ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Infanticide in Colonial Western India

Indian social reformers had to campaign long and vigorously before the Age of Consent Act raising the marriageable age of girls was finally passed in 1891. The campaign had its beginnings in the controversy that followed the sentencing to life of Vijia Lakshmi, a young Hindu widow for the crime of infanticide in 1881. The case drew attention to the plight of young widows who were victims of infant marriages and enforced widowhood, as caste rules forbade widow remarriage. The Vijia Lakshmi case exposed not merely the ills of the social system but also the indifference and caution that underpinned the colonial judicial system.

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