Family in transition: discourses on polygamy amongst Muslims of North India, c. 1870-1918 Public Deposited

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  • March 21, 2019
  • Alam, Asiya
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of History
  • This thesis explores the various discourses on polygamy amongst Muslims of North India in the last quarter of the nineteenth and first half of the twentieth century. It examines two types of evidence: religious pamphlets and texts by social reformers and fictional literature or novels. Analyzing all these discourses, this thesis makes two arguments. First, that the reformulation of Islam and the construction of a modern Muslim identity by social reformers like Saiyid Ahmad Khan and Syed Ameer Ali and novelists like Bashiruddin Ahmad was accomplished in part through a debate on knowledge about sexual difference, women’s bodies and reproduction. Public opinion not only constituted political matters but also more private discussions on marriage, sexuality and reproduction. The private space was therefore a crucial element of the public sphere. Secondly, novels also constitute this public private space where they shed light on deeply held beliefs about marriage, children and family and reveals how love, conjugality and affection were narrated in the public sphere. Furthermore, novels were also an expression of female agency and allowed women independence in matters most crucial to them- marriage and family.
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  • In Copyright
  • Saikia, Yasmin
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Open access

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