Thursday, December 16, 2004

"In a major blow to patriarchy..."

"In a major blow to patriarchy..." -- only in the Indian media do you get such beautiful lead-ins!

It actually applies to something quite serious:
In a major blow to patriarchy among Hindus, the Union Cabinet today cleared a legislative proposal to introduce equality between men and women in their rights over joint family property.

Amending the Hindu Succession Act 1956, the proposed Bill gives the daughter entry for the first time into the “coparcenary” of her family—which means she will be counted among those members who are entitled to seek partition and get equal shares in the ancestral property. The Bill states that in a joint Hindu family, the daughter of a coparcener shall “by birth become a coparcener” and have “the same rights in the coparcenary property as she would have had if she had been a son.” As a corollary, the daughter will be bound by the common liabilities and can even become the “karta” (or loosely the head) of the joint family.

About time. This is the kind of thing that people like Githa Hariharan and Madhu Kishwar have been talking about for years.

The "coparcenary" problem is also one of the issues that makes the debates over the Uniform Civil Code more complex than people often like to admit. While the Muslim Marriage Act is certainly the more backward, the fact is, there are further reforms that need to be made to the Hindu Marriage Act as well. This is one of them.

Well, let's see if this thing passes.

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