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Jawaharlal Nehru and the Hindu Code: A Victory of Symbol over Substance?

  • Reba Som (a1)
Abstract

If to Gandhi goes the credit of having drawn out Indian women from their cloistered protected environment to join the national movement for freedom, to Jawaharlal Nehru surely goes the credit for having recognized the need formally to grant equality between the sexes and to enshrine it in the Fundamental Rights drawn up at the Karachi Congress of 1931.

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1 Geraldine Forbes, ‘The Politics of Respectability: Indian Women and the Indian National Congress’, in Low D. A. (ed.), The Indian National Congress, Centenary Hindsights (OUP, Delhi, 1988).

2 Gandhi M. K., The Role of Woman, edited by Hingorani (1964).

4 Nehru J., Discovery of India (1982), p. 41.

6 Speech during debate on the Third Reading of the Hindu Marriage Bill, 5 May 1955. LSD 1955, vol. IV, pt II.

7 SWJN, vol. 3, p. 363;Speech at Mahila Vidyapith, Allahabad, 31 March 1928.

8 SWJN, vol. 6, p. 218. Address to Prayag Mahila Vidyapith, 24 Jan. 1934.

9 SWJN, vol. 11, pp. 316–18.

10 SWJN, vol. 7, P. 557.

11 SWJN, vol 2, p. 441.

12 SWJN, vol. 7, PP. 313–14.

13 ‘It was plain that Pandit Jawaharlal wanted it and that Mahatma Gandhi wanted to give Pandit Jawaharlal what he wanted’. Amrita Bazar Patrika, 3 April 1931.

14 SWJN, vol. 7, p. 236.

15 Sitaramayya Pattabhi, CAD 1948, vol. V.

16 SWJN, vol. III, p. 191.

17 Derrett J. D. M., Hindu Law Past & Present (Calcutta, 1957), p. 57.

18 Chattopadhyay Kamladevi, Indian Women's Battle for Freedom (1983).

19 9 04 1948, CAD 1948, vol. V.

20 Keer Dhananjay, Dr Ambedkar, Life and Mission (1962), p. 423.

21 5 04 1949, CAD 1949, vol. III.

22 LAD 1946, p. 3407.

23 Prasad to Nehru 24 July 1948;Nehru to Prasad, 27 July 1948 in Sardar Patel's Correspondence: 1945–50, vol. VI edited by Das Durga (1973) (hereafter, SPC, vol. VI).

24 CAD 1949, vol. III.

25 LSD 1955, vol. IV, pt II.

26 CAD 1948, vol. V.

27 Chatterjee N. C., 26 April 1955, LSD 1955 vol. IV, pt. II.

28 Akhil Bharatiya Hindu Mahasabha Papers file C-57, NMML.

29 LSD 1955, vol. IV, pt II.

30 Ahmad Naziruddin CAD 1948, vol. V.

31 Note of Rajendra Prasad, 31 July 1948, SPC, vol. VI.

32 Mitter D. N., ex-Judge Calcutta High Court, Member of Rau Committee, later became critic of Code.

33 Note of Rajendra Prasad 31 July 1948, SPC, vol. VI.

34 CAD 1949, pt II.

35 Notes of Rajendra Prasad, 31 July 1948 SPC, vol. VI.

36 Note from Rajendra Prasad to J. Nehru, 15 Sept. 1951 Indian Constitutional Documents, vol. I, edited by Munshi K. M. (1967) (hereafter, ICD, vol. I).

