Law and identity in colonial South Asia : Parsi legal culture, 1772-1947
Law and identity in colonial South Asia : Parsi legal culture, 1772-1947 / Mitra Sharafi, University of Wisconsin - Madison.
|Main author:||Sharafi, Mitra June, 1974- (Author)|
"This book explores the legal culture of the Parsis, or Zoroastrians, an ethno-religious community unusually invested in the colonial legal system of British India and Burma. Colonized peoples (including minorities) often tried to maintain collective autonomy and integrity by avoiding interaction with the state. The Parsis did the opposite. From the mid-nineteenth century until India's independence in 1947, Parsis became heavy users of colonial law, acting as lawyers, judges, litigants, lobbyists, and legislators. They de-Anglicized the law that governed them and enshrined in law their own distinctive models of the family and community by two routes: frequent intra-group litigation often managed by Parsi legal professionals in the areas of marriage, inheritance, religious trusts, and libel, and the creation of legislation that would become Parsi personal law. Other South Asian communities also turned to law, but none seem to have done so earlier or in more pronounced ways than the Parsis"--
"This was the Parsi story in a nutshell. The longer version unfolded through three overlapping revelations. The first arose from the question with which my research began: why did Parsis sue each other so frequently in the colonial courts? The Parsi population of India hovered around 100,000 in the early twentieth century, and was most concentrated in Bombay. Even there, they were only 6% of the city's population. But they were almost a fifth of the parties in the reported case law. Equally important was the fact that suits between Parsis constituted 5% of all reported cases, a rate much higher than one would expect, given their small population"--
New York :
Cambridge University Press,
Studies in legal history
Includes bibliographical references and index.