Women’s Rights and Law Codes in Early India, 600 BCE–570 ACE: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

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

1st Edition

By Sita Anantha Raman

Routledge India

216 pages

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Hardback: 9780367198695
pub: 2020-05-19
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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. Itlooks 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

Table of Contents

Introduction. Part I: Historical Prelude 1. Antecedents and Preview 2. Early Vedic Era Part II: Later Vedic Era and Dharma Sūtras 3. Vedic Scriptures, Janapadas, Women 4. Jaina and Buddhist Canon and Women 5. Dharma Sūtras Part III: Mauryan- Classical Era: Arthaśāstra and Manu Smŗiti 6. Mauryan Empire and Arthaśāstra 7. Early Classical Era 8. Arthaśāstra and Manu Part IV: Later Classical Era: Yājňavalkya Smŗiti and Nārada Smŗiti 9. Pre-Guptan and Guptan Monarchs 10. Yājňavalkya Smŗiti and Nārada Smŗiti. Bibliography. Index.

About the Author

Sita Anantha Raman is Emerita Associate Professor of History at Santa Clara University, California, and Visiting Professor of History at the University of Georgia, Athens. The author’s earlier publications include three books: Getting Girls to School, A.Madhavaiah, and Women in India (Volumes 1 and 2). She has also written numerous journal articles.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / General
HISTORY / Asia / India & South Asia
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Regional Studies