Some Gems from Manusmriti.

Ekta Kapoor is guided by the best :(

Woman is an embodiment of the worst desires, hatred, deceit, jealousy and bad character. Women should never be given freedom. (Manu IX. 17 and V. 47, 147)

It seems you are not a sinner if you kill a woman (should include baby girls?). I know this is true in our villages, it is accepted that sometimes, such things do happen. Honor killings are a part of this.

Killing of a woman, a Shudra or an atheist is not sinful. (Manu IX. 17 and V. 47, 147)

A woman, (also a Shudra and a Vaishya) are inferior by birth.

Once you allow a girl child to be born she is a lifelong liability.

Woman is the source of sorrow. At birth she makes her mother weep. At the time of the puberty she makes her parents weep. At the time of the marriage she makes all her family members and relatives weep.

It gets worse.

In youth she commits lot of blunders and brings bad name to the entire family, relatives and Varna. She tortures the hearts of her parents, husband and other family members. She is called ‘DARIKA’ because she is source of sorrow to all. (Aithareya Brahmana)

The Constitution gave women the Right to Property and what did religion give us?

A wife, a son and a slave, they three are declared to have no property: the wealth which they earn is (acquired) for him to whom they belong. (Manu VIII. 416)

Women have no right on the money we earn; it belongs to the men they marry (or are ‘married off’ to)? 

You don’t care? You believe you have a mind of your own…you scored better than the boys in class? Don’t let that get you wrong ideas!

Your place in the hierarchy is preordained: (We all know this one.)

In childhood a female must be subject to her father, in youth to her husband, when her lord is dead to her sons; a woman must never be independent. (Manu IV. 148)

 *

Every woman must be loyal, faithful. obedient honorable to her husband even if he is blind, deaf, dumb, old, physically handicapped, debaucher or, gambler and neglects his wife and lives with his concubine(s). If the husband is unhappy, it would be the fault of his wife. If he cries, she should cry. If he laughs she should laugh. She can only answer humbly to his question. She should not on her own put any question.

But IHM does ‘put’ some ‘questions’. (It’s Not About Hot Hot Chappaties.)

She should eat only after her husband eats.

So those who think Manusmriti has no influence today, please think again.

If he is beating she should not react, but fall on his feet and beg him to pardon her, and kiss his hands and pacify him. If the husband dies she should burn herself to death on his funeral pyre and go along with him to the other world and serve him there in this manner. (Padma Purana)

Excuse me!

She who shows disrespect to her husband who is addicted to (some evil) passion, who is a drunkard or diseased, (she) shall be deserted for three months (and be) deprived of her ornaments and furniture.
-Manusmriti, 4-78

Nearly all my domestic helpers should be deprived of whatever ornaments and furniture they have! Some of them have wished their alcoholic husbands dead!

They won’t mind being deserted for three months [or longer] though … many attempt desertion themselves, but are followed by an irate Lord and Master.

You won’t believe this, 

Day and night women must be kept in dependence by males (of their families), and, if they attach themselves to sexual enjoyments, they must be kept under one’s control. (Manu XI2)

Yup it is us, females of all ages, who pinch bottoms in crowded buses!

Through their passion for men, through their mutable temper, through their natural heartlessness, they become disloyal towards their husbands, however, carefully they may be guarded in this (world). (Manu IX. 15)

Edited to add: 14. Women do not care for beauty, nor is their attention fixed on age; (thinking), ‘(It is enough that) he is a man,’ they give themselves to the handsome and to the ugly.

Women must particularly be guarded against evil inclinations, however trifling (they may appear); for, if they are not guarded, they will bring sorrow on to families.” (Manu XI. 5)

So you know why your movements are monitored and controlled…

None of the acts of women can be taken as good and reasonable. (Manu X.4)

He who carefully guards his wife, preserves (the purity of) his offspring (Manu IX.7)

Their only hope after living such depraved lives is in death, does death make them equal to the rest of the Hindus?

A virtuous woman is one who dies on the funeral pyre of her dead husband and avails the privilege of serving her husband in the other world. (Atharva Veda 18-3-1)

After my Dad’s funeral, I was concerned about the rites (sanskaras) I would like my kids (both son and daughter) to perform, so I read this carefully.

Women have no right to study the Vedas. That is why their Sanskars are performed without Veda Mantras.

Yeah ….Right.

You might think that it is safer for women to not get her married?

Reprehensible is the father who gives not (his daughter) in marriage at the proper time. (Manu IX. 4)

A girl must be under the care of her father . . . in youth under the care of the husband and in old age under the care of her sons. But she should never be free and independent. (Manu V. 148)

Him to whom her father may give her, or her brother with the father’s permission, she shall obey as long as he lives and when he is dead, must not insult his memory. (Manu V. 151)

The husband who wedded her with sacred mantras is always a source of happiness to his wife, both in season and out of season, in this world and in the next. (Manu V1. 53)

Men will be Men, women must be Sati Savitris.

Though destitute or virtuous, or seeking pleasure elsewhere, or devoid of good qualities, yet a husband must be constantly worshipped as a god by a faithful wife. (Manu V. 154)

What’s good for the goose is good for the gander?

If anybody gives away a maiden possessing blemishes without declaring them, (the bridegroom) may annul that (agreement or arrangement)) with the evil-minded giver.
-Manusmriti, 9-73

And if you thought you could argue and prove all this wrong, read this:

Women have no right to study the Vedas. That is why their Sanskars are performed without Veda Mantras. Women have no knowledge of religion because they have no right to know the Vedas. The uttering of Veda Mantras, they are as unclean as untruth is.” (Manu IX. 18)

WOW! Do Hindu women accept this?

Well, they don’t have to, because Indian Constitution protects them from most of the rulings given by these outrageous archaic texts.

 

Most crimes and offenses against women find some justification or ‘acceptance’ by this enlightened sage. How come no one’s protesting?! Shouldn’t we be screaming our lungs out?

A small group did put up a small protest.

At half past four in the evening on 25th of December, 2003, more than hundred activists representing several Dalit, Bahujan and feminist organisations assembled in front of the memorial of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar at Chaityabhoomi, Dadar and set aflame dummy copies of the Manusmriti, Bhagwad Gita and Ramayana, condemning these texts and thus celebrated the ‘Bharatiya Stree Mukti Din’

This surprise gathering focused on the fact that there is a need to protest against violent Hindu Revivalist force manifested in Politics.

I think we should watch out for this violent Hindu Revivalist force manifesting in Politics.


[This was written & published in Unchahi a long time back. Just thought it should be posted here also after reading Surbhi’s post on Kanyadaan.]

121 thoughts on “Some Gems from Manusmriti.

  1. On the occasion of the Republic Day of our country, i take this opportunity to present this award to my blogger friends who have made a difference by writing their frank opinions in their blogs as well, as in the comment columns of other blogs. These bloggers have not written any sensational or luscious stories to attract traffic to their blogs, but they have put down in prose as well, as verse, whatever they have felt strongly about, may it be about their personal lives or about a burning issue of the society. The sole purpose of their writing has been to make a difference. I wish that their ideas may fructify and bring a change in the society for better. I salute them all. IHM Please pick up your award.

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    • Guys and girls of india all that is written in this website or this web page that describes that in manusmriti women are left behind or women are not respected, how do i believe that the verses are taken form manu smriti and are original ones it could be that the auther has malfunctioned them or made changes in them just to prove that hindu culture did not respect women. Had women not being respected in hindu culture why would Lord Ram go and secure Mother Sita form the demons?

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      • The verses are linked to the source, please click and confirm. Many of us are shocked to learn what is written and followed from Manusmriti. In a documentary called ‘izzat nagar ki asabhya betiyan’ Khaps can be seen citing from the same Manusmriti.
        And Lord Rama sent mother Sita to exile when she was pregnant.

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        • Indian Homemaker, I admire you very deeply. Manusmriti is the topmost of all the disgraces like rigid casteism, dowry, etc. Anyone who agrees with it is also a blot on mankind.

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  2. Oh Boy…. what a load of crap… this boils my blood really!
    I just wrote about domestic violence again – mentioning my friend and what her husband thinks…
    But, I am an optimist… The fight we are fighting now, the changes we are trying to make will be successful… the discrimination and violence and injustice to women will stop one day….

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  3. Jeeez! The Utter darkness of our land’s literary and moral heritage!!!

    No justification can be brought to bear on such blatantly given advice, in writing, in scripture, in something given by… a Sage?

    Thanks to the constitution, that finds redemption for its stamp of equality to all! Even a woman, born in India!!!

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  4. IHM, I did not read the blog….who reads manu these days..and who follows that also…and is there any point to discuss manu?

    well a person who ill treats women , will do irrespective of whether manu was there or not…

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  5. Yes, IHM. Truly shocking. Thank God, the era of such extreme traditionalist thinking is over. What a relief.

    Hopefully the finer aspects of religion can stay alive and rise above these.

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  6. @Sunder We do not need to read it anymore, our very SOCH, our thinking, our traditions, our culture are all based on these scriptures.

    Can’t you it’s effects everywhere?

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    • Dont bring me in this mess by sayign “our”..May be is is your soch, your thinking and your culture..not mine..

