Two Treatises on the Hindu Law of Inheritance
Published in 1810, this work was one of the key translations of texts that formed part of the law books of the Anglo-Indian civil courts under the East India Company. A successor to the orientalist and jurist Sir William Jones, Henry Thomas Colebrooke (1765-1837) had taught himself Sanskrit and became involved in studying and trying to codify Hindu law to apply it in the civil law courts where he held superior judicial positions. Here he translates two medieval texts, Jimutavahana's Dayabhaga and part of Vijnaneshwara's Mitakshara, which formalised an area of legal theory, serving as the principal guides in, respectively, Bengal and the rest of India for laws on inheritance until the Hindu Succession Act of 1956. Despite errors later identified in the translation, Colebrooke's work stands as an important scholarly undertaking, reflecting his desire to promote knowledge of Hindu law, culture and heritage throughout the English-speaking world.