A Virtual Village offers users the opportunity to visually and aurally interact with the material, religious, and linguistic cultures of one north Indian village. Visitors can use the roam feature to navigate the village's streets and alleys, the interview feature to hear about the lives of village residents, the glossary to understand various Hindi and Urdu terms, and a variety of other resources that provide insights into the historical, social, economic, and gender dimensions of the village. Throughout, intertextual links allow users to effortlessly explore various thematic and topical connections during their virtual visit.
Shah Bano: Muslim Women’s Rights
A teaching case from the website “Teaching Human Rights Online”
In India, the “personal laws” of different religious communities continue to be legally recognized in marriage and divorce cases. Personal laws of all communities have been criticized for disadvantaging women. The Shah Bano decision, in which the Supreme Court overruled a Muslim personal law, granted a Muslim women alimony but threatened the limited legal autonomy granted to the Muslim minority in India. In response, legislation was proposed to prevent such a court decision in the future. Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi faced a rights dilemma. His decision over whether to support the Supreme Court ruling or the new legislation, like the larger debate over whether to retain these personal laws or adopt a uniform civil code, poses dilemmas and debates for students of politics, law, women’s studies and human rights. Questions raised include: How should we weigh individual women’s rights against the rights of a disadvantaged minority group? Can or should we have universal women’s rights? Are human rights only the rights of individuals? Can we preserve both cultural traditions and individual rights? Is it possible to compromise when faced with such a rights dilemma?