      Secondly there is no authantication of the translations…So I dont give a damn to what somebody interpreate…

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  7. I dont know what to write, i am shocked to know what is there in our precious religious books.Can’t expect them to write for women as it is written by men.

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  8. I am not very shocked, I mean the way women have been treated in past or in fact are still being treated this is no shocker…

    But am also glad that we have changed & still are changing & learning. I am also glad that we can now raise our voice against such things and be heard also🙂

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  9. IHM, I think Sundar has a point. There are many who engage in compulsive violence against women, rapes etc not after being influenced by the Manusmriti, but failing to control their sexual-ism and holier-than-thou attitude.

    Today, it’s more down to how the person’s character is and not what his religion is. We have good Hindus and evil Hindus. We have good Muslims and evil Muslims.

    It’s all down to character and conscience. Betray them, and religion doesn’t even matter.

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  10. Some Gems from the Bible

    Genesis 3:16
    Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.

    Unfortunately, all religions are similar in their treatment of women…

    1 Corinthians 14:34-36
    Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience as also saith the law. And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.

    Ephesians 5:22-24
    Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.

    1 Timothy 2:11-15
    Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression. Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing.

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  11. who is this wonderful sage who wrote it? my no wonder hinduism has been polluted by such crap. what about things like advitha ,yoga etc? all we have done is ignore all those and take up these crap,why? Because it is easier to do these,they don’t require anything…simply put this is to spread what i call parasites…but people will live through,as we do today,we have as a society stepped out.

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  12. I think this particular gem (and a Cartier rock, no doubt) says it all for the centuries of discrimination/ abuse of women:
    “Every woman must be loyal, faithful. obedient honorable to her husband even if he is blind, deaf, dumb, old, physically handicapped, debaucher or, gambler and neglects his wife and lives with his concubine(s). If the husband is unhappy, it would be the fault of his wife. If he cries, she should cry. If he laughs she should laugh. She can only answer humbly to his question. She should not on her own put any question.”
    I mean, what the f***? There are so many things in my head right now (and none appropriate for a public blog) that I don’t know what to say.
    I remember the first time I read Manusmriti. It was a year and a half back and it was on a free day at office. I was reading the TOI website, and one link led to another till I found this ‘masterpiece’. I didn’t even know what it was, so I downloaded it and started reading. When I came to the portion I mentioned above, I went to the bathroom and wept. And that is the only time I’d ever wept in office. And then I just packed and left. My Mom worried, but she thought I was being moody due to my PMS. I couldn’t even talk it out with her, which I instantly do if I’m upset.

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  13. IHM, Well my view is, in everything there is good and bad…may be you are seeing the bad and highlighting…i feel in the present day context, any ill treatment to women is not due to vedas etc.. we human beings live to dominate..so in simple terms..survival of the fittest…

    i have two women friends who didnt go for second after thier first son..reason if girl child comes ? they say girls are lot of tension..one more lady who was so upset when hearing the second is also girl….have they read the books u have quoted?

    Constitution gave right to property…hmm i will say here also women are suffering how? if the husband property is less than father property they shud be happy vice versa..to quote my own experience..my mother stood against all things not to give any share to my fathers sister…

    you write lot about women lib..well in my experience women is against women than men..hmm

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  14. Its the woman, who needs to search define and claim her individual existence.

    How can she be dependent on some scriptures?

    She herself is the owner author creator of new morals new scriptures.

    Change is the rule of nature.

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  15. its the woman who needs to search define and claim her Individual existence.
    How can she be dependent on some scriptures?

    She is the author, owner creator of scriptures.

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  16. A brilliant ,awesome,seriously kickass post IHM!!
    I loved it,simple loved it…oh!What a point by point analysis…and at the same time kicking some ass too…way to go!

    Manusmriti is seriously retarded….
    A seriously delusional fellow who must have given birth to the MCP tag,No!must have written the definition for male Chauvinistic Pig ….he must have sat down one day and decided how to screw our life in every way possible…
    having read this retarded text as part of our critical analysis in college ,all I can say is its not even garbage…coz garbage has some value..its beyond that…

    some pandits/priests do come to our home sometimes to convince us to do puja…..about how manu said this,wrote that…girls are so precious…and grihanis are so and so according to manu….

    and after a few minutes they look terrorized…having figured out how things are ..in this home..:D
    literally”anything you say or do will be held against you..”is applied to them…

    and after I read Manusmriti (major parts)in college…it struck me and really drove the point home about how very,very lucky I am to be born here,now, in this time,in this society…where the laws of the land have something for me…where they guarantee me rights as any other…not as a lesser being but as an equal…

    I am a woman here,I am an EQUAL……

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  17. Wow, I knew it… Something just told me, We men were superior🙂

    But after reading – Woman is an embodiment of the worst desires, hatred, deceit, jealousy and bad character

    females of all ages, who pinch bottoms in crowded buses!

    Through their passion for men

    Though destitute or virtuous, or seeking pleasure elsewhere, or devoid of good qualities, yet a husband must be constantly worshipped as a god by a faithful wife.

    Women sound so much fun😉

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  18. Sahaja Me too! And on the Republic Day Eve let me announce, Sahaja, I simply *heart* our Constitution🙂

    Pixie Yes Pixie it will stop🙂 Each time we speak against it, we go a step closer🙂

    Ajit Please google it, and tell us also what you think … you might find that you don’t need to go back in time Ajit, in many ways our 80% population is still living there😦

    Usha Pisharody Yeah me too an ardent admirer of our Constitution🙂

    Trail Blazer Yes I agree🙂
    And we must refuse to ignore such glaring horrors too. Acknowledge and trash, condemn – accept that this is unequivocally condemnable and then move on🙂

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  19. Varunavi It isn’t just against women, men also are victimised, Shudra or dalits are also considered worthy of nothing good. (And then we wonder why they wish to convert to Christianity!)
    I am sure many fathers must have suffered when they were forced to give away, ‘donate’ their minor daughters in ‘kanyadaan’- our folklore is full of such sorrow.

    Think of the humiliation and helplessness of brothers or even helpless sons watching abusive mothers in laws? We are victims of an archaic kind of tribal and might is right system … men also are victims.

    Heard of rishi-munis demanding that obedient sons behead their own mothers?
    Which son would like to pass off such nonsense as religion and scriptures. These days some TV channels are propagating such **&^%$ as religion.

    Varunavi, I just feel we should not glorify all this. Let’s at least look at it honestly and acknowledge that it is wrong.

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  20. @Smita Yes. And isn’t it great that we are to free to discuss this!?

    @Hitchwriter Yupppp humbug is what it is. But it’s a secret of sorts that it is humbug, mostly this is passed off as ‘sanskar’ and ‘values’🙂

    @Trail Blazer The violence is universal you are right, but in India the victim is even afraid to make a complain, ninety percent of the time if a girl complains of harassment (or worse)by roadside creepies, colleagues, her boss, her in laws – she is told to ‘adjust’ and this wonderful attitude comes to us from a culture that never blesses a woman that ‘May she have a hundred daughters’.
    Most religions are against women, as you can see from Bones’ comment.
    The religion is responsible for centuries of conditioning that makes this biased system today. We need to shake this burden off and start afresh. We need to CHANGE.

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  21. @Mr Balvinder Singh Thank You!!!

    And just when I was thanking our Constitution for the nth time!!
    I feel eternally grateful that we had our wonderful founding fathers who gave us this Republic Day and this wonderful Constitution and all it means to celebrate …

    Thanks You again🙂
    Honored and delighted🙂

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  22. 🙂

    No comments honey..

    You can find more gems in hadiths(read manmadestuff).. They are a good read when one is really bored..

    These may not make sense now,but they have played crucial role in moudling men’s and women’s character and attitude over centuries and it will take more centuries to make a change..

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  23. Bones Yes. True😦
    All religions got away with this. I think women were too busy raising kids (contraception was forbidden everywhere) to even notice what was happening … and then it was too late.
    Most religions gave women NO power over their children or their own bodies … I can only say I am glad I am born today!

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  24. I remember reading something to this effect long long ago when I was reading the Manusmriti. But I dint read it completely and probably did not give much concentration then. Only makes me read this again when I go to Blore.

    No wonder our country is steeped in such things!

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  25. My oh my, this is just terrible. I would have never known had it not been for you. Big time MCP the author of the Manusmriti. Terrible terrible. I am sure the writer is rotting in hell now. I am sure not persuaded to read the manusmriti ever in my life now. By the way do all these rules also apply to all the Hindu Goddesses??

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  26. The Author is obviously a big time MCP. I wonder if these rules apply to the Godesses too? I really cannot believe this. Now I will never be persuaded to read this piece crap. Does it get worse than this? Just horrible.

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  27. Thanks, Bones! You did my work for me. I was thinking how the Christian BIBLE states similar outlandish advice!! lol. This stuff is over the top though! I remember reading a while back about an Indian woman who DID throw herself on her husband’s funeral pyre. Unacceptable, in ANY culture!!
    Larry in Boston.

