Changing Perspective of Hindu Marriage
Marriage is one of the important institute of Hindu laws. Dhramasastras were considered the oldest authority on institutes of Hindu laws; however cannot be described by one single category of law or religion or philosophy or intellectual discourse. Dhramasastras means teaching or science of righteousness and dhrama implies obligations, which constituted the duties of a person. In a collective sense, it constituted a ‘Body of Law’. It was the general opinion of the Pandits that Brahma taught his law to Manu, the first legislator.
The rules propounded by the Dhramasastras laid down the code of conduct and entire life cycle of Hindus from birth to death in the form of four ashrams. Marriage constituted the important role in this life cycle as a sacrament. Manu described law of marriage in general, different forms of marriage, its manner, regulations and law concerning husband and wife.
In the early days of British Rule Hindu subjects were governed by their own laws as recorded in Dharmsastras; however efforts were made to codification of Hindu laws. Because of colonial intervention Hindu law emerged as an established category in the legal administration during British rule. Now Hindu marriage is governed by Hindu Marriage Act 1955, theoretically still Hindu marriage is considered as a sacrament but practically its forms and nature are drastically changed. The paper tries to explore and analyses the historical and legal perspective of Hindu marriage.
Meena Kumari is Assistant Professor at Faculty of Law, University of Delhi. She was permanently selected at the post of Assistant Professor in 2018. She has obtained her LL.B. from Campus Law Centre, Faculty of Law, University of Law in 2013 and LL.M. from Faculty of Law, University of Law in 2015. She holds Junior Research Fellowship awarded by UGC, India. She is enrolled under PhD programme, Faculty of Law, University of Delhi and pursuing the same since 2016 (recently submitted thesis & waiting for final award of degree). Her areas of interest include Personal Laws.