A concern for the position of women in law has a long history in India. The foundations of a concerted effort to remedy some of the more blatant ... Show synopsis A concern for the position of women in law has a long history in India. The foundations of a concerted effort to remedy some of the more blatant forms of discrimination against women were laid down as the modern legal system itself was being fashioned in the period of colonial rule. This study examines some of the ways in which a transformation through legalisation actually took place during the colonial period. It considers some of the interests that underlay the impulse for legislative reform, whether the demand came from the colonial state or the emerging modern Indian intelligensia. The author also examines the effectiveness of such legislation in improving the status of women in India and evaluates the ways in which the gradual involvement of women in public political life produced significant differences in the kinds of legislative reforms that were demanded.