BS (Social Sciences & Liberal Arts)

Faculty / School

Faculty of Business Administration (FBA)


Department of Social Sciences & Liberal Arts

Date of Award

Spring 2017

Date of Submission



Dr. Naveen Minai, Assistant Professor, Department of Social Sciences


Aliya Iqbal Naqvi, Visiting Faculty, Department of Social Sciences

Project Type

SSLA Culminating Experience

Access Type

Restricted Access


This thesis argues that the Sindh legal system is biopolitical in nature because it uses the entity of

the law, the figure of the lunatic, property disputes and the notion of care as tools of biopower. This thesis presents critical textual analyses of the Sindh Mental Health Act (2013), The Lunacy Act (1912), four case laws and newspaper articles. I examine the relationships between the entity of the law, the figure of the lunatic, and their deployment in the Sindh legal system using two texts, namely, Michel Foucault’s “The Right of Death and Power over Life” from his book The History of Sexuality: An Introduction (1990), and Veena Das’ Life and Words: Violence and the Descent into the Ordinary (2007). The thesis begins by arguing that illegibility inherent in legal writing creates the law as a rational and infallible figure. This figure makes individual bodies identifiable as lunatic and fixes them in the unsound and disordered categories of the sound- unsound and order-disorder binaries in order to resolve family disputes of property. Hence, a lunatic becomes a tool to maintain the law’s rationality, which in turn maintains the socio-legal order of patrilineal inheritance. Because the categories of lunacy and disorder when deployed during case proceedings merge into one binary, sound-unsound, it becomes evident that the legal change toward care-oriented terminology to refer to the figure of the lunatic is only meant to help Pakistan fit in a global environment that claims to be progressing toward becoming politically correct.



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