Author: Werner F Menski
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN/UPC (if available): 978-0-19-569921-0
This book critically analyses the development of Hindu law from the ancient period to its emergence as a postmodern phenomenon in the twenty-first century. The author uses comparative social theory literature to establish that Hindu law must be viewed both as an ancient, constantly evolving conceptual entity and a living legal system. Hindu law has recently experienced a process of conceptual remolding through the justice-conscious actions of an activist judiciary.
In this study, the author examines the limits of our understanding of the historical development of central Hindu concepts within classical, postclassical, colonial, and postcolonial contexts. Using theoretical arguments he analyses important areas of Hindu family law. Examining existing literature on the laws of marriage, polygamy, child marriage, and divorce and maintenance from the Vedic period to the present, he establishes that Hindu law has developed beyond the axioms of tradition and modernity to emerge as a postmodern phenomenon. He concludes with an analysis of he inadequacies of modernist discourses in relation to Hindu law.
This enormously rich and intensively researched volume will be valuable to scholars and students of law, religion, sociology, and philosophy. It will also interest social theorists, lawyers, and general readers.
Big, but accessible, written with immense verve, panache and ambition .. The importance of this book transcends agreement or disagreement with its central thesis .. Compulsory reading on Hindu Law.
--- The Hindu
Menski persuasively demonstrates how Hindu statutory and case law have accomplished a messy compromise between textual traditionalism and modernist centralism. The book is extensively researched, delightfully spirited and refreshingly original.
--- The Book Review
PART I: HISTORICAL AND CONCEPTUAL BACKGROUND
Rising from the Ashes: Postmodern Hindu Law
Antecedents and Concepts of Traditional Hindu Law
The Post-classical Evolution of Hindu Law and its Colonial Distortions
Origins of Modernity in Hindu Law: Emerging Discourse on Reforms and Codification
Contesting Modernity: Post colonial Evolution of Hindu Law
Transcending Modernity: The Postmodern Reconstruction of Hindu Law
PART II: SUBSTANTIVE HINDU LAW BEYOND TRADITION AND MODERNITY
Hindu Marriage Law
PART III: CONCLUDING ANALYSIS
Postmodernity and Beyond
Table of Cases
List of Statutes