of the family. Sṃrtis as well as medieval authors are terrified at the very thought of women taking liberties. Ideally, they would want them to be confined within the four walls of their homes. The whole tradition is extremely paranoid about women getting corrupted by contact with outsiders. Yet, vyvahāra sections of dharma śāstra texts are much more pragmatic and willing to accept these transgressions as fait accompli and suitably accommodate those transgressions.

Keywords: dharma śāstra; strī-pum-dharma; family law; manly protection; women liberties; vyvahāra

Chapter.  6937 words. 

Subjects: History of Law

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