Hindu Widow Marriage

Kobo ebook | November 15, 2011

byIshvarchandra Vidyasagar, Brian A. Hatcher

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Before the passage of the Hindu Widow's Re-marriage Act of 1856, Hindu tradition required a woman to live as a virtual outcast after her husband's death. Widows were expected to shave their heads, discard their jewelry, live in seclusion, and undergo regular acts of penance. Ishvarchandra Vidyasagar was the first Indian intellectual to successfully argue against these cruelties. A Sanskrit scholar and passionate social reformer, Vidyasagar was a leading proponent of widow marriage in colonial India, urging contemporaries to reject a ban that caused countless women to suffer needlessly.

Vidyasagar's brilliant strategy paired a rereading of Hindu scripture with an emotional plea on behalf of the widow, resulting in an organic reimagining of Hindu law and custom. Vidyasagar made his case through his two-part publication Hindu Widow Marriage, a tour de force of logic, erudition, and humanitarian rhetoric. Translating the entire text into English for the first time, Brian A. Hatcher makes one of the nineteenth-century's most important treatises on Indian social reform available to an English-speaking audience. An expert on Vidyasagar, Hinduism, and colonial Bengal, he enhances his work with a substantial introduction describing Vidyasagar's multifaceted career, as well as the history of colonial debates on widow marriage. He innovatively interprets the significance of Hindu Widow Marriage within Indian culture and philosophy, situating the text in relation to indigenous intellectual practices. In addition, Hatcher provides an overview of basic Hindu categories for first-time readers, a glossary of technical vocabulary, and an extensive bibliography, making the text accessible to students and scholars alike.

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Before the passage of the Hindu Widow's Re-marriage Act of 1856, Hindu tradition required a woman to live as a virtual outcast after her husband's death. Widows were expected to shave their heads, discard their jewelry, live in seclusion, and undergo regular acts of penance. Ishvarchandra Vidyasagar was the first Indian intellectual to...

Ishvarchandra Vidyasagar (1820-1891) was a Sanskrit scholar, author, educator, and social reformer. A leading figure in the Bengal Renaissance, he was responsible for transformations in everything from Bengali prose style and printing techniques to Sanskrit curriculum and Hindu social practices.Brian A. Hatcher is professor and Packar...
Format:Kobo ebookPublished:November 15, 2011Publisher:Columbia University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0231526601

ISBN - 13:9780231526609

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Table of Contents


Preface
A Word About the Translation
Hindu Categories for First-Time Readers
Chronology: Events Pertaining to the Widow Marriage Movement in Bengal
Introduction
A Short Life of Ishvarchandra Vidyasagar
Widow Marriage in Bengal
Hindu Widow Marriage as Modern-Day Commentary
The Real Significance of Hindu Widow Marriage
Hindu Widow Marriage: The Complete English Translation
Book One
Book Two
Glossary
Bibliography
Index

Editorial Reviews

Hatcher's masterly translation of Ishvarchandra Vidyasagar's Hindu Widow Remarriage affords us a rare opportunity to peer deeply into the world of the nineteenth-century Bengali intelligentsia... [this translation] must now be considered "required reading."