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  28. Hey, IHM, I hope it isn’t too touchy a subject to ask about a blog for “Slumdog Millionaire”! I realize that maybe some might view it as exploiting the under privileged of Mumbai, which is understandable. I must say though, I thought it was wonderful. And the star of the movie, really, is Mumbai itself!! Larry

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  29. Yes the Bible says women give yourself to your husband but it seems that people ignore that the Bible instructs to do the same for women. Their family is most important, and subjecting yourself to your family does not mean slave labor, in the end it means serving Christ.

    Let me pull up scripture, this is from Paul teachings of a service of man for women.

    “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church” (verse 25). Paul does NOT say to the husbands, “Be the head over your wife.” Rather he tells them to love their wives. Paul says three simple things about this love. The husband is to love his wife as Christ loved the church (verses 25-27), as his own body (28-30), and with a passion transcending all other commitments (31-33).3 He urges the husband to set the tone of spiritual leadership in the home. “At the heart of mature masculinity is a sense of benevolent responsibility to lead, provide for, and protect women in ways appropriate to a man’s differing relationships.” husbands must “give themselves” for their wives (verse 25) by laying aside many of their own personal desires and conveniences in order to fulfill a higher and prior call.

    The man’s role is just different, just as it is the males. Man must protect the family, and this all made more sense in a world without Industrialization, when men would work in the field, and protect their children and wives from harm. In our new world, women’s roles have changed in many families. I spend time a huge chunk of my holidays with my best friends family, and I notice it is the father that cooks more often than the mother. Both the mom and the dad serve each other, their children and God. Unlike families where the mother is out drunk, and the father is missing too, Christ keeps order and peace in families. No where has God instructed men to boss their wives.

    Paul in Galatians 3:28, where he declares, “There is neither … male nor female, for all are one in Christ.” The two are equal to God.

    The man and women are different only in their roles, obviously a man cannot give birth despite the “pregnant man” craze that seems to be going around, she/he at the end of the day is woman, as she still has all parts to give birth and never got them removed. God planned to make two physically different, however equal beings, and there is no shame for either to serve his or her spouse. Just as we serve Christ. Killing a girl child is never justified, never! How would humanity continue without women, will we just suddenly become Asexual? Not all religions are wrong or bad.

    Man does not need to read some scripture to commit a crime against woman. Man commits crime against animals just because they are not as smart. Or against another race, because they are not the same. Man will commit sin against woman as long as other men allow them to do so, however one day they shall stand in front of God. The Bible never instructs man to boss women. People will misinterpret anything for their own selfish desires.

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  30. I presume Manusmrithi came after the Vedas. In the vedic period, women were given equal status and were able to perform all the religious rituals as priests. Infact, one of the verses says “yethya naryanthu puyjanthe, ramanthe thatra devataha” – Where women are respected, Gods shall resides in those places. But naturally the vedic period was one of the most progressive and golden periods of Indian history. I wonder what changed all that so that Manusmrithi says otherwise.

    I am glad Manusmrithi is not a very popular religious text in Hindu homes. I can’t imagine all these verses being taken seriously.

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  31. ANd IHM, one of the scariest things is that this is not buried in some long forgotten corner of the scriptures in some unknown chapter- no matter what religious books we talk of. It pervolates right down to everyday traditions and religious cermonies. Why are daughters given away by their fathers? Why are wives just the shadow of their husbands( sit through any Hindu Puja and try to decipher the Sanskrit- their names are not even taken first), why aren’t there any women priests- in any old religion? Women who menstruate are unclean- why not men who are breaking wind? And that echoes in society. Because religion is a very huge part of society. It is not some stupid MCP making an inflammatory statement, it is what a lot of people actually believe. And that is what makes it all very scary. Despite constitutions, despite having the right to vote…

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  32. Heh. It’s amusing that so many Hindus are displaying their ignorance here, by getting enraged or horrified about selective verses from Manu Smriti, which are not followed today. I wonder how many of you took the trouble to do some research for yourselves and tried to find out what Manu Smriti was, its status and its use, instead of getting ashamed and feeling guilty at simply reading in this post about what’s in Manu Smriti?

    If one looks at any society of yesterday with today’s values, all societies of the past will come up short – that’s called progression. Joan of Arc was burned in France, women were burned as witches in Europe and well, women are still stoned to death in some Islamic countries. I wonder if your Christian and Muslim friends display the same feelings of shame about such crap in their religions, or are the Hindus supposed to feel extra guilty for their past? Where’s the perspective?

    All religions have such stuff about women, as verses from Quran and Bible will testify. Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan is a living testament of how women are being treated under Islam – by stoning them to death in stadiums and forcing them to wear burqas, and pouring acid on small girls who dare to go to school. There are verses from Leviticus in the Bible which are used even today to justify prejudice against gays and lesbians. So, I wonder if all you people who are feeling such loathing towards Hinduism will show some spine and display the same feelings towards Christianity and Islam too, since they have verses about women similar to Manu Smriti? I think not, as it takes courage to point out the faults of religions other than Hinduism in India, since that would be considered communal. I mean, there’s a reason why Taslima Nasreen didn’t get any support from feminists and human rights.😉

    You may be glad that you were born today, but consider yourself lucky that you were born in India and not a thousand kilometers away in Afghanistan.

    Hinduism has many pros and cons – you’ll find Manu Smriti as well as feminist concept of svyamvar. Selectively looking at certain verses, one can either trash Hindu scriptures or elevate them. Take them all for what they are, instead of getting ashamed of it.

    IHM, you troublemaker!!😀

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  33. Oh, and while sons may inherit their father’s property, they also inherit their father’s debts. Looking at only one aspect instead of both always gives a skewed perspective.

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  34. Hey there,

    Do you know that some of this crap actually made its was to my Sanskrit text book in Class Xth in 1994. CBSE syllabus- Delhi. And given the speed with which these courses change, I wont be surprised if its still there

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  35. @Amit I am glad you made this point.

    1. The problem with this system is everyone MUST have sons to leave their property and debts to. So nobody wants daughters, => so girls are not valued, they just don't matter, their education,nutrition, even their living or not living is a matter of choice, I am sure you have read enough about dwindling boy:girl ratio?
    And wives being BOUGHT in Haryana- one more two or three brothers from North east or Kerala.
    It's vicious.

    2. Why not let all the children get equal responsibilities and rights?
    When girls depend on their husbands' families for inheriting husband's property, then what happens to those girls who do not marry, what about widows (We know they are considered a burden on their brothers!!!), and to divorcees, or second wives,or separated women, or unwed mothers?
    I think all citizens, men, women, gays and lesbians, dalits or brahmans should be EQUAL.

    Would like to know what you think Amit … do we really have to discriminate like this?

    This system also puts a lot of pressure on the Sons/brothers. Boys can’t marry a girl they like because first and foremost she must gel with their families often even if they like another, more compatible girl…

    We have husbands and wives who don’t really care for each other. They are only together out of a sense of responsibility/custom/duty.
    Both are victims.This system is a burden for both men and women.

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  36. @Kaffir We live with these values even today – these selective verses are responsible for girls being killed or denied education/choices of who and when to marry/what to wear/… their day to day lives are ruled by these selective verses. These verses need to be trashed.
    Can you deny Kaffir that they are outrageously discriminatory ?

    If you read all the comments you will find other religions have been mentioned too – Hindusim has no monopoly over discrimination against women😉 I prefer to talk about a religion I know, hence more about Hinduism.
    So, I agree with what you have written all religions discriminate against women.

    I have read and I love this brilliant book – I have mentioned it in one of my posts too. Lajja by Taslima Nasreen is about what happens when Religion [and Fundamentalism] becomes more powerful than Equality and Justice – and that is why I dislike BJP, who have the put religion before Equality and Justice just like the Bangladesh Government did/does. Taslima Nasreen is as much a humanist as a feminist. I admire her courage immensely.

    Of course I am glad I am not born in Afghanistan or Iran or Saudi Arabia. I am very happy I was born in India, I have blogged about it too.

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  37. IHM, you have given us a reason to smile – that we dont live in that era nor do we do not believe in such trash in this modern days.

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  38. @Gargi Dixit ‘She is the author, owner creator of scriptures.’
    I didn’t get it … how? You mean she should author new scriptures? Why bother? Our Constitution is the best scripture we have🙂

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  39. IHM,

    Lot of revealing info given there..

    What source / research / book did you refer.

    Maybe, if you can mention this, it might help every one read these so-called “directives”

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  40. The point to be kept in mind IHM is that our society as rotten as it is ,what with the ‘need’ for sons to carry forward the ‘vansh’ and ‘dowry’ and a sundry other things like child marriages …..(too many ills…all part of the mindset since generations)the one assuring thing however is ,infact the silver lining, is that our CONSTITUTION atleast has the laws in place…..YES,we do need more laws,more stringent ones and we also need to ensure that laws are applied forcefully…
    This is why even a 12 year old in a village in Rajasthan can refuse to get married ,can call the police and know what her RIGHTS are….

