Shading the secular: Law at work in the Indian higher courts

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14 Scopus citations


This article examines the ways in which issues of 'secularism' are politicized within the nation state, particularly the ways in which women's rights become critical sites of conflict surrounding political hegemony and minority rights. Focusing on judgments related to Muslim women in post-Independence India, it argues that legal solutions have the potential to be powerful instruments for achieving greater gender equity as well as insidious sites for recuperation of gender, class, and religious hegemonies in the guise of protection and liberation. The slippage between the stated intent, subtext, and effects of both 'progressive' and 'reactionary' legislation indicates that feminist theorists should engage with issues of personal law strategically while seeking alternate meanings of community and identity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)131-152
Number of pages22
JournalCultural Dynamics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 2003


  • India
  • Law
  • Muslim
  • Personal law
  • Secular
  • Women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Anthropology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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