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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Making the Personal Civil: The Protector's Office and the Administration of Indian Personal Law in Colonial Natal, 1872-1907
Author:Sheik, Nafisa E.
Periodical:Journal of Natal and Zulu History
Geographic terms:South Africa
marriage law
customary law
colonial administration
Ethnic and Race Relations
Law, Human Rights and Violence
History and Exploration
Politics and Government
Abstract:This article analyses administrative contestations around Indian 'personal law' in the Colony of Natal, South Africa, from the establishment of the Coolie Commission of Inquiry in 1872 to the promulgation of the Indian Marriages Act in 1907. The administration of customary law amongst Indians in the latter part of the 19th century pivoted around the office of the Protector of Indian Immigrants, a bureaucratic office constituted in 1874 upon the recommendation of the Coolie Commission. Many of the historical and legal questions raised here arise from the cases which came before this government appointed official. Central to the argument is the fact that both administrative and domestic patriarchal control over women's lives and movement was a crucial part of these legal struggles. Administrative decisions about the lives of Indians were aimed primarily at the areas which constituted the realm of personal law. This referred to the personal aspects of customary law, a putatively private area of morality that encompassed the personal lives of Indians, particularly in the areas of marriage and divorce. Notes, ref. [ASC Leiden abstract]