    THis is why young women say to hell with dowry and refuse to get married…

    But ask those women in countries where even the laws dont support them?Where religion abets these cruel barbaric practices?
    Wouldn’t we then say that thank god for INDIA’s founding fathers?THANK GOD!!
    The reason we are not behind a veil,able to stand here ,having the right to education in our hands,laws against dowry,against child marriage,a lot of other laws…all in favour of women to help us take action…(yes ,we do need more I realize that)
    Why do people always focus on the negatives so so much?on mindsets?

    Considering how much religion pervades our everyday life,one can only be thankful for the constitution and all that it promises……

    The point is not whether women are this or that,as in they are considered lesser than their husbands or given away in kanyadaan or not alowed in religion as priests……

    The singular most important point is that when we arm a complete gender with that most powerful weapon of all….EDUCATION …and with LEGAL RIGHTS that support her in a DEMOCRATIC country,then 50%of INDIA’s population moves forward knowing that she will be supported,that the CONSTITUTION HAS GOT HER BACK!

    Once these two things are assured …Education and Legal rights (which are free from religious interference)then its up to the woman to kick ass…..she can raise her voice against issues…..refuse to get married at a young age..because the law OF THIS LAND supports her…refuse kanyadaan in her marriage,become a priest on her own….you name it and the skies are open for her…

    DO we have to go far?YES!!for sure!mindsets need to change….religious texts need to be exposed for what they really are….
    and we’ll do all of that…as we are doing it today..

    But knowing that I live in The INDIA OF TODAY makes me want to kiss the ground in sheer relief and gratitude….

    (but Muslim women in India are still under the Islamic law….therefore one reason why Uniform Civil Code is a good idea….and the reason why the MCPS will not let it come into being…)

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  41. IHM: Just one clarification. We all the know that the Manusmriti is crap. But, the Bhagavad Gita has been misquted and misinterpreted in this context. The actual verse means, “Oh Arjuna, even those who may be born from the wombs of degarded women, merchants and menials, if they take full shelter of me, may each the Supreme Goal.” This translation is from http://www.bhagavad-gita.org/Gita/verse-09-32.html. Check it out. In this context degraded women refers ostensibly to prostitutes. It certainly does not imply all women.

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  42. @Amrutha, I edited the sentence that describes the quote, I hope it is more accurate now. Didn’t mean to insult any Gods -just wanted to convey that women were accepted as ‘inferior’.

    @Mavin the source is Manusmriti. I have linked ‘the best’ to a site that gives you Manusmriti verse by verse.
    Most people know of Manusmriti and are familiar with these ‘directives’🙂 So I didn’t think of linking, but linking is always advisable.

    @Gopinath’s*Artickles* Yes, you are right, that is a silver lining🙂
    At least we cannot be ‘legally’ forced to stick to these directives!! I wish these were not followed in any way in any part of our country …:(
    But like tearsndreams above pointed out some of this crap actually made its was to … Sanskrit text book in Class Xth in 1994. CBSE syllabus- Delhi !

    And Alankrita says one of the scariest things is that this is not buried in some long forgotten corner of the scriptures in some unknown chapter- no matter what religious books we talk of. It percolates right down to everyday traditions and religious ceremonies. Why are daughters given away by their fathers? Why are wives just the shadow of their husbands( sit through any Hindu Puja and try to decipher the Sanskrit- their names are not even taken first), why aren’t there any women priests- in any old religion? Women who menstruate are unclean- why not men who are breaking wind? And that echoes in society. Because religion is a very huge part of society. It is not some stupid MCP making an inflammatory statement, it is what a lot of people actually believe. And that is what makes it all very scary. Despite constitutions, despite having the right to vote…

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  43. Indyeah Exactly my feelings🙂
    Loved everything about it!

    ‘But knowing that I live in The INDIA OF TODAY makes me want to kiss the ground in sheer relief and gratitude….’

    Me too!

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  44. IHM: I am not offended. But, most of the trouble with scriptures comes with men interpreting it to means different things. Not to speak of Manusmriti which was obviously written by a man (or men) who wanted to dominate. Thanks for the edit. The point here is is simply this. No matter what the scriptures say, treating a woman as anything less than an equal is simply unacceptable. We are human too. We have as much of a right as anyone else to do what we please. Our choices must be ours. No number of scriptures or traditions can justify that.

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  45. @Cluelessness I understand what you mean, but take a look at Alankrita’s comment right below yours …

    @Larry of Boston I haven’t yet seen the movie!! But now I will definitely do this review🙂

    @Anonymous Linked. Please take a look. Also read Amrutha’s comment and my correction …
    Would like to hear your views on Manusmriti too.

    @Ajit I look forward to it🙂

    @GoofyMamma Aren’t you just glad it cannot be enforced!!!

    @snippetsnscribbles And it still, even today does not leave us unaffected!

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  46. Nimmy I agree, ‘these may not make sense now,but they have played crucial role in moudling men’s and women’s character and attitude over centuries and it will take more centuries to make a change …’

    I have already blogged about religion and women!
    All religions are biased against women. Most religions don’t even talk about gender equality!
    Laws not religion support women and for that, in India, we better thank our founding fathers!!
    Tomorrow is 26th January and I can’t thank our Constitution enough for giving us all equal status the way no religion ever did!

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  47. Hi, IHM. Please do drop in. I have something for you:)
    You have a bundle of them, but i would be humbled if you accept this one as well.
    And thanks for being an Inspiration and a thought provoker.

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  48. 1. You still haven’t proved a connection between what’s written in Manu Smriti to today’s society. One can find contradictory words in past scriptures, so it’s easy to pick-and-choose to prove any point.

    For example, I could cite many examples of svyamvar (svayam = self, var = groom, i.e. self choice of groom) to show that women had the freedom to choose their husband and were not considered lowly – a very progressive idea, and connect it to all my friends and people around me who chose their own bride/groom.

    But then, we also have examples from Manu Smriti as you mentioned, which go against that.

    So, it’s difficult to prove one way or the other, and by choosing selectively, one can make any claims, just like jihadis do to justify their violent actions by selectively quoting from Quran.

    2. You mentioned that you are most familiar with Hinduism. But India is home to not just Hinduism or Hindus, so it matters that Indians speak out against religious bullshit in other religions too, as the social effects of such actions are not just limited to those religious people and affect everyone (Shah Bano case is a good example). Unless you are equating India with Hindu, and advocating that Hindus interact only with Hindus, or advocating against inter-religious marriage, or advocating against equality of citizens and that Indians be treated differently based on their religion.😉🙂

    Besides, with internet, lack of familiarity is no excuse when one can find out for oneself what’s written in Quran and Bible – just like you did with Manu Smriti. I doubt that you learned about Manu Smriti growing up, as majority of Hindus are unaware of it. Unless you’re advocating that people don’t educate themselves.🙂

    3. You (or someone) mentioned burning of Hindu scriptures by women. Was there a fatwa issued against them? If some people feel like burning it, go ahead. But if others find value in those books, then they have the freedom to respect the very same books. Not everyone has to agree with those women and burn all the scriptures. Try burning a Quran or a Bible – which have equally vile stuff – and see where that gets you (and if you are honest, you know that you or anyone wouldn’t dare). If that’s not a plus for Hinduism, I don’t know what is.

    4. Nice of you to cite Taslima Nasreen and then switch to BJP. You do know that it was BJP that came to her defense? Did Arundhati Roy? Of course they have their political reasons, just as the Congress-CPIM not coming to her defense have their political reasons (can’t offend minority vote-bank). Oh, and MIM – the party that physically threatened Taslima Nasreen and threw chairs at her – is an Indian political party.

    5. Regarding Manu Smriti in high school text-books, it was glossed over, but what’s the context? If it is praising Manu Smriti for subjugation of women and lower castes, then your anger and opposition is justified. But if it is mentioned as part of history and/or mentioned in a scholarly way – this is how it was in the past, let’s explore what influence it had on the society and how it measures up to today’s standards – I see no problem with that and would encourage it. Unless you believe in censorship and white-washing our past.😉
    I’d say more textbooks should mention Manu Smriti so that people are aware. By the way, Manu Smriti was about many laws, and not just those related to women. If you’re looking for perfection, good luck to you. Everything has pros and cons.

    As for trashing Manu Smriti, you can no more trash Manu Smriti than you can trash your own childhood (when you were still learning stuff and had little knowledge) based on your much expanded knowledge today as an adult. It’s meaningless as no one is propagating Manu’s laws today, and we have the freedom to make choices the way we want. Our society may not be perfect, but we’re definitely making progress.

    Let’s even say that we trash Manu Smriti. (How do we do that? Place an order for Manu Smriti from the bookstore and then burn it?) Would that immediately solve the problems you mentioned that plague our society today?

    Too much knee-jerk emotional reaction going on here in most comments, instead of rational analysis and cool thinking.😀😀

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  49. IHM, I had a discussion on it long time back on another forum. Manu smriti is just a load of c**p and I am glad that we don’t hang on to it just because it is a Hindu scripture. Well! there are MCPs around and also women who thinks it is but our duty to be paaon ki jooti.

    Times have changed and I hope it also change our perception. It is upto us women to change things for us. This gives me an idea for next post about periods and the stories associated with it.

