Hindu Joint Family e pluralismo giuridico nel contesto indiano

  • Mara Bisi University of Turin
Keywords: Hindu law, Hindu Joint Family, Hindu Undivided Family, Nayars, Taravad, Marumakkattayam


This article analyses a few aspects of the Hindu Joint Family, aiming to highlight similarities and differences between the models prevailing in northern India and some variants in southern India, with particular reference to the Nayars. The analysis considers this type of asset segregation institution in its objectives and social assumptions, aiming to underline the pluralism within the Indian legal tradition as a prerequisite for a comparative study encompassing other models of asset segregation created in different legal traditions. The ultimate goal of this project is to define which characteristics are shared by the different asset segregation instruments and what their evolutionary potentialities may actually be in an international scenario.

The interest is mainly focused on the study of the forms of asset segregation in the Hindu tradition before the British colonization phase, among which the Hindu Joint Family and its evolution in history.

From an analysis of the two different systems of HJF in northern and southern India, it appears that, despite their differences, there are also many similarities: we can, e.g., find a property belonging to a single person, who also has the right to administer such a property and who generally identifies with the older man within the family group. Moreover, in both cases the property is administered and redistributed on the basis of the choices made by the same person, who can therefore be identified as the manager of the family property and the land property. Finally, in both systems the family property must be well managed in the interest of other people, who often are the family members, relatives and descendants of the property administrator.


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Author Biography

Mara Bisi, University of Turin

Mara Bisi graduated in Law from the University of Turin in 2015, discussing a thesis entitled “To translate or not to translate: the dilemma of translatability in law according to Pierre Legrand”. She is presently attending the Doctoral course at the University of Turin with a project on “Legal transplants and transcultural structures: trust, waqf and Hindu endowments”.

Mara Bisi is a lawyer admitted to the Italian Bar on December 1, 2018. She can be reached at: mara.bisi@unito.it


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