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Domestic Tensions, National AnxietiesGlobal Perspectives on Marriage, Crisis, and Nation$
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Kristin Celello and Hanan Kholoussy

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780199856749

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199856749.001.0001

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Marriage and Minority

Marriage and Minority

The Indian Nation, the Muslim Question, and the Child Marriage Restraint Act of 1929

Chapter:
(p.67) 4 Marriage and Minority
Source:
Domestic Tensions, National Anxieties
Author(s):

Ishita Pande

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199856749.003.0005

The Child Marriage Restraint Act passed in India in 1929 had tremendous signifying value for a nation struggling to shake off colonial rule and accusations of backwardness. As a progressive, liberal, humanitarian piece of legislation focused on women and children, and applicable to all communities in India, the law represented a particular vision of the national future. Given the heavy significance of the law, any critique of the act was all too easily dismissed in colonial as well as hegemonic nationalist circles as evidence of social backwardness. This chapter traces the dissent voiced by certain Muslim spokespersons during the passage of the act, and the protests that followed in the North West Frontier Provinces to suggest otherwise. The political content of such dissent suggests that while the new law attempted to conjure a “unified” nation, it also concealed unresolved anxieties regarding “minorities” within it.

Keywords:   child marriage, Child Marriage Restraint Act, minorities, dissent, national future, law, India

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