    IHM, you write “Tomorrow is 26th January and I can’t thank our Constitution enough for giving us all equal status the way no religion ever did!”

    and still we have the same politicians who are the caretakers of this constitution making statements like ‘I need a gharelu wife who takes care of me’.

    I have missed the discussion here. Let me go read:). You write the most interesting posts:)

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  50. Regarding Gita Chapter 9 Verse 32, I dont think the interpretation given in the post is a correct one. The translation given in the link provided is different from the one in the post.

    I know some literal translations do allude to the interpretation given in the post.

    But interpreting it that way would not be consistent with the rest of the Gita.

    Regarding Manusmriti, I think it has no relevance in today’s age.

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  51. “The problem with this system is everyone MUST have sons to leave their property and debts to. So nobody wants daughters…”
    ____
    ____
    IHM, what do you mean by nobody? You have a daughter, right? I know many friends who have daughters and they haven’t expressed this thinking that their daughters are unwanted (unless they hide such thinking). Someday, I would love to have a daughter too. So how does that become nobody?
    ___

    “Why not let all the children get equal responsibilities and rights?”
    ___
    ___
    Under Indian Constitution and living in a democracy, you are free to start a campaign for the above and influence citizens as well as lawmakers to have a universal law for all Indians, irrespective of factors like gender or religion. Are you saying that someone is stopping you, or that people who tried to implement such laws were stopped? Change doesn’t happen just by wishing, it takes hard work.🙂

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  52. Manusmirit Sucks . Agreed . I have told you that before . Women are not to be treated as equals . Women ARE equals . But , am I believe that Sanatna Dharma has no room for woman as equals at all ? Should we burn the Geeta,Ramayana and the Mahabharata ? What about the fact that Shakti , or the source of all energy is woman . What does that suggest ?

    “The problem with this system is everyone MUST have sons to leave their property and debts to. So nobody wants daughters…”

    Not fair . I want a daughter . And every sane man would want to .

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  53. Hey IHM, you didn’t publish my thoughtful comment! I am quite sure I didn’t use any abusive language, nor did I attack someone.

    It’s this kind of fear and reluctance to discuss issues that I mentioned in my comment which gives rise to the party you so love to hate, because people are not stupid and they can recognize hypocritical behavior at different levels – your behavior is reflected at the leadership level. So, take a good look in the mirror when you see right-wingers on rampage and are looking for a reason, because people like you are responsible in its rise.

    So much for equality and psecularism.

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  54. IHM, I always thought Manusmriti did not deserve to be regarded as a religious text at all. It sounds like a disgruntled man’s rant to me.
    I wanted to read the original before tearing it apart.

    It’s things like these that make me agree with Taslima Nasrin’s (who claims to be an atheist) argument that all religious texts are written by men and hence…

    Anyhow, Hinduism is an eclectic religion, so just take what’s reasonable (or not) and relegate the rest to the past.

    [I have heard people say that the Upanishads/Vedanta is really what matters and the rest is just stuff. You know anything about that?]

    I am so glad we are actually able to discuss “religion” without fear of a price on our heads! This is one freedom we must protect at all costs.

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  55. @Kislay Shouldn’t most of it be taken as understood? Do we really need religion and scriptures 1.) for centuries accessible and RESERVED only for certain castes
    2.) So open to misinterpretation and misuse, like this Sri Ram Sena?

    //Should we burn the Geeta,Ramayana and the Mahabharata ? //
    No we should treat them as literary classics. Just like The Odyssey and The Illiad … and you will be surprised to find [you may already be aware of course :)]how much those epics have in common with our Mahabharat and Ramayana. Just like Greek Mythology has… I should do a post on this!

    We cannot use these classics as a guides to our everyday life. [For me it will be plain common sense and a sense of justice … and a good constitution any day :)]But if we do – are you in favour of blind obedience by Sons? Of conquests (Ashwamedha Yagya) instead of peaceful co-existence? Of caste system? Of women being cursed to become stone? Polygamy? Animal sacrifice? Yagnas for rain and sons?

    //What about the fact that Shakti , or the source of all energy is woman . What does that suggest ?//
    It is just a way to put some sense into our heads and to appeal to our better sense … but I would much rather we just have laws and rules – than depend on goodwill and ‘better sense’ of fellow humans.
    Is woman really the source of all energy? How?
    I don’t know why should women need to be sources of all energy to be treated with respect and dignity, and as equal, fellow citizens….

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  56. Well said Amit many of these posts are only looking at one side.

    There are many cultures that actually worship women, they say women create life, thus they are God.

    Religion is what we make it, and so we are at fault not religion. I have met women who think it is right that Sati is carried out, or that a girl child be murdered. It is the fault of those men AND women who stand by and let things just happen.

    Religion goes only as far as we allow it for example lets take a look at the American Civil War period. 1860s and before the Bible is very strict to say that all men are created equal, however the slave owners ignore this and continue treating blacks as unequals while still attending church. In this instance even though the text said one thing, the people followed whatever they wanted. Religion goes only as far as allowed to go. People need to stand up, and not just blame religion.

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  57. Everything is open to misinterpretation and abuse . Even the law has loopholes . I am not defending those which are against women . But Hindu Philosophy is very expansive . And I am what I am , because of that . And the Bhagvad Geeta is much more than a literary classic . You have to read it to get it . I just have to say that please don’t dismiss the teachings of Hinduism in its entirety . And , it is the people who mostly misinterpret and abuse the teachings of a faith . And there are many of them . And the honourable members of Shree Ram Sena are the prefect example .

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  58. WTF IHM this is ridiculous, Religion does never wanted women to have any equality or rights.

    Most of the scriptures are written by Men what do you except?

    Every religion is the worst thing that could have happened to humanity, all are scripted for personal gains and ulterior motives.

    Can’t feel sorry more for being a hindu now.

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  59. I would have laughed if it were not true. These archaic litreature were regressive. BUt the times have changed, expectations from a woman too are changed, yet some people would still prefer women to be unequal. Talk about eating your cake bothways.

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  60. @Kaffir //selective verses from Manu Smriti, which are not followed today.//
    The Sri Ram Sevaks have shown how much these selective verses are still followed even today!
    And tell me why do we need any selective verses of this kind? I find it difficult to be grateful for one odd sensible, nondiscriminatory verse – … too much wrong to look some redeeming goodness here …

    //If one looks at any society of yesterday with today’s values, all societies of the past will come up short //
    True. They do.

    //IHM, you troublemaker!! :D//
    Now why would you say this? Do you really think this is trouble making? I think trouble makers are those who follow these rulings even today, I just watched trouble makers live on Times Now – what kind of religion allows molestation to pass off as as simply misguided attempts at saving the culture. Those creeps knew very well what they were doing …

    //1. You still haven’t proved a connection between what’s written in Manu Smriti to today’s society.//
    Kaffir I wish I never could prove this connection😦 But you saw what Sri Ram Sena did? Many of my posts, like “It’s not about Hot hot chapaties” are all about this connection ….

    //One can find contradictory words in past scriptures, so it’s easy to pick-and-choose to prove any point.//
    Why are our scriptures so open to misinterpretation by any lecherous creep? Or chauvinist? Maybe because those who wrote them were themselves Chauvinists? Misogynists.

    //For example, I could cite many examples of svyamvar (svayam = self, var = groom, i.e. self choice of groom) .//
    You have heard about Prithviraj and Sangyukta? How much choice did the women really have, secondly only the royalty had this luxury.

    // So, it’s difficult to prove one way or the other, and by choosing selectively, one can make any claims, just like jihadis do to justify their violent actions by selectively quoting from Quran.//
    I don’t want to prove anything Kaffir. I just feel we should- on our own- see what’s happening, what has led to it, is it the conditioning of the centuries of convoluted logic? If we think – we all will find the answers within. But shed all prejudices first.

    //2. You mentioned that you are most familiar with Hinduism. But India is home to not just Hinduism or Hindus, so it matters that Indians speak out against religious bullshit in other religions too,//
    I do regularly comment on bloggers who write about these issues, can’t post about something I do not know though.
    At the same time I am sure if we allow the minorities to feel secure they WILL find time (from wondering when the next Sri Ram/Hanuman/Krishna Sena will attack)to look at their social issues.

    //as the social effects of such actions are not just limited to those religious people and affect everyone (Shah Bano case is a good example).//
    Might do a post on Shah Bano case and Imarana case …

    // Unless you are equating India with Hindu, and advocating that Hindus interact only with Hindus//
    I am wondering if this is not a troll commenting?

    // or advocating against inter-religious marriage,//
    Was going to post about it but Jai sri ram sena interrupted that post.

    // or advocating against equality of citizens and that Indians be treated differently based on their religion.😉 :)//
    I think the minorities need to be made to feel secure. I strongly feel that. They have been traumatised, killed, burnt … I have blogged about it. Please read …

    //Besides, with internet, lack of familiarity is no excuse when one can find out for oneself what’s written in Quran and Bible – just like you did with Manu Smriti.//
    Why would you care that I should write posts about other religions – mainly from net-based research? Why don’t I write about what I really know? [Is this a troll …?]

