Women In Manusmriti

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Depiction of women, whether it is in the Manusmriti or the modern time law both depict women in a negative light at most times. The law makers of the country lay down gender roles justifying it as a tradition which are in most cases quite misogynistic. It is a social tool used by fundamentalists. Many modern day feminists support the portrayal of women in Manusmriti saying that women have been treated well and been given respect by Manu. From ancient times the portrayal of women has been different varying due to the caste system, though overall it was slightly similar. Manusmriti, translated "Laws of Manu" or "Institutions of Manu," is the most important and authoritative Hindu Law Book (Dharmashastra), which served as an initial work…show more content…
Since ancient times, our country has followed the patriarchal system. Manusmriti works on the same grounds. It was written by people who wanted to preserve the patriarchal culture and was read and interpreted by the same set of people. Women in those days were not allowed to read or hear the scriptures. They did not know what rules were being laid down for them. The women learnt the scriptures through these Brahmin men of the society. And that is why the Manusmriti can be interpreted in two different ways. The conservatives use it to justify the subjugation of women and the liberals quote it as an example to bring out the injustice done towards women. Quoting Dr. Ambedkar from his article “The Rise and Fall of Hindu Women”, he argues that Hindu religion through its religious texts, such as the Manusmriti always degraded women. He thought of Manusmriti as a text which was anti-women and anti-Dalit text, where women and Dalits are degraded. Hindu scriptures like Ramayana & Mahabharata have women characters who are bold in their ways like Draupadi, Kaikeyi, even Sita for that matter and her decision to go back to mother Earth instead of giving a test of purity are instances where the woman is not agreeing to the norm laid by the society. This sort of portrayal is not given emphasis by our preachers. The character of Kaikeyi is not given any importance as she is a woman of ambition, same for Draupadi. Emphasis will only be laid on the submissive woman/wife of the house who obeys the orders of her husband. Even in case of Sita, the instance when she refuses to give the test of purity is omitted from many new versions of Ramayana. Supporting this example from Manusmriti I would
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