By Ashwini Tambe
Around the 19th and 20th centuries, legislators in Bombay handed a sequence of repetitive legislation trying to keep watch over prostitution. throughout the comparable time, Bombay’s intercourse grew enormous in scale. Ashwini Tambe explores why those remarkably related legislation did not in attaining their aim and questions the particular function of such lawmaking. opposed to the backdrop of the economic development of Bombay, Codes of Misconduct examines the connection among lawmaking, legislation enforcement, and sexual trade. Ashwini Tambe demanding situations linear readings of ways legislation create results and demonstrates that the rules and criminalization of prostitution weren't contrasting ways to prostitution yet various modes of kingdom coercion. via examining felony prohibitions as effective forces, she additionally probes the pornographic mind's eye of the colonial nation, displaying how laws made sexual trade extra noticeable yet rendered the prostitute silent. Codes of Misconduct engages with debates on country keep an eye on of intercourse paintings and strains how a colonial legacy impacts modern efforts to comprise the unfold of HIV and decriminalize intercourse employees in India this present day. In doing so, Tambe’s paintings not just provides to our realizing of empire, sexuality, and the legislations, it additionally sheds new mild at the lengthy heritage of Bombay’s transnational hyperlinks and the social worlds of its underclasses.
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Additional resources for Codes of Misconduct: Regulating Prostitution in Late Colonial Bombay
Indigenous industry was quelled in order to promote imports from Britain. The colonial state in India thus actively fashioned an economy whose logic was geared to the metropolitan center. A key instrument of control instituted in the colonial period was a structure of state-sponsored legislation. Conventional historians present colonial rule as having introduced a rational and stable structure of lawmaking commonly referred to as a “rule of law” (Lingat 1998), although as I discuss later, feminists have contested the extent to which this structure was entirely new, and legal theorists have questioned its legitimacy given the absence of full citizenship for its subjects.
Much of the writing on sexuality in colonial India assumes that Foucault’s account of shifts from systems of alliance to an apparatus of sexuality describes a teleology applicable to other parts of the world. For instance, when Guha (1997) refers to Foucault in analyzing the control of sexuality in nineteenth-century India, he claims that unlike Europe, where the deployment of an independent apparatus of sexuality had taken place, sexuality in India was still subsumed in systems governing alliance.
If one were to view at a glance the key laws changing the family form across the late colonial period (Figure 2), one could see a reconstitution of Marriage-related legislation • Sati banned (1829) • Widow remarriage permitted (1856) • Intercaste marriage permitted (1872) • Age of consent to consummation of marriage raised (1891) • Age of marriage raised (1929) • Muslim Shari’at Application Act (1937) • Women’s Right to Property Act (1937) • Indian Succession Acts (1865, 1925, 1929) Non-marriage-related legislation • Homosexuality criminalized (Indian Penal Code, 1860) • Devadasis restricted (Indian Penal Code, 1860, Devadasi Act, 1934) • Prostitution controlled (Contagious Diseases Acts, 1868–1888; and a series of abolitionist laws, 1902– 1948) • Infanticide banned (1870) • Age of consent for nonmarital sexual relations raised (1925) • Women’s labor restricted/protected (Factory Acts 1891, 1911, 1922, 1934) • Maternity Beneﬁts (1929) Figure 2.
Codes of Misconduct: Regulating Prostitution in Late Colonial Bombay by Ashwini Tambe