    // I doubt that you learned about Manu Smriti growing up, as majority of Hindus are unaware of it. Unless you’re advocating that people don’t educate themselves. :)//
    Nobody says they are quoting Manusmriti, this revered text is plagiarized by Bollywood, Ekta Kapoor, and Indian middle class all the time. I grew up hearing it all the time. And read about it, while very young. It has far reaching consequences, literally too.

    //3. You (or someone) mentioned burning of Hindu scriptures by women. Was there a fatwa issued against them? … If that’s not a plus for Hinduism, I don’t know what is.//
    Of course that’s a huge plus for Hindusim. This tolerant, liberal, flexible, generous, loving religion has survived numerous occupations, changing rulers and attackers, and worse it has survived BJP, VHP, and all their senas because of all these lovable qualities. Why else do you think I hate all these hijackers of Hinduism? They are defaming Hindusim.

    //4. Nice of you to cite Taslima Nasreen and then switch to BJP. You do know that it was BJP that came to her defense?//
    For BJP Taslima’s book was about Hindus being slaughtered in Bangla Desh, her book was in fact against religion taking precedence over Nationality. BJP is no different from Bangladesh government, as described by her.

    // Did Arundhati Roy? Of course they have their political reasons, just as the Congress-CPIM not coming to her defense have their political reasons (can’t offend minority vote-bank). //
    Arundhati Roy> Is she a politician? She is not required to do anything more than maybe
    I am. Give her a break.

    //5. Regarding Manu Smriti in high school text-books, it was glossed over, but what’s the context? If it is praising Manu Smriti for subjugation of women and lower castes, then your anger and opposition is justified. But if it is mentioned as part of history and/or mentioned in a scholarly way – this is how it was in the past, let’s explore what influence it had on the society and how it measures up to today’s standards – I see no problem with that and would encourage it. Unless you believe in censorship and white-washing our past. ;)//
    I agree. I mentioned it to explain it isn’t really unheard of. No idea how it is taught though. I only hope it is discussed openly.

    //I’d say more textbooks should mention Manu Smriti so that people are aware. By the way, Manu Smriti was about many laws, and not just those related to women. If you’re looking for perfection, good luck to you. Everything has pros and cons.//
    Imperfections are fine Kaffir, but outrageous rules like in Manusmriti need no defence please.

    //It’s meaningless as no one is propagating Manu’s laws today,//
    I have already answered this in the post.
    //and we have the freedom to make choices the way we want. Our society may not be perfect, but we’re definitely making progress.//
    No thanks to Manusmriti or Sri Ram Sena please!

    //Let’s even say that we trash Manu Smriti. (How do we do that? Place an order for Manu Smriti from the bookstore and then burn it?) …?//
    Trash it figuratively speaking, meaning acknowledge the ideas it preaches as incorrect, outrageous and wrong and plainly ridiculous even dangerous…

    //Too much knee-jerk emotional reaction going on here in most comments, instead of rational analysis and cool thinking.😀 :D//
    Strong reactions you do not agree with appear like this. And Manusmriti is not being trashed for the first time. It’s a well known fact. I am only reinforcing it.

    //Hey IHM, you didn’t publish my thoughtful comment! I am quite sure I didn’t use any abusive language, nor did I attack someone.//
    I have been busy this comment required time to answer hence the delay.

    //It’s this kind of fear and reluctance to discuss issues that I mentioned in my comment which gives rise to the party you so love to hate, because people are not stupid and they can recognize hypocritical behavior at different levels – your behavior is reflected at the leadership level. So, take a good look in the mirror when you see right-wingers on rampage and are looking for a reason, because people like you are responsible in its rise.//
    Kaffir you have not really raised any issues here!

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  61. Hi,

    Good discussion. Many people wont accept the reality. People might not know manu smriti but they follow it. If you have the spirit of inquiry in you, you must see that our marriage system and death ceremony both are highly prejudiced towards women. Manusmriti lies not in books but in mangalsutra, Sindoors, and all those stuff which has kept women subjugated for years. ofcourse, it is religion every where so it is not a scoring point that elsewhere women enjoys better. No oppressed can enjoy any good life under any religious regime. And hence this debate is to get rid of the religious pontiffs and be secular. Only secular ethos can provide us equality.

    regards,

    Vidya Bhushan Rawat

    http://www.manukhsi.blogspot.com

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  62. The manusmrithi has definetly been misinterpreted and selectively understood and taken by a lot of people, but it is important to understand that the Manusmrithi is highly contradictory when it comes to certain things and prone to be misunderstood becasue of translation errors. There are parts of it which support the women choosing her own spouse, encouraging the women to study vedas, even though it is contradicotry to an earlier verse, askin the men to repsect women beacuse it is important that they are respected to maintain a harmonious house. The manu smirthi came much before the vedas did and has contested authorship. It was also not one of the prime books of hinduism until the british propped it up as such. It is important that the vedas and other books not be translated literally. Yes some elements do go about doing it and using certain phrases out of context to justify their actions. the truth however is, none of these were taken literally even in that day and age. Women were given almost equal position to men, even with regard to property, and marriage. A lot of women were sages and sat to perform homas and pujas when required. They were held at equal footing with sages like viswamitra or agstya for their knowledge of the vedas. Lopamudra, Anusuya, Athri are just a few examples. The Rig vedas give them equal footing and their names and many others are recited along with the names of the rishis. they were important for some of the most important upanishads that were written. Whatever inequality there was came much later after the vedic age and after mutiple invasions by other cultures. Manyata is an idiot. She is not following Manusmrithi laws or any other crap for that matter. Hindus don’t follow Manu’s laws. They are a set of archaic laws replaced a long time ago by vedas, upanishads and such. All of them flexible enough to allow women and equal standing in society and allow them to do every work a man does.

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  63. Who wrote that crap? Someone actually had the time to do that? Well, this book must have fallen into the hands of the Indian Taliban.
    That explains what happened in Mangalore!

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  64. this post was an interesting read…and to believe that many people out there quote these references to justify their actions on a moral high ground

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  65. @Cacophenix Why make the effort to try to justify or find some goodness in anything that is doing so much harm? If there is some deep goodness in our religion it does not seem to be stemming the regressive, oppressive Talibanism we see. Today I would trust our Constitution more than our religion.

    @Amit Yes! In fact modern day Hinduism seems to run more on Manusmriti than anything else, and all our B grade TV channels too.

    @Vishishta Sam Yes and even today!

    @Kaffir Yes it does. It’s horrible what we’d do in the name of gods.

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  66. Poonam Sharma “yet some people would still prefer women to be unequal.”😦

    Chirag All religion ‘ are scripted for personal gains and ulterior motives.’ is probably quite accurate. I also suspect that. (Understatement.)

    Like

  67. @Tarun Goel First step acknowledge that there is a problem.
    Second step Make an effort to create awareness…

    Thrid step – You suggest? Someone said we should all drive to Mangalore and take protest marches. I am actually willing to do that, even if one member from a family can be spared … but at this moment it is just a thought. What do you say?

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  68. Well that is a good thought.
    Acknowledging the problem is first step always. If it is culture then it has to be dynamic. it has to change with times, for people with people.

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  69. “All women are born of sinful (or degraded) wombs – (Bhagavad-Gita IX 32) “
    I do not think this is the correct translation and interpretation. In this link, the translation given is different and it is in accordance with the overall message of the Bhagavad Gita.

    “A virtuous woman is one who dies on the funeral pyre of her dead husband and avails the privilege of serving her husband in the other world. (Atharva Veda 18-3-1)”

    On the contrary, I think Arthava veda 18-3-1 means the exact opposite.

    1 Choosing her husband’s world, O man, this woman lays herself
    down beside thy lifeless body.
    Preserving faithfully the ancient custom. Bestow upon here both
    wealth and offspring.
    2 Rise, come unto the world of life, O woman: come, he is lifeless
    by whose side thou liest.
    Wifehood with this thy husband was thy portion who took thy
    hand and wooed thee as a lover.

    Thank You RGB. I am aware that we do have some good verses too. I wish we did not have the ones I have quoted – open to misinterpretation, and in some there is nothing to misinterpret – and they are quoted day and night in average Indian middle class homes and of course in Bollywood and TV serials too. You realise that the ones I have quoted are seen being used in our day to day life. We did have widow burning? Until very recently too.
    We do not want to be like the Taliban, right? Then we better be clear in our condemnation where condemnation is required. Right?That makes us more reasonable and logical. When we defend something that is clearly incorrect then we are not taken seriously.
    I would like to hear your views on my posts on Joint Families too.

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  70. I am not defending widow burning. How can anyone defend such a gruesome practice? But I do not think that Vedas sanction this practice. In Arthashastra, there are laws pertaining to widow remarriage. It probably means that widow burning did not occur in that period. Hence serious research needs to be done about the origins of this practice.
    Tell me something 1,) supposing the vedas did sanction this practice, will you consider it justified then? 2.) Will you accept whatever the vedas say, or use common sense, and your own thinking with everything? 3.) Don’t you think our modern day – modern, liberal, tolerant, peaceful, open to reforms Hinduism is good? 4.) Or do you think Hinduism is the aggressive Hindutva some political parties are preaching??

