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Sengupta, Nilakshi (1958) Evolution of Hindu marriage with special reference to rituals, (c.1000 B.C.-A.D. 500). PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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This thesis presents a chronological survey of the evolution of Hindu marriage down to circa A.D. 500. The rituals of marriage are discussed in the first two chapters. The first chapter deals with the marriage rituals in the time of the Rg-Veda and the Atharva-Veda. In the second chapter the marriage ceremonies of the Grhyasutras are described in detail. These rituals have been compared to other Indo-European marriage rituals and those of the indigeneous tribes to show evidence of the fusion of cultures. An attempt has been made to establish significance of every ritual. In the third chapter the different forms of marriage as described in the Dharmasutras and Smrtis are discussed. The reason of the acceptance of the lower forms in the later text seems to be the growth of intermarriage with non-Aryans. The four inferior forms of marriage are suggested to be of later development. In the fourth chapter age of marriage, polygamy, polyandry and intercaste marriages are discussed. The gradual lowering of age is suggested to be the result of the reaction on the part of the high caste Aryans to non-Aryan sexual customs of which they did not approve of. The fifth chapter deals with widowhood and Divorce, Sati, widow-remarriage also Niyoga and their gradual evolution are discussed. The sixth chapter deals with the position of women in religion, public life, law and society. The gradual decline of their position in later days is pointed out and its causes are analysed.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2018 15:08

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