Showing posts with label Inheritance. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Inheritance. Show all posts

Hinduism - Who Was Vijnaneshvara?


Vijnaneshvara is a Hindu (12th c.) Author of the Mitakshara, a lengthy commentary on the Yajnavalkya Smrti, which is itself a work of dharma literature, or religious obligation books.

This specific piece of criticism was crucial to the British administration of India.

The British were mostly content to have traditional religious laws govern their Indian subjects, but they needed a standard to do so.

The Mitakshara was given the status of traditional law and was used as a legal code in large parts of British India.

Bengal, where the Dayabhaga was the legal authority, was the only major part of India where Hindus were not subject to this.

One of the major differences between the two was in matters of inheritance.

The Mitakshara stresses inheritance by survivorship, in which only living males can inherit property, whereas the Dayabhaga stresses inheritance by succession, in which a dead man’s heirs can inherit in his name.

~Kiran Atma

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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.


You may also want to read more about Hinduism here.

Be sure to check out my writings on religion here.