    Regarding Manusmriti, there are still doubts about its authenticity and authority. Sometimes it even contradicts itself.There are quite a few blatantly discriminatory verses in it and I unequivocally condemn them. As all these texts have been written in a completely different age, verses pertaining to practical life have become anachronistic and have to be discarded. And I think they are being discarded.

    RGB my post is basically about Manusmriti. Sometimes we must mock anything that is just too ridiculous to taken serioulsy…and still impossible to ignore because people like Ram Sene were talking the language of Manusmriti, and it does makes you very angry. Has it really been completely discarded? Our villages, even our slums and many traditional and conservative families quote from it, without realising it… even more – much more they do from the vedas

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    • 1) I have already said it is a gruesome practice and it cannot be justified . Irrespective of whether it is sanctioned by the Vedas or not. Why did you get that impression? My only contention is Vedas do not sanction this practice and mischievous efforts to twist the words and meanings of the Vedas need to be stopped.

      I agree with you RGB – I get a lot of comments that seem to blindly justify anything in the name of religion, they are too unreasonable to be take seriously. Just wanted to be sure yours in not like those🙂

      2)I do not think Vedas should be followed blindly.I have already said these texts will contain some anachronistic content and that must be discarded. But we need not throw out the baby with the bathwater.

      I agree but I also wonder who decides what is right and wrong, what should be accepted, and what not? I feel we need a lot of common sense, and a very open mind while consulting ancient scriptures, also some courage to accept that our ancestors, even though they meant well, were not infallible. I also strongly disapprove of the way religion might empower the go-betweens, all religions do that, you find mullahs, priests and pandits interpreting and basically propagating their own biases. You know lower castes were not permitted to learn about religion? So serious reforms, and accepting that they may not wish to follow a religion that discriminates against them thus. Or give them the option on converting them to brahmins, to show we do not believe in castes discrimination. I hear excuses whenever I suggest this !

      3)Agree with that. Not only in the modern times but throughout the ages as well. And that is the inherent beauty and strength of Hinduism.
      Yes, I agree🙂 I am very proud of that too🙂

      4) Hindutva is a political movement and not a religion. And it is not always at odds with Hinduism.
      It is at odds when they reconvert! Hinduism can not be adopted by converting, you can only be born a Hindu (you need not even convert when you marry a Hindu!)!The option would be to let them choose their caste (we know initially it was optional, but you will find that will mean losing a lot of snobbish upper caste votes!Many upper caste Hindus will not like dalits being given the option of changing their caste…. so although that is what the correct thing to do is, they won’t even bring it up.

      Do you really think the SRS incident happened because Muthalik believed the contents of Manusmriti? It was a publicity grabbing political exercise ahead of the elections. I agree there exists gender discrimination in our society but I also think attitudes are changing especially among the educated in the cities. Hardly anyone supported the actions of Muthalik.
      RGB I can give you links ot some blogs that openly supported the violence against women, for drinking, wearing ‘provocative’ clothing, fo being with men as this, they claim was for their own good and will prevent many other women from corrupting our culture etc etc….
      Muthalik may not have ever even heard of Manusmriti but manusmriti is sadly what the lower and uneducated classes in India still follow, so do the semiliterate pundits who guide them, read the other comments in this post, and you will see what I mean.

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      • “a very open mind while consulting ancient scriptures, also some courage to accept that our ancestors, even though they meant well, were not infallible”
        I agree .

        “I also strongly disapprove of the way religion might empower the go-betweens, all religions do that, you find mullahs, priests and pandits interpreting and basically propagating their own biases.”
        All religions do that. But not to the same extent. The role of a pandit in the Hindu society is very limited as compared to that of a Mullah or a Priest in the corresponding societies.

        “accepting that they may not wish to follow a religion that discriminates against them thus.”
        I agree . But I do not think conversion is the solution for it. Education is. Even after conversion discrimination occurs , often in both the communities.

        “give them the option on converting them to brahmins, to show we do not believe in castes discrimination”
        Sure. No problem with that. But will they accept converting to brahmins and give up claims to the reservations?

        “It is at odds when they reconvert”
        Why is it at odds? The Sangh Parivar does not believe in casteism nor do I think they reconvert people to a particular caste. And today caste has largely lost its meaning. And those who want to discriminate will do that even if they are reconverted to upper castes.

        “Hinduism can not be adopted by converting, you can only be born a Hindu”
        What if a person born in a Muslim family wants to be a Hindu?

        Regarding the SRS incident , I meant hardly anyone supported the violence. Yes some people with agreed with the “corrupting the culture” rubbish. But that has not stopped the women from frequenting the pubs. Has it?
        The uneducated class may still follow Manusmriti. But that is due to lack of education. Once they are educated their attitudes to will change.

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  71. Am actually wondering if Manu was married at all? If yes, am surprised that his wife did not poison his food for saying all that. If you go by the fact(fiction??) that he was the first “human”, then am sure he does not have a mother , wife or daughter . Well what else can you expect from someone who does not know the value of a woman in ones life. But What am happy about is that hinduism does not have a very rigid set of rules and we are free to flush manu and his book down the toilet and still be a hindu.
    Nice Post.

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  72. i do not know about manusmriti (actually came to know about such a book after i started inter-netting).

    but i have actually read the bhagwat gita and was taught it even as a child on the lap of my mom, every day at sandhya.

    you refer to a certain verse from bhagwat gita and it seems there is corruption there: 9:32.
    please understand the verse properly. it does not degrade women but talk about how even those born out of the wombs of degraded women can also attain moksha if they leave themselves truly to god.

    while we may think we expose a point actually we may be trapped unto degrading ourselves if we do not fully comprehend the verses from our own religion.

    Vasudev read my response to Amrutha above, I repeat what I said here,

    @Amrutha Actually I also found many interpretations. Krishna was simply stating an accepted fact and saying that even women who are inferior can reach the highest spiritual realisation.
    “Even those who belong to the lower castes,women, Vaishyas, and Sudras too can reach the highest spiritual realization, if they will take refuge in me.” Bhagavad Gita 9:32) Let me piece together on my own a more accurate version: “O son of Pritha, in truth whoever takes refuge in Me, even though they be born from sinful [or degraded] wombs women, vaishyas, even shudras they also go to the highest Goal.”

    Reply

    Indian Home Maker
    January 24, 2009 at 10:34 pm · Edit
    @Amrutha, I edited the sentence that describes the quote, I hope it is more accurate now. Didn’t mean to insult any Gods -just wanted to convey that women were accepted as ‘inferior’.

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    • IHM…may i object please? No where in the verse did I find even a word to suggest that women were inferior. Krishna talked about those born out of ‘sinful’ (now that is important…sinful) wombs. It does not mean all wombs. Otherwise, that would make Krishna himself sinful as he too took birth from a woman’s womb.
      I hope this point gets across very clearly because mis-interpretations of religious books and verses can go a long way to demoralise the believer while actually working as a weapon in wrong hands!

      Like

  73. one more thing: mostly all throughout bhagwat gita krishna addresses arjuna as: ‘o son of kunti’. and yet you women think bhagwat gita degrades women. that is really unfortunate.

    Vasudev although children were known by their mother’s names, we still had a Karan… abandoned because Kunti was not married when he was born.Was it his fault? Women were treated as second class citizens at that time.

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    • i agree to this. not just then but even now. while man may sin and leave no mark on himself, men throw stones at poor women who carry the marks of man’s sin.

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  74. People may claim “nobody reads Manu these days” but it is amazing to see how many of Manu’s laws are exactly what I see playing out in places accross India everyday! The attitudes and beliefs still show direct ties to this text– whether or not people read it.

    Me – Yes LinZi, we live by these rules, without even thinking. In fact some body suggested the rules are more like a description of our society.

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  75. eeeek! What a shame women are seen as inferior! NO WOMAN NO CRY..whatsoever…

    No woman, no man.
    No wife, no meals.
    No mother, no father.
    No mother, no sons.
    No Daughter, no generation to produce heir!

    In the society of blame, in the society of illiteracy, of oxymoron and insidious… to treat a woman of such ill manner is like treating yourself lowest than the lowest bug man ever known exist.

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  76. 1. I personally believe in the vedas and upanishads – none of which mention anything against women, they in fact also specifically mention that caste system is non-hereditary.

    2. The Manusmriti is a load of crap. It is not a religious text, but a political one – similar to the constitution ( only written 2000 or so years back – these views were pretty common at the time ). Most of the inequalities we see in society today is justified as being from the manusmriti – a supposed holy text. It was written to oppress the masses. We are idiots today to follow a 2000 year old political charter – it should be banned.

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    • Since I don’t own a copy of the Manusmriti (I guess ownership of the Manusmriti is very rare) but I do own the Srimad Bhagatad Geeta, I can only respond to this quote from BG 9-32. Unlike the supposed post by the author, the real text is rather different than the “translation” we have seen here. The author claims BG 9-32 says All women are born of sinful (or degraded) wombs. (Bhagavad-Gita IX 32). Reality is a different story, with people from different social catergories e.g. traders being mentioned in the same line. This slokha seems to imply that all people who turn to the Lord are accepted, regardless of their background.

