Essay on Divorce and Remarriage among Hindus

Therefore the question of breaking off the marriage does not arise at all. Under certain circumstances e.g., wife living an immoral life, husband could abandon his wife but the marital relationship remained unaffected. Strange enough, Parasara and Narada, two great Smritikaras laid down five conditions in which a woman could take another husband for herself.

These conditions included: (1) where the husband has been found lost, or (2) died; or (3) has renounced the world; or (4) has become impotent; or (5) has become an outcaste on account of some social stigma. The above text of Parasara and Narada does not seem to lay down a case for divorce but simply remarriage as the question of divorce does not arise in the first three conditions because of the non-existence of the husband.

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None of the ancient law-givers ever mentioned about divorce in their works nor was there any recognition of divorce in Hindu society except in its lower stratum as per their community customs. In textual law remarriage was permitted for men only not for women but customary remarriage was prevalent in certain communities even amongst women also. During the British rule Hindu widows were also given a statutory right to remarry under the Hindu Remarriage Act, 1856.