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nature as men, and society could not go back to a more primitive stage.
The fourteenth and fifteenth centuries were the period of the renaissance in India. The intuence of Moslem rule checked for a time the national growth. But the Moslem régime was not very interfering. During the long period of Moslem rule, the subordinate Hindu Rajas or Zamindars administered civil and criminal justice practically in the same way as if the Hindu régime had not only not disappeared but existed in its fullest vigour. A century of such a rule was not only sufficient to bring back peace and prosperity, but to revive the dormant ideas of the nation which was proud and properly proud of its ancient culture, literature, religion and law. In some respects, the germs of new life assumed considerably modified forms, notwithstanding the influence of ancient Brahmanical philosophy and thought. This was manifested by the appearance of heroes, whose principal aim of life was social and religious reform. Literature, especially poetry, tried to appeal to the people in their own dialects, and some of the richest gems of Indian literature belong to this period of renaissance. Society with its inherent caste system came under the new rules of Kulinism or social hierarchy. The activity in the revival of Sanskrit learning, its literature and philosophy, was also great, and it was also manifested in the region of law. The revival was the earliest in the Mithila country, and the Virada Ratnakar, the production of Chandeswar Thakura, the learned minister of Raja Hara Sinha, was composed and promulgated in the latter part of the thirteenth century. Bengal was backward in the race. It borrowed lights in literature and philosophy from Mithila and soon succeeded in making considerable progress. By the end of the fifteenth century the scholars of Bengal succeeded in producing a peculiar system of civil law which was expounded and consolidated in the great work that goes by the name of Jimutavahana. It was undoubtedly the production of a great master in the period of renaissance.
Of Jimutavahana's biography and personal character nothing is known. The exact time of the publication of the Dayabhaga is hopelessly uncertain. It is even said that the name Jimutavahana itself is fictitious. Mr. Mayne says: It has been supposed that
• the Dayabhaga was written under the influence of one of the Hindu sovereigns of Bengal and perhaps even received his name." Mr. Colebrooke, who is the greatest authority on Hindu law and its history, says: 'Of Jimutavahana little is known.'
.Dr. Jolly's conclusion is that Jimutavahana cannot be referred to a period earlier than the thirteenth century and is not later than the sixteenth (pages 21 and 22, Tagore Lectures). All that can be said . with any degree of certainty is that the Dayabhaga was written after the publication of the Mitakshara, and that must have been at a period later than the eleventh century, and before the sixteenth century, when Raghunandan flourished and published his twentyeight treatises on laws domestic as well as civil, including the Dayatatwa. A period of five centuries is too long for a date even in Indian chronology.
Mr. Golap Chandra Sastri in bis preface to the Dayatatwa, published in 1904, says that Jimutavahana sprung from the PariBhadra family of Parigrama, situated on the southern bank of the river Ajaya in Bengal and was in or about the beginning of the twelfth century a minister of King Vishaksena. But the authorities he relies upon are very doubtful, and I am not prepared to accept them without further materials and corroborative evidence. We do not know of any king of the Hindu dynasties of Bengal of the name of Vishaksena. Assuming, however, Mr. Sa-tri's theory to be correct, Jimutavahana must have lived in the first period of Hindu revival in Bengal, after the suppression of Buddhistic influence and before the advent of the Mahomedans. The twelfth century was also a period of great literary activity in Bengal. Its Hindu kings had then an extensive dominion. Literary men came in large numbers to their court and some of them left works of great merit which have come down to us as so many mosaics. The golden songs of Jayadeva alone are sufficient to immortalize the age. It is no wonder that the Dayabhaga was composed at this period, but the chaos and darkness of the first two centuries of Moslem rule did not permit its publicity and acceptance. Jimutavahana's great work might have been reserved for giving light in the period of renaissance in the fifteenth century.
The authority of Jimutavahana, whatever his age, was accepted, and his reasonings were generally considered by the learned as conclusive, so far as Bengal proper was concerned, before the end of the fifteenth century, the age of his earliest commentator, Srinath, being the middle of that century. His stern logic, his strict application of the time-honoured rules of interpretation, his tact in showing the consonance of the law as expounded by him to the ancient texts, and his masterly refutation of counter doctrines, soon obtained universal acceptance among the learned in Bengal, and his work became the fountain-head for all later Bengal lawyers. It seems to me, however, that the greatest merit of Jimutavahana's work lies in his attempt to harmonize the well defined customs in Bengal with the rules and principles that might be gathered from the approved earlier texts and commentaries on Hindu law. I am not prepared to accept Dr. Jolly's suggestion (page 25, Tagore Lectures) that Jimutavahana followed the views of commentators earlier than Vijnaneswara. We do not know much of these commentators, and such of them as are known do not profess to maintain the peculiar doctrines enunciated by Jimutavahana. The rules of law adopted by Jimutavahana were far in advance of any that had been placed before the people by the text-writers and commentators referred to by him and whose works have come down to us.
