Pub. date: 2007 | Online Pub. Date: September 25, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952637 | Print ISBN: 9780761923879 | Online ISBN: 9781412952637| Publisher:Sage Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Hindu law, like African law and Islamic law, is a family of laws rather than a single body of law. A “family of laws,” to borrow from Werner Menski, has an essential conceptual core, but the case of Hindu law, even that core has remained so flexible, diffuse, and internally diverse that it is best to describe it as “unity in diversity” rather than imagine a fixed, unified Hindu system. In various senses, Menski stresses, there is no such thing as Hindu law, and yet it exists visibly and invisibly, and in manifold manifestations, which now include even postmodern manifestations. An overview of Hindu law, as with other legal systems, can begin with the sources of law query: Where does one find Hindu law? Unlike the positivists' preference for law in legislation, sources of Hindu law are in every sense diffused, myriad, and at times contradictory. Nevertheless, these problematic origins ...