37 CAD 1949, pt II.

38 Note from Rajendra Prasad to Nehru J., 15 Sept. 1951, ICD, vol. I.

39 CAD 1948, vol. V.

41 Mohan Ananga Dam LAD 1944, vol. III.

43 Ahmad Naziruddin, CAD 1949, vol. III.

45 Note from Rajendra Prasad to J. Nehru, 15 Sept. 1951, ICD, vol. I.

46 CAD 1949, vol. II.

47 Gole; LAD 1947, vol. I.

48 LSD 1955, vol. IV, pt II.

49 Kripalani Sucheta, LSD 1955, vol. IV, pt II.

50 Acharya Kripalani, ibid.

51 N. C. Chatterjee, ibid.

52 Pandit K. C. Sharma, ibid.

53 CAD 1949, pt II.

56 Ahmad N. CAD 1949, pt III.

57 Note from Rajendra Prasad to J. Nehru, 15 Sept. 1951, ICD, vol. I.

58 CAD 1948, vol. V.

59 Note from Rajendra Prasad to J. Nehru, 15 Sept. 1951, ICD, vol. I.

60 Kripalani Acharya, LSD 1955, vol. IV, pt II.

62 Rajendra Prasad to J. Nehru, 24 July 1948, SPC, vol. VI.

63 LSD 1955, vol. IV, pt II.

64 Petition of Jankibai Joshi, President, A. I. Hindu Women's Conference to Lord Wavell, Governor-General of India, 20 03 1944, Akhil Bharatiya Hindu Mahasabha Papers File C-67, NMML.

65 Jankibai Joshi to R. Prasad, 4 02. 1955 Akhil Bharatiya Hindu Mahasabha Papers, File C-183, NMML.

66 Chatterjee N. C., LSD 1955, vol. IV, pt II.

67 LSD 1955, vol. IV, pt II.

68 CAD 1951, vol. XV, pt II, p. 2716.

69 CAD 1949, vol. VI, pt II.

70 Rajendra Prasad to J. Nehru, 24 July 1948, SPC, vol. VI.

71 Note from Rajendra Prasad to J. Nehru, 15 Sept. 1951, ibid.

72 Jawaharlal Nehru to Vallabhbhai Patel, 21 Feb. 1950 in Dr Rajendra Prasad: Correspondence and Select Documents, vol. 12, edited by Chowdhury Valmiki (1989).

73 CAD 1949, vol. VII, pt II, p. 784.

74 LSD 1955, vol. IV, pt II.

75 J. Nehru to R. Prasad, 15 Sept. 1951, ICD, vol. I.

76 LSD 1955, vol. IV, pt II.

77 20 May 1955, Nehru Jawaharlal: Letters to Chief Ministers 1947–64, vol. IV (1988).

78 17 Sept. 1951, Nehru Jawaharlal: Letters to Chief Ministers 1947–64, vol. II (1986).

79 SWJN, vol. 3, Speech at Mahila Vidyapith, Allahabad, 31 March 1928.

80 Jawaharlal Nehru's Speeches 1953–57 (1958), p. 451.

81 5 May 1955, LSD 1955, vol. IV, pt II.

84 Hutheesingh Krishna, We Nehrus (1967), p. 99.

85 The demonstration of over 500 people outside the Parliament House on 12 December 1949, burning Gandhi caps and effigies and chanting ‘Down with the Hindu Code Bill’ and ‘Down with the Nehru Government’ was for Nehru, a ‘revealing’ experience;15 December 1949, Nehru Jawaharlal, Letters to Chief Ministers 1947–64, vol. 1 (1985).

86 5 May 1955, LSD, 1955, vol. IV, pt II.

87 J. Nehru to R. Prasad, 15 Sept. 1951, ICD, vol. I.

88 Selected Speeches of B. R. Ambedkar, vol. I, compiled by Das Bhagwan (1963).

90 Keer, Dr Ambedkar: Life and Mission, p. 431.

91 Selected Speeches of B. R. Ambedkar, vol. I.

93 Rajendra Prasad to J. Nehru, 18 Sept. 1951, ICD, vol. I.

94 President's Note on the Hindu Code Bill in Dr Rajendra Prasad: Correspondence and Select Documents, vol. 12.

95 R. Prasad to K. N. Katju, 21 Aug. 1948, in Dr Rajendra Prasad: Correspondence and Select Documents, vol. 10, edited by Chowdhury Valmiki (1988).