I am not also prepared to accept the suggestion that the real author of the Dayabhaga stood in the same position to Jimutavahana as Tribonian did to Justinian. The analogy is without any foundation in fact, and has never been accepted by Indian scholars. Historians and antiquarians have failed to find out a king of that name in Bengal or any adjoining province. In fact, the Mahomedan conquest of Bengal commenced in the beginning of the thirteenth century, and historians tell us that it was completed in the course of half a century, and it would be idle to expect to find thereafter a Hindu king of influence and authority in Bengal, sufficient to promulgate with success the Dayabhaga of Jimutavahana as law. The reign of an influential and powerful Hindu king in Bengal after the first Mahomedan conquest, a king who could lay down a law for Bengal in supersession of the Mitakshara, which has been supposed by some to have been the governing law before the acceptance of Jimutavahana's rules and reasons, must be a phenomenon inconsistent with the known history of the province. The Hindu dynasties which ruled between the extermination of the Buddhistic power and the advent of the Mahomedans had no king of the name of Jimutavahana. Also it was not the ordinary practice in India to give the entire go-by to the name of a learned author and pass a work wholly in the name of the author's patron. Brahmanical scholars would also hardly accept as authority the words of a king, however great. As civil law in India was not the command of the sovereign to the people but the opinion of sages like Manu, Atri, Vishnu, Harita, Yajnavalkya and others, known as propounders of Dharma, or rules of conduct and opinions of their commentators, Jimutavahana might be the fictitious name of a real Brahman scholar, but it could not be the name of a king by whose command the law was compiled and expounded.
Subsequent generations, however, are not so much concerned with an author, and even his age, as with his work, and we may pass over the debatable ground without further comment. Jimutavahana gave on the current ideas of learned lawyers of Bengal in his days the impress of his great and acute intellect, and perhaps succeeded in modifying them to some extent. His work is a monument in itself, a landmark of the greatest importance in the history of the Bengal school of law, irrespective of its date and real authorship
There is also no reason for the hypothesis that Jimutavahana was fighting in favour of a theory only, a shadowy and imaginary system, which he wished should be adopted in supersession of the established system. He was also not trying merely to reconcile conflicting texts of ancient sages. The method of discussion by him leads to a different conclusion. It is more logical to suppose that he was attempting to hold up an existing state of things and show its basis on the ancient Hindu texts and its consistency with Brahmanical notions. In doing so he had to refute counter propositions put forward by other learned lawyers, especially in the provinces to the west where Brahmans had always the largest influence. The view I am disposed to take is consistent with the approved historical basis of juridical ideas, and the elaborate disquisitions contained in the Dayabhaga itself. There is an ap. pearance of truth in the remark made by an eminent lawyer that rules of succession to property being in their nature arbitrary, are in all systems of law merely conventional.' But a deep insight into the history of a people, and a close examination of the influences that have been brought to bear in the course of its progress from the remotest time, will show that 'rules of succession' are not necessarily arbitrary or merely conventional. In ancient society they were seldom, if ever, the mere commands of a sovereign or the resolutions of the congress of the learned or the people. Sociological science is highly complex, and facts which tend to give direction to sociological ideas are generally difficult to ascertain ; and what is really the necessary consequence of a given state of facts appears in some cases to be arbitrary to the casual observer, This is especially so in India, where law was never supposed to be the command of the king and where customs and customary law had express precedence over even the rules laid down in the sacred texts,
The patriarchal system had, as I have shown, lost its hold in Bengal centuries before the advent of Jimutavahana, and he begins the first chapter of his great work with a disquisition relative to acquisition of right and partition. He tries to controvert the old theory of unobstructed heritage and consequent acquisition of right by birth as it finds place in the Mitakshara. Unobstructed heritage is the main stay of the true joint family system and coparcenership and the necessary doctrine of right by survivorship. Jimutavahana had to give the basis of ancient texts to the opposite view—the only view consistent with the known established
customs and usage in Bengal. He did it by adroit manipulation of the texts. It is impossible to accept the idea that a man of his genius and learning was expounding his own theory based on the reading of ancient and approved texts which I cannot but characterize as misreading. He was supporting a prevailing system which required the authority of texts of even doubtful interpretation for support. He takes a side and finds his way somehow to support it, and thus gives the prop of ancient texts to the current notions in Bengal as to coparcenership and the right of alienation.
Jimutavahana's theory of the right to inherit as depending upon the capacity to perform the periodical funeral ceremonies is equally untenable. He accepts the text of Manu . To the nearest Sapinda the inheritance belongs,' and interprets the word Sapinda to mean persons connected by the gift of funeral cakes offered at such Sraddhas.' This is a legitimate interpretation of the word, and the only one that could be accepted to support to some extent the rules of inheritance that had obtained solid footing in Bengal. The rules of succession of sons and grandsons required no support. They were universal in India. They were supportable on any interpretation of the texts. But then comes the widow in default of sons and grandsons, the daughter in default of sons, grandsons and widow, the mother and the grandmother in default of specified nearer heirs. The theory of spiritual benefit admittedly .fails in these cases. Females other than the widow, daughter, mother and grandmother were deprived of their right of inheritance in the Dayabhaga. The Mahanirvana-tantra would have the daughter-in-law, the sister, the maternal aunt and other female relations in the line of heirs. The right given to these female relations is consistent with the principle of affinity expressly laid down in the tantra. The Mitakshara does not expressly exclude them. Kamalakara, the leading authority of the Western Maharasthra school, recognizes the sister's right of succession, and the interpretation of the word Sapinola as accepted in Lallu Bai v. Ram Kuver Bai (I. L. R. 2 Bom. 422) and Umaid Bahadur v. Uday Chand (I. L. R. 6 Cal. 119) would bring in all the other females mentioned in the tantra. Jimutavahana says that the succession of the widow, the daughter, mother and the paternal grandmother takes place under the express texts. The theory of spiritual efficacy fails in the case of all female relations, but I think customary law in Bengal had been too firmly established in the case of the widow, the daughter, the mother and the paternal grandmother, and the theory of spiritual benefit was not sufficiently strong to defeat their claims to heirship. The instances of succession of other female relations must have been few and far between. The number of instances could not have been