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  79. Hey, can you please tell me where you got the sloka references for each of the ones from Manusmrithi ? I have a copy with the Sanskrit and then immediately below it the English translation. I am not able to find the ones you are referring to accurately. I think few are wrongly cited and also translated.

    For example :
    She who shows disrespect to her husband who is addicted to (some evil) passion, who is a drunkard or diseased, (she) shall be deserted for three months (and be) deprived of her ornaments and furniture.
    -Manusmriti, 4-78

    It is NOT 4-78, it is 9-78.

    Also the translation is :

    “Of a wife who slights her husband for his sickness, or for his addiction to wine or gambling, the husband must forswear the bed for three months, and she must not be allowed to use her beddings and ornaments during that period.”

    The three months is to be interpreted as no sexual indulgence. Again this should not be read in isolation. The husband cannot have sex either outside marriage. Now I can see people claiming he can have sex with another wife, now that again is possible only if he has second wife and the conditions for second wife are again stringent, like if the wife is sterile, the man can marry after 8 years of marriage to another wife, with no son as progeny, 11 years after the marriage to first wife etc. Now keep in mind the life expectancy of a person here at that time.

    Now coming to why such a “punishment”, first of all this is prescribed to avoid domestic disturbance and the duty of the wife to refrom the husband and not to make it unpleasant in the family. I can see a lot of people saying now “Oh a man can drink and have additions and the wife cannot say a thing.” – Here the wife is not supposed to insult him, but reform him. What about people (men) who are bad to their wives ? – The thing is that this sloka is the just the first part. It is a portion of the whole concept. The second part (7-79) which is the continuation of this one says –

    “But a wife failing to nurse an insane, degraded, sexless or seedless husband, or one afflicted with a sinful disease, is not fit to be abandoned by the husband for that hostile conduct nor the things which he might have been presented to her can be taken back from her.”

    This clarifies, that if the husband is bad, the previous sloka doesnot apply.

    I havent made up my mind totally yet, but I see that Manusmrithi is interpreted very badly, that doesnt mean that all that is said in Manusmrithi is to be subscribed to. The fact remains that it is a very antient text and that is to be read keeping in mind the society then.

    What got me into this is the legal principles in Manusmrithi being so mature and have stood the test of time. What did not stand the test of time are the cultural observations/principles for the society has changed drastically and so did the needs of the society.

    I will go through the whole book and may be write a proper review of all the claims above some time

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    • Zingbabu, it is possible that the Manusmriti was written with the aim to be fair to women and to men, but it really did not achieve the aim. I look forward to reading your review, please do share it here when you do that.

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  80. There are people who think that Manusmriti has no influence on day to-day Indian life? :O Now that’s shocking. Of course Manu was one retarded freak. But look how far his vile thoughts have gone in ‘modern’ India. The guy was just plain pathetic – how did he have such a strong hold on Hindu traditions for ages? Shows how skewed Indian tradition has been for ages. Disgusting. Ptooey.

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  82. “Manusmriti (written also as Manusmriti or Manusmruti) (Sanskrit: मनुस्मृति), also known as Mānava-Dharmaśāstra (Sanskrit: मानवधर्मशास्त्र), is the most important and earliest metrical work of the Dharmaśāstra textual tradition of Hinduism” – Wikipedia.

    Given this, it would be childish to say that Manusmriti doesn’t have any impact today. In fact, given the influence of religion on majority of the public, such crap doesn’t help. Or should I say that such crap and the situation of women and the other under-privileged classes are a part of vicious cycle? One of them causes the other and vice-versa.

    PS: And there are people busy justifying crap: http://agniveer.com/manu-smriti-and-women

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  84. The veda mantras are rules and regulations …….girls and women are free thinking crative people……like you……. It would be sub-optimal and stupid to restrict their creativity by teaching them the vedas! Besides, the vedas are extremely difficult to learn… they must also have purity in recitation or else dosha or problem results. The reason for this is that vedas are the essence of thousands of years of research and observation into the workings and ways of man.. We just can”t take any chances with the vedas. So the student who learns it must be pure. I hope I ve made my point clear. If you still argue, you probably dont realize just how difficult it is to learn the vedas…. It requires hours of recitation with perfect intonation for years and years…… I don’t think any woman today would even be intersted in such labour in mugging up verses after verses. …She would deem it boring and useless waste of her time…..and it is. Her talents would be better spent in things like dance,, music , arts ,etc. where she can excel and also has interest..
    PS By this she ensures enjoyment for her husband who gives HER security and her husband learned in the vedas will excel in his profession hence giving security to her hence happiness to himself.
    Men are providers of security so they must learn the vedas, because as they say,,Knowledge is Power! This is my view on the rules Manu has given.

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  85. did you ever consider the posibility that manu smriti might have been adulterated? there is evidence that british tampered with it, even if not its just a law book which can be discrded, our vedic religion has two parts…shruti and smriti. shruti usually describes eternal laws such as immortality of soul, universal onenness of brahman, karma, bhakti etc. it doesnt deal with society or customs. it is eternal and cannot be change. but smriti changes from time to time based on society. there is no way that anceint vedic religoon followers treated women as badly as you claim. we had property rights for women in india, when the english viewed women as property. the indus valley civilization had undeground drainage, universal equality when westreners were savage barbarians. and the verse you gave on gita does not say that. it says the yoga krishna gave can be practised men and women of all profession, not just the learned. remember here that brahmin was just a profession. anyone could be brahmin at that time. didnt valmiki become bramhin? didnt viswamitra? caste was not birth related, though it degenerated later

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  86. Hi, I came across your blog today as i am researching ManuS. I am glad that you wrote it. I have read MS many a times and have got many translation from different people. Buhler is one which i usually quote. If you have read all the 12 chapters i am sure you must have gone thru the stuff which is written for the fourth Varna ( single born)- Shudras. I wish you had written something about them also as the things said about them are way too derogatory and criminal. If you have in another blog, please pardon me i haven’t read it but that not the point here. I wanted to share a few things with you. While i was researching the over all concept behind it and the way it was implemented i came across a few things, which i want to share:

    1. You will never find any text fully explaining how and when it will be implemented or was implemented and who took care of the administrative part of it. Was it King or the first Varna.

    2. I could not find a single good discussion on the Subject of Manusmriti where people are discussing and concluding on something. You will always find groups in Isolation either discarding it or siding with it. People who say thats not possible or this did not mean this or try defending it are either lying and hiding behind the cover of misinterpretation or haven’t read it at all, might have heard it from some where. The point here is the society is still living on the heap of filth and is not ready to discuss it. Nor our media nor we. You may ask why do we even need to discuss it i dont follow it so why bother, i asked the same question to myself, Here’s my answer in the next point:

    3. Though almost no body follows it( as everyone says) in all its entirety and most haven’t even read it but if you compare the society with the written text it absolutely reflects it in the exact same manner and here are my arguments:
    a. Women are still considered inferior to men. Look at the statistics around you and across india. They are killed in the wombs, are not given the part of the estate ( constitution might permit but society doesn’t). They cannot do the last rite’s. They cannot recite Vedas. They are considered impure on certain days, in majority homes their opinion doesn’t matter, Men can do anything but a women with liberal view point ( about society, Sexuality etc..) is treated with bad words, 70% of women in india do the household chores and are not the earning members so as the text says Guided women or dependents……and i can go on and on and on. Now i want you to compare it with the MS text and you will find that every thing written is absolutely being reflected except anyone even realizing it or accepting it.

    b. Come to the other part of Shudras ( fourth Varna)- This was as mentioned in MS was created to service the Brahmana, they should not be considered equal to the first three varnas, they should not even hear the recitation of Vedas. Should be punished every now and then for trivial reasons like sitting on the same level as a Brahmana etc..Shudras cannot collect wealth or have property etc..etc….. Now just compare it to the present society. 100 % of the people doing menial jobs are from this Varna, They are subjected to the most number of atrocities in India ( As per the govt. statistics). Majority of them are uneducated and majority are still below poverty line so on and so forth…..

    My point is that do you think it is natural? I dont think so. We knowingly or unknowingly are following the same law of MS from ages and still continuing. Otherwise such big populations ( Women and Shudras) cannot be subjected to the worst kind of behavior by just coincidence. And the worst part is that we dont even discuss it in our so called civilized society. No main stream media ever questions the status quo…. I feel bad for the oppressed but i feel more bad for the people who consciously or unconsciously doing it and not even ready to discuss it as oppressed ones know they are oppressed and more aware of the present situation but the oppressor doesn’t even know they are doing it. They are the real unintelligent and rotten people who are sleeping on the heap of filth called discrimination. Sorry i am using harsh words but i am angry and i think everyone should be but more than angry I am ashamed.

    Note: If someone has a question that why I am ashamed please ignore this note, this was not for you.

    Regards
    Rohin

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    • There is this documentary called ‘Izzatnagar ki asabhya betiyan’ where the Khap leaders can be seen quoting directly from Manusmriti – so it seems there are atleast some who are aware that they are following the Manusmriti.

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    • The negatives in Indian society now are being sanctioned by MS. So our stand is that there is no point in celebrating such works as MS. There is another smriti called Parasara Smriti. This is half as bad as MS.

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