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Dowry Murder: The Imperial Origins of a Cultural Crime

Veena Talwar Oldenburg (Author)
Synopsis The custom of dowry has long been blamed for the murder of wives and female infants in India. In this highly provocative book, Veena Talwar Oldenburg argues that these killings are neither about dowry nor an Indian culture or caste system that encourages violence against women. Rather, such killings can be traced directly to the influences of the British colonial era and the resulting legislation. In the precolonial period, dowry, an institution managed by women to enable them to establish their independence, was a safety net. As a consequence of the massive economic and societal upheaval brought on by British rule, however, women’s control of the system diminished and the net was twisted into a deadly noose. A forceful look at the worsening treatment of women in modern India concludes this remarkably original book. Drawing on her personal experiences, the author shows how even as the law has prohibited dowry, it has deepened the misunderstanding of the motives for the deaths and silenced the women involved. Combining rigorous research with impassioned analysis and a nuanced treatment of complex issues, this book critiques colonial policy while holding a mirror to gender discrimination in modern India. It will be welcomed by students and scholars of modern Indian history, sociology, and gender studies, as well as general readers interested in the topical and perennially controversial subject of dowry death.
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Bibliographic information

Title Dowry Murder: The Imperial Origins of a Cultural Crime
Format Hardcover
Date published: 01.01.2003
Edition 1st Ed.
Language: English
isbn 0195664612
length xviii+261p.