Showing posts with label Dayabhaga. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dayabhaga. Show all posts

Hinduism - Who Is Jimutavahana?

 

Jimutavahana is a Sanskrit word that means "to be free" (early 12th c.) Author of the Dayabhaga, a legal document that deals mostly with inheritance, partition, and property division.

It subsequently became the primary legal authority for the Bengal cultural region; places beyond Bengal were often controlled by the Mitakshara, a distinct legal document.

The nature of inheritance is one of the key differences between these books.

The Mitakshara emphasizes survivorship inheritance, in which only live men may inherit property, while the Dayabhaga emphasizes succession inheritance, in which a deceased man's heirs can inherit in his name.


 


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Hinduism - What Are The Various Inheritance Arrangements As Per Hindu Family Law? What Are Mitakshara, Stridhan, And Dayabhaga?


In Hindu law, there are various different inheritance arrangements.

Matrilineal succession, in which inheritance is handed down via the mother's line, is practiced by a few groups in southern India.

In most of the remainder of India, inheritance is passed down down the generations.

According to the instructions contained in two important legal texts: the Dayabhaga in Bengal and variations on the Mitakshara across most of India, patrilineal inheritance takes two primary forms.

Only men born into the male line are given joint family property by the Mitakshara.

Although the head of the family is usually in charge of running the family property, all men have equal interests.

The death of a male heir immediately raises the share of all other surviving males, but the birth of a male diminishes the share of all other surviving males.

Women do not have the right to inherit familial property under the Mitakshara, but they do have rights to personal wealth (stridhan) that was theirs to gift and inherit.

Only live persons may inherit property under the Mitakshara system, which was founded on the concept of survivorship.

The Dayabhaga model emphasizes succession, with sons becoming shares of the family property after their father's death, rather than upon birth.

If a son dies before his father, the son's heirs (including his wife and kids) become inheritors as representatives of the dead heir, not as individuals.

Both widows and daughters might have a portion in family property under the Dayabhaga model, and they are entitled to operate as agents in their own right.

Although this seems to be significantly more beneficial to women in principle, it is known to have had some horrific effects in practice.

The popularity of sati, the practice in which a widow is burnt on her husband's funeral pyre, astounded the British when they first arrived in Bengal late in the eighteenth century.

Sati seems to have been less widespread in many other regions of India, based on admittedly little evidence.

One explanation for the disparity is that sati was used by the family to prevent their daughter-in-law, who was an outsider to the family, from gaining authority over their ancestral land.

 


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Hinduism - What Is Dayabhaga?

 

("inheritance partition") Jimutavahana, a Bengali scholar, wrote a crucial legal work (early twelfth century). 

The Dayabhaga was concerned with inheritance, partition, and property division, as its name suggests, and it ultimately became the fundamental legal code for the whole Bengal cultural area. 

The Dayabhaga's inheritance pattern emphasizes succession rather than survivorship, which is substantially different from the typical Hindu pattern of survivorship. 

Survivorship provides equal parts of the family property to all surviving males in the male line, but no inheritance to women. 

When a male heir dies, the share of all the other surviving males rises, and when another male is born, the share of all the other surviving males drops. 

The Dayabhaga succession model states that boys do not become shareholders in the family property upon birth, but rather at their father's death. 

If a son dies before his father, the son's heirs (including his wife and kids) become inheritors as representatives of the dead heir, not as individuals. 

Widows and daughters may therefore have a portion in family property and can serve as agents in their own right under the Dayabhaga. 

Although this arrangement seems to be significantly more beneficial to women in principle, it has had some horrific consequences in practice. 

When the British arrived in Bengal in the late eighteenth century, they were shocked to learn that sati, a ceremony in which a widow is burnt on her husband's burial pyre, was widespread. 

In many other regions of India, sati seems to have been less frequent, and one explanation is that this process was used by the family to guarantee that their daughter-in-law, who was an outsider to the family, would not be able to obtain authority over any of their ancestral property. 



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Be sure to check out my writings on religion here.