Dev Sunil Naidu, Thakur Ramnarayan College of Law
The UN report 1980 states that “women constitute half the world population, perform nearly two-thirds of work hours, receive one-tenth of the world's income and own less than one-hundredth percent of world's property”. The flow of research paper is from Mythological context to Sources and Schools of Hindu Law, Relation of Karta and Coparcenary and then Modern History of evolution in pre and post-independence era, forwarded by legislations and case laws that shaped the contemporary Hindu law followed by a conclusion. Widowhood in India has historically carried a heavy burden of societal stigma and restrictive customs. From practices like Sati to discriminatory norms, widows have faced challenges in asserting their rights and reclaiming their lives. This article explores the historical, mythological, and legal contexts surrounding widows in India, focusing on the Hindu Succession Act, 1956, Hindu Minority and Guardianship Act, 1956, and Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act, 1956. It also discusses key case law decisions that have influenced the rights of widows. Despite legal reforms, challenges persist, and societal attitudes continue to impact widows' choices, especially regarding remarriage. The article underscores the importance of ongoing efforts to support and empower widows, promoting a more inclusive and equitable society.
Keywords: Widowhood, India, Hindu mythology, Hindu law, Widows' rights, Sati, Legal reforms, Remarriage, Gender equality, Societal stigma, Case law, Empowerment, Women's rights, Customary practices, Social change.