Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa
  • Get access
    Check if you have access via personal or institutional login
  • Cited by 3
  • Cited by
    This article has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    Hasisi, Badi and Bernstein, Deborah 2016. Multiple Voices and the Force of Custom on Punishment: Trial of ‘Family Honor Killings’ in Mandate Palestine. Law and History Review, Vol. 34, Issue. 01, p. 115.

    De, Rohit 2015. International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences.

    Sharafi, Mitra 2015. South Asian Legal History. Annual Review of Law and Social Science, Vol. 11, Issue. 1, p. 309.


The Two Husbands of Vera Tiscenko: Apostasy, Conversion, and Divorce in Late Colonial India


On June 27, 1940, Vera Tiscenko, a Polish actress formerly with the Moscow Arts Theatre, “of her own free will and after due deliberation” embraced the Islamic faith at the Nakoda Mosque at 19 Chowringee Road, Calcutta. Vera Tiscenko's journey from Moscow to colonial Calcutta was a long and tortuous one. Fleeing the country after the revolution, Vera settled in Berlin where she married a Russian émigré, Eugene Tiscenko. Over the next few years they moved across Europe from Nazi Berlin to civil war Spain and finally settled in Mussolini's Rome, where Vera gave birth to a son, Oleg. In 1938, Eugene Tiscenko went to Edinburgh to qualify for a British medical degree, while Vera and her son left Rome for Calcutta after being invited by Professor Shahid Suhrawardy, her former director at the Moscow Arts Theatre. The reason for the separation between the couple remains unclear. Chief Justice Derbyshire was to speculate that Eugene Tiscenko might have intended to settle somewhere in British India after qualifying, but Vera herself admitted that the marriage had been unhappy. Finding “relief and solace in the teachings of Islam,” she cabled her husband the news of her conversion and requested that he accept the Islamic faith. Eugene Tiscenko replied that his religious convictions were unshakable and “refused absolutely” to change his faith.

Corresponding author
Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

Lauren Benton , “Colonial Law and Cultural Difference: Jurisdictional Politics and the Formation of the Colonial StateComparative Studies in Society and History 41 (3) (1999): 563–88

Anne Mclintock , “Family Feuds: Gender, Nationalism and the Family,” Feminist Review 44 (1993): 61

Radhika Singha , “Settle, Mobilize, Verify: Identity Practices in British India,” Studies in History 16 (2000): 152

Rohit De , “Mumtaz Bibi's Broken Heart: The Many Lives of the Dissolution of Muslim Marriages Act, 1939,” Indian Economic and Social History Review 46 (1) (2009): 105–30

Kumkum Sangari , “Gender Lines: Personal Laws, Uniform Laws, Conversions,” Social Scientist (27) (5/6) (1999): 1761

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Law and History Review
  • ISSN: 0738-2480
  • EISSN: 1939-9022
  • URL: /core/journals/law-and-history-review
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *