Changing Forms of Marriage in Colonial UP
Arranged marriage has been an integral part of Indian society for ages. However, its form to a certain extent has changed in the colonial period with the associated changes and reforms in marriage-related practices. This paper seeks to highlight the changes in the institution of marriage among the middle-class Hindu population of United Provinces (henceforth UP). While doing so, it argues that during the period of the early twentieth-century marriage as a social and cultural institution no longer remained simply a private or familial affair in UP, but discussed on public platforms immensely. It got inextricably linked to Hindu community identity assertions. Every aspect of marriage was scrutinized and institutionalized into a new practice. Changing caste and community consciousness among the middle-class Hindu population led to marked modifications in marriage negotiations and cultural festivities. This paper also investigates the inequities that the transformations in the institution of marriage gave rise to and argues that these changes further pushed Hindu women under new patriarchal control.
Amiteshwar Ratra et al. Marriage and Family in Diverse and Changing Scenario (New Delhi: Deep and Deep Publications Pvt Ltd., 2006), 4-14.
Dipesh Chakrabarty, “The Difference: Deferral of (A) Colonial Modernity: Public Debates on Domesticity in British Bengal,” History Workshop 36 (1993):1; Judith E. Walsh, Domesticity in Colonial India: What Women Learned When Men gave them Advice (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2004).
The term arranged marriage is used here at the level of generality as marriages that are negotiated by families with or without the consent of individuals getting married.
Partha Chatterjee, Nation and its Fragments: Colonial and Postcolonial Histories (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1993), 14-75, 116-134; “The Nationalist Resolution of the Women’s Question,” in Recasting Women: Essays in Colonial History, ed. Kumkum Sangari and Sudesh Vaid (New Delhi: Kali for Women, 1989), 233; Tanika Sarkar, Hindu Wife, Hindu Nation: Community, Religion and Cultural Nationalism (New Delhi: Permanent Black, 2001).
Rochona Mazumdar, Marriage and Modernity: Family Values in Colonial Bengal (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2009).
Mytheli Sreenivas, Wives, Widows, Concubines: The Conjugal Family Ideal in Colonial India (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2008), 68-93.
Works such as these deals with emergence of Hindu communalism under colonial rule, to name a few among them-C.A. Bayly, “The Pre-History of ‘Communalism’? Religious Conflict in India, 1700-1860,” Modern Asian Studies 19 (1985): 177; Gyanendra Pandey, The Construction of Communalism in Colonial North India (NewDelhi: Oxford University Press, 2006); Sandria B. Freitag, Collective Action and Community: Public Arenas and the Emergence of Communalism in North India (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1989).
Ritu Menon and Kamla Bhasin, Borders and Boundaries: Women in India’s Partition (New Delhi: Kali for Women, 1998); Urvashi Butalia, The Other Side of Silence: Voices from the Partition of India (Delhi: Penguin Books India, 1998) .
Charu Gupta, Sexuality, Obscenity, Community: Women, Muslims and the Hindu Public in Colonial India (New Delhi: Permanent Black, 2001).
Nita Kumar, The Artisans of Banaras: Popular Culture and Identity, 1880-1986 (New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1988),189-195.
Kathryn Hansen, Grounds for Play: The Nautanki Theatre of North India( New Delhi: Manohar Publications, 1992), 100-110.
Importance of vernacular sources for historical enquiry has been highlighted by Anjali Arondekar, “Without a Trace: Sexuality and the Colonial Archive,” Journal of the History of Sexuality 14 (2005):10; Charu Gupta, “Writing Sex and Sexuality: Archives of Colonial North India,” Journal of Women’s History 23 (2011):12.
Bernard S. Cohn, An Anthropologists among the Historians and Other Essays (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1987), 224-54; Susan Bayly, The New Cambridge History: Caste, Society and Politics in India from the Eighteenth Century to the Modern Age (UK: Cambridge University Press, 1999), 97-144; Lucy Carroll, “Colonial Perceptions of Indian Society and the Emergence of Caste(s) Associations,” The Journal of Asian Studies 37 (1978): 233 and “Caste, Social Change and the Social Scientist: A Note on the Ahistorical Approach to Indian Social History,” The Journal of Asian Studies 35 (1975): 63 ;Nicholas B. Dirks, “The Invention of Caste: Civil Society In Colonial India”, Social Analysis: The International Journal of Social and Cultural Practice 25 (1989): 42; also Castes of Mind: Colonialism and the Making of Modern India (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2001).
For study of caste in UP see, n Kayasthas of North India see Lucy Carroll, “Caste, Community and Caste(s) Association: A Note on the Organization of the Kayastha Conference and the Definition of a Kayastha Community,” Contribution to Asian Studies 10 (1977):3; William Rowe, “The new Cauhans: A Caste Mobility Movement in North India,” in Social Mobility in the Caste System in India, ed. J. Silverberg (The Hauge Mouton: 1968), 66.
Shekhar Bandyopadhyay, Caste, Culture and Hegemony: Social Dominance in Colonial Bengal(New Delhi: Sage Publications, 2004)- 144-190.
“Kayastha Jati pe ek Aitihasik Drishti,” Chand, August 1934; “Malaviya Samaj ki Samasyaye,” Chand, November 1933, 151-55; “Aggarwal Samaj ki Pragati,” Chand, May 1934, 227; “Manoranjan: Marwari Ankh,” Chand, November 1929, 273.
M. N. Srinivas, Collected Essays (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2002), 201- 220, 221-235
Benarsidas Chaturvedi, “Hamare Jaatiye Prashan: Jan Sankhya ka Haas,” Chaturvedi, November 1925, 20; Rajnikanth Sastri, “Kanyakubja aur Biswa Pratha,” Chand, April 1931, 250.
“Upjaaityo mai Vivah,” Chand, May 1926, 222; Khadakjeet mishr Raibahadur, “Chaturvediyo ke Gotra,” Chaturvedi, April 1926, 22; Govindnarayan Mishr, “Jati mai Foot,”Chaturvedi, January 1921, 6.
“Sabhapati ka Bhaasan,” February 1928, Chaturvedi.
Leader, February 13, 1928.
Leader, December 26, 1922.
Lashkar Srimathur Chaturvedi Mahasabha Sabhapati Sriman Radhelalji ka Bhaasan,” Chaturvedi, January 1928; “Kayastha Jaati pe ek Aitihasik Drishti,” Chand, August 1934; “Malaviya Samaj ki Samasyaye,” Chand, November 1933, 151-55.
Sribhagwandas ji Chaturvedi, “Badle ka Prashan,” Chaturvedi, May 1926, 6; Sriyuth Mainpuri, “Jeene marne ka Sawaal,” Chaturvedi, April 1926, 24; “Marwari Jati mai Samaj Sudharak: Marwari Ankh,” Chand, November 1929, 195.
“Mathur Chaturvedi Sangathan Mahasabha, Firozabad: Sabhapati ka Bhasan,” Chaturvedi, December 1927, 9.
Jainarayan Vyas, “Humara Marwari Samaj,” Chand, November 1927, 68; “Parde ko faad fekho,” Chaturvedi, October 1926, 5.
Harnarayan ji, “Samgotra Mai Vivah,” Chaturvedi, June 1925; Madan Mohan ji Tiwari, “Nai Soojh,” Chaturvedi, July 1926; “Aggarwal Samaj ki Pragati,” Chand, May 1934, 227.
Legislative debates around introduction of civil marriage in India clearly highlight the reservations of native population against marriage outside one’s own caste. Home Department, Judicial A Branch, May 1921, nos. 111-115, National Archives of India (henceforth NAI).
The Tafrih ,Lucknow, 28 June 1911; Hindustani , Lucknow, 14 august 1911,Native Newspaper Report, United Provinces, NAI; Similar sentiments also expressed in The Trishul(Benaras), Vaidic Sarvaswa(Allahabad),TheJadu(Jaunpur),Awaja-i-Khalq(Benaras),Anand(Lucknow), SaadharmaPracharak(Kangri Bijnor), Nigamagam Chandrika( Benaras), The Kshttrya Mitra(Benaras), Native Newspaper Report, United Provinces 1911, NAI.
Vasudha Dalmia, The Nationalization of Hindu Traditions: Bharatendu Harischandra and NineteenthCentury Banaras (New Delhi: Permanent Black, 2010); Sandria B. Freitag, Collective Action and Community: Public Arenas and the Emergence of Communalism in North India (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1989); Christopher Jaffrelot, Hindu Nationalism- A Reader (Delhi: Permanent Black, 2007), 64-69.
Ibid. For details on Hindi Print Public Sphere see Francesca Orsini, The Hindu Public Sphere 1920-1940: Language and Literature in the Age of Nationalism (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2002).
Sumit Sarkar, Modern India 1885-1947 (Chennai: Macmillan Publishers India Limited, 2011), 233-237; Gyanendra Pandey, The Ascendancy of Congress in Uttar Pradesh 1926- 34: A Study in Imperfect Mobilization (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1978), 114-127.
Peter Hardy, The Muslims of British India (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1972), 61-91, 168- 197; More details in Francis Robinson, Seperatism among Indian Muslims: The Politics of the United Provinces Muslims 1860-1923(Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1975).
Jaffrelot, Hindu Nationalism, 10-14, 79-84
Pandey, The Ascendancy of the Congress, 115-117; Freitag, Collective Action and Community, 230-241; for details on Suddhi movement see, R.K. Ghai, Suddhi Movement in India: A Study of its Socio- Political Dimensions (New Delhi: Common Wealth Publishers, 1990).
Nandini Gooptu, The Politics of the Urban Poor in Early-Twentieth Century India (UK: Cambridge University Press, 2001), 223-226.
Charu Gupta, Sexuality, Obscenity, Community: Women, Muslims and the Hindu Public in Colonial India (New Delhi: Permanent Black, 2001); Arjun Appadurai, “Numbers in the Colonial Imagination”, in his Modernity at Large: Cultural Dimensions of Globalization (Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1997), 114.
Information gleaned from Gupta, Sexuality, Obscenity, Community,307-309; Pradip K. Datta, “Dying HindusProduction of Hindu Communal Common Sense in Early 20th century Bengal,” Economic and Political Weekly 28 (1993): 1305.
“Antarjaatiye Vivah,” Chand, August 1933, 473; Home Department, Judicial A Branch, May 1921, nos.111-115, NAI.
Home Department, Judicial A Branch, May 1921, nos. 111-115, NAI.
Legislative Department, Assembly and Council A Branch, December 1923, nos. 55-67 p. 1-22, NAI
Home Department, Judicial Branch, 1928, nos. 133-I/A, NAI.
“Jatipati Todak Sanstha,” Chand, January 1923, 274; “Jatibhed or Sarkar,” Chand, 1926, 364; “Antarjaatiye Vivah Pratha ki Aavyashakta,” Chand, September 1935, 525.
Govardhaan Lal Gupt, “Aadarsh vivah: Antarjaatiye aur Antarpraantiye Vivah,” Chand, December 1933.
Leader, February 6, 1928.
Leader, January 24, 1935.
For more details on activities of Sangathan movement and its intersection with gender question in early twentieth century UP see Gupta , Sexuality, Obscenity, Community,223-239 and “Articulating Hindu Masculinity and Femininity: 'Shuddhi' and 'Sangathan' Movements in United Provinces in the 1920s,” Economic and Political Weekly 33 (1998):727.
Gooptu, The Politics of the Urban Poor, 225-228.
Gupta, Sexuality, Obscenity, Community, 239-259.
“Unprecedented Communal Interest”, Leader, September 21, 1938.
Dharmpatni Sridhar ji mishr, “Var ki Khoj,” Chand, December 1927, 267-270.
Amrit Lal ji Bhatiya, “Visesh vivah Vidhan,” Chand, January 1928, 341-46.
Nita Kumar, The Artisans of Banaras: Popular Culture and Identity, 1880-1986 (New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1988), 189-195.
Ibid. 104, Nandini Gooptu, The Politics of the Urban Poor in Early-Twentieth Century India (UK: Cambridge University Press, 2001), 238-240.
Kathryn Hansen, Grounds For Play: The Nautanki Theatre of North India (New Delhi: Manohar Publishers, 1993), 104-108.
Vindyavasini Prasad, “Hindu Vivaho mai Vaishyao ka Naach,” Chand, December 1934, 280.
C.A. Bayly, Rulers, Townsmen and Bazars: North Indian Society In the Age of British Expansion, 1770- 1870(Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1992), 427-457; Gupta, Sexuality, Obscenity, Community, 140-151; Sanjay Joshi, Fractured Modernity: Making of a Middle Class in Colonial North India (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2001), 69-80.
Many leading journals published from UP such as Chand criticized practice of dowry throughout this period. Sri Mohanlal Nehru, “Hindu Vivah ki Rashmo mai Parivartan,” Chand, November 1933; Sri Thakur Prasad ji, “Dukhiya Baalika,” Chaturvedi, October 1928, 35.
“Jatiye Bhoj,” Chaturvedi, November 1925, 8.
“Mathur Chaturvedi Sangathan Mahasabha,” Chaturvedi, December 1928, 9.
Kanaujiyo ka Byah,” Chand, July 1931, 234; Lashkar mai Srimathur Chaturvedi Mahasabha ka Prastham Vaarshikutsav: Sabhapati Srimaan Radhelal ji Chaturvedi ka Bhaasan, Chaturvedi, Feburary 1928.
“Chaturvedi Mahasabha,” Chaturvedi, April 1926, 21.
“Aadarsh Vivah,” Chaturvedi, October 1926, 5.
Sumanta Bannerjee, “Marginalization of Women’s Popular Culture in Nineteenth century Bengal,” in Recasting Women: Essays in Colonial History, ed. Kumkum Sangari and Sudesh Vaid (New Delhi: Kali for Women, 1989), 127.
Gupta, Sexuality, Obscenity, Community, 87-95.
“Humari Baraate: Sampadkiye Vichaar,” Chaturvedi, June 1928, 14.
Other caste too shows similar concerns, “Manoranjan: Marwari Ankh,” Chand, November 1929, 273; Other castes too passed similar resolutions and expressed their concerns with prevalent marriage customs among their communities, “Kanuajiyo Ke Vivah mai Gaali Gaan, Kanaujiya Ankh,” Chand, September 1930.
Vrindavan, “Striyo mai Gaaliyo ki Pratha,” Chand, January 1934, 380.
Shri Dharampal ji Chaturvedi, “Gaaliya,” Chaturvedi, December 1928, 25; “Chaturvedi Samaaj se kuch nivedan,” Chaturvedi, May 1926.
Srimati Prabhavati Devi, “Samaj or Striya,” Chaturvedi, August 1918, 17.
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