Women’s Rights and Law Codes in Early India, 600 BCE–570 ACE

1st Edition

Sita Anantha Raman

Routledge India
May 19, 2020 Forthcoming
Reference - 216 Pages
ISBN 9780367198695 - CAT# K418196


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This book looks at the first eight Sanskrit law codes written in India, between 600 BCE and 570 ACE. It focuses on the legal, religious and ethical customs which were codified in this period and their impact on the social and political life of women.

The volume analyzes texts such as the major Dharma Sūtras, the Arthaśāstra, the Manu Smŗiti, the Yāĵňyavalkya Smŗiti, and Nāradā Smŗiti, amongst others. It looks at how discourses on justice, conduct, virtues and duties were used to systematize patriarchy and the varna system in South Asia. This volume studies the laws and customs on marriage, patrimony, and property, and it highlights the anxieties around female chastity and varna lineage which led to the subordination of women and the lower varnas. The chapters also examine the emergence of heterodox movements, such as Therāvada Buddhism and Jainism, and their literature from the Later Vedic Era and the Classical Era. It examines the role of women in these heterodox sects, and the emergence of new spaces for women, as these changes were adopted in disparate ways and degrees by other South Asian communities.

The volume will be a useful resource for students and researchers of history, women and gender studies, social anthropology, sociology, and law. It will also serve as an information guide for readers who are interested in the political, and social life of women in early India

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