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ManuSmriti – My Take

Going by the chaos created by few politicians who are misinterpreting Manusmriti, i am submitting this piece. 
Evaluation:
  • Manu Smriti was written a very long time ago when other civilizations lacked even basic civility, rights, etc. Compared to other prevailing social thought at its time, the work is progressive in many ways
  • On has to evaluate this in an objective manner and for that one has to look at it holistically and not cherry pick what we all agree is wrong. Have you done this analysis? Any assessment must be broad and fair, not surgical
  • It DOES have problems as well, such as the verses being picked out by those using it as a Hinduphobic weapon – it is far from perfect.
  • Would you please care to compare its social thought in its entirety with other ancient works to get a fair assessment for its epoch in history?
ManuSmriti is not Indian Law:
  • I am unaware of any legal jurisdiction where Manusmriti is the law being enforced; If so, please share
  • