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Appropriation and Invention of TraditionThe East India Company and Hindu Law in Early Colonial Bengal$
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Nandini Bhattacharya-Panda

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780195690484

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195690484.001.0001

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Hindu Law of Property and Inheritance and the East India Company Officials, 1698–1772

Hindu Law of Property and Inheritance and the East India Company Officials, 1698–1772

Chapter:
(p.36) Chapter II Hindu Law of Property and Inheritance and the East India Company Officials, 1698–1772
Source:
Appropriation and Invention of Tradition
Author(s):

Nandini Bhattacharyya Panda

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195690484.003.0002

This chapter examines the growing concern among British officials of the Company in Bengal regarding an understanding of indigenous societal institutions. The first compilation of the Hindu ‘laws’ of property and inheritance — the Vivādarṇavasetu — its translation into — A Code of Gentoo Laws, and the latter's codification were direct products of this concern. The first section of this chapter discusses the early formulation of the Company's policy. The second part of this chapter discusses how the first Governor-General, Warren Hastings, made use of the knowledge supposedly accumulated over the years in order to compile and codify the ‘laws of the Hindus’ as also the compulsions that informed his initiative.

Keywords:   Bengal, indigenous societal institutions, Hindu laws, property and inheritance, Vivādarṇavasetu

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