Position of Women in India

Topics: Family, Inheritance, Son Pages: 5 (1946 words) Published: May 21, 2011

“Savitri fought with the God of Death (Yama) and succeeded in getting her husband back to life. Can you find any instance in the scriptures or history where a husband was prepared to do sacrifice for his wife? If the wife is dead, he is ready to have a second marriage. Such unfair things are happening in the world in respect of women.” -: Sathya Sai (Volume 31, Chapter 14 'Glory Of Womanhood') When we look at the Hindu mythology we see that women are supposed to be treated as Goddesses. One of the most popular festivals of Hindus is the ‘Navratra’ in which Hindus worship Goddess Durga (the worrier goddess), Goddess Lakshmi (the goddess of wealth and prosperity) and Goddess Saraswati (the goddess of Knowledge and Arts). On the last day of this festival, the daughters of the house are worshiped. But still in India we see that our society has grown so favorable towards the males. Hindu’s, even after referring to the daughters as Devi (goddess), expect a widow to jump on the pyre of the husband, a practice known as Sati. Dowry is still date given (even after being criminalized) to the groom at the time of marriage. The Gender imbalance can be traced down to Manusmriti in 200 B.C. which lays down the duties of a woman. “In childhood a female must be subject to her father, in youth to her husband, when her lord is dead to her sons; a woman must never be independent.” . The Manusmriti were used as a model for the framing of the Dharmashastra, which later became the local laws. Thus we can see the position of women in India today is because of century old traditions and customs.

Even though the Constitution of India promotes gender equality through the notion of Equality and secularism providing a framework to treat all its citizens equal and commands that no discrimination should be made on the bases of one’s gender , gender discrimination still exists due to the presence of various personal laws. In recent years, India has witnessed many reforms for example the abolishment of sati and criminalizing sex determination. The Hindu Succession Act, 1956

The Hindu Succession Act, 1956 (HSA) amends and codifies the law relating to intestate succession among Hindus and aims to lay down a uniform law of succession whereby attempt has been made to ensure equality of inheritance rights between sons and daughters. It applies to all Hindus including Buddhists, Jains and Sikhs’ . The section 6 of the act is as follows: ‘Devolution of interest of coparcenary property.- When a male Hindu dies after the commencement of this Act, having at the time of his death an interest in a Mitakshara coparcenary property, his interest in the property shall devolve by survivorship upon the surviving members of the coparcenary and not in accordance with this Act. Provided that, if the deceased had left him surviving a female relative specified in class 1 of the Schedule or a male relative specified in that class who claims through such female relative, the interest of the deceased in the Mitakshara coparcenary property shall devolve by testamentary or intestate succession, as the case may be, under this Act and not by survivorship. Explanation 1.- For the purposes of this section, the interest of a Hindu Mitakshara coparcener shall be deemed to be the share in the property that would have been allotted to him if a partition of the property had taken place immediately before his death, irrespective of whether he was entitled to claim partition or not. Explanation 2.- Nothing contained in the proviso to this section shall be construed as enabling a person who has separated himself from the coparcenary before the death of the deceased or any of his heirs to claim on intestacy a share in the interest referred to therein.’

For example, F (the farther who had an interest in the coparcenary property) has two sons A & B (who are also the members of the coparcenary) and a daughter D. In such a case on the death of A, D will get only 1/3...
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