96 He pointed out, for instance, the derogatory references to women in Manusmriti; he ridiculed the authority of Purushashukta in determining the caste system as ‘the fantastic dream of a troubled mind’; he dismissed Krishna's illicit intimacy with Radha. B. R. Ambedkar, Writings and Speeches, vol. 3 (1987), compiled by Vasant Moon.

97 Barve S. G., ‘Dr B. R. Ambedkar’ in Thoughts on Dr Ambedkar, compiled by Nim Hoti Lal (1969).

98 CAD 1951, vol XV.

99 CAD 1948, vol. V.

100 Sheen Vincent, ‘Dr Ambedkar’ in Thoughts on Dr Ambedkar.

101 DrPande's C. D. observations, CAD 1951, vol. XV.

102 He wrote to J. Nehru that he attached the ‘greatest importance to this measure and would be prepared to undergo any strain on my health to get the Bill through.’ 10 Aug. 1951, CAD 1951, vol. XVI, pt II.

103 Deogirikar, Twelve Years in Parliament, pp. 100–1.

104 Bhargava Pandit Thakur Das, LAD vol. I, pt II.

105 CAD 1950, vol. VII.

106 LSD 1955, vol. IV, pt II.

107 Nehru J. to Ambedkar, 20 March 1949, SWJN Second Series vol. 10.

108 Nehru J. to Ambedkar, 26 Feb. 1949, SWJN Second Series vol. 10.

109 CAD 1950, vol. VII.

110 LSD 1956, vol. X.

111 Keer, Dr Ambedkar: Life and Mission, p. 426.

112 Ibid.

113 Nehru Jawaharlal, Letters to Chief Ministers 1947–64, vol. II (1986), 4 10. 1951.

114 Nehru to Ambedkar, 10 Aug. 1951, CAD 1951, vol. XVI, pt II.

115 Nehru to Ambedkar, 27 Sept. 1951, CAD 1951, vol. XVI, pt II.

116 Ray Renuka, My Reminiscences: Social Development during Gandhian Era and After (1982), p. 149.

117 LSD 1954, vol. V, pt II, pp. 6973–6.

118 LSD 1954, vol. V, pt II, pp. 7253–4.

119 Aubrey Menen's account of his interview with Nehru in Beny Raloff, India (London, 1969), p. 189.

120 Nehru Jawaharlal, Letters to Chief Ministers 1947–64, vol. IV (1988), 10 05 1956.

121 Towards Equality: Report of the Committee on the Status of Women in India (Ministry of Education 1975), p. 114.

122 SWJN vol.3, p. 399.

123 Hindustan Times, 16 May 1956.

124 Sarkar Lotika, Empowering Women, in Seminar, Nov. 1989.

125 Pataskar, LSD 1956, vol. IV, pt II, p. 7567.

126 Sarkar Lotika, Empowering Women, in Seminar, Nov. 1989.

127 Nehru Jawaharlal: Letters to Chief Ministers 1947–64, vol. II (1986), 4 10. 1951.

128 Jawaharlal Nehru's Speeches 1953–57 (1958), p. 444.

129 Nehru Jawaharlal: Letters to Chief Ministers 1947–64, vol. IV, (1988), 15 06 1956.

130 Kishwar Madhu, ‘Hindu Code Bill—Myth & Reality’, unpublished paper presented at Oxford University 1990.

131 The Hindustan Times, 16 May 1956. (Emphasis mine)

132 Nehru Jawaharlal: Letters to Chief Ministers 1947–64, vol. II (1986), 4 10 1951.

133 Nehru Jawaharlal: Letters to Chief Ministers 1947–64, vo. IV (1988), 10 05 1956.

134 SWJN, vol. II, pp. 317–18.

135 Mehta Ashok, ‘Planning without Progress’, in Rafiq Zakaria, A Study of Nehru (1988).

136 29 April 1955, LSD 1955, vol. IV, pt II.

137 Kaur Amrit, ‘A Friend without Friends’, in Zakaria, A Study of Nehru.

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Modern Asian Studies
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