This book says:

In India, purdah was strictly adhered to during colonial rule. Indeed, during this era Muslim women lost the right to inherit property and wealth, and retain income they earned bringing the rights of Muslim women more in line with Hindu women and British women of the time. (Khan 1999)

The citation says (Khan 1999) and I Google searched it, but didn't get any relevant results. Did Muslim women lose property rights during the British colonial rule in India?

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    Doed the book have something a little closer to an actual date? "British colonial rule in India" is a complicated 350 year topic, during which women's rights in Britain changed a great deal.
    – user11643
    Jan 31, 2017 at 21:58
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    During the whole of this period women could own property in Britain, and inherit it. You'll have to clarify what the claim is to get a good answer. Jan 31, 2017 at 23:03
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    @DJClayworth ... not if they were married - a married woman could not own property under English and Welsh law during this period.
    – Dale M
    Feb 1, 2017 at 3:37
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    @Mohammad The East India Company was formed in 1600, which ultimately resulted in British rule in India. History has context. In the future please get your facts straight, and try to be polite while doing it. And my previous comment still stands whether it says 200 years or 350 years.
    – user11643
    Feb 1, 2017 at 17:12

1 Answer 1


I believe the book being referred to is Sitara Khan, A glimpse through Purdah: Asian women -- the myth and the reality (Stoke on Trent, Staffordshire: Trentham Books, 1999). I obtained this book from the librarian, and found the following quotation:

Muslim women who had had the right to inherit property and wealth in their own right and keep their earned income were particularly affected. Their rights were brought into line with those of Hindu women, who could only 'safe-keep' the land for their minor sons, and whose only 'inheritance' came in the form of dowry upon her marriage -- and which was handed to her husband's family. (pp.14-15)

There is no citation for this, nothing that looks like a citation anywhere near it, and no date for the supposed removal of rights, and I find the entire content of this book quite dubious.

Apparently more information about this can be found in Shahida Lateef's Muslim women in India: political & private realities, 1890s-1980s (1990). Lateef is quoted in another book as saying that "the difference was a matter of region, class and caste, more than religion."

Lateef's book is at a library I can access, but I think this is probably enough information to put considerable doubt on the claim.

  • I upvoted it but can you add a source that states the law introduced to india when Brits captured it. I believe there is such record publicly available. Feb 18, 2017 at 16:49
  • That doesn't make sense, as Brits negotiated separately with every kingdom in India.
    – Avery
    Feb 18, 2017 at 21:10
  • "That doesn't make sense, as Brits negotiated separately with every kingdom in India." Oh, I didn't know that. So, that means there was different laws in those diff kingdoms? And was it the same when Britain officially took power in 1857? Feb 19, 2017 at 12:43
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    Yeah, that was the point of the last quotation I cited. I could find a larger quotation from that book, but I am busier now than I was two weeks ago :/
    – Avery
    Feb 19, 2017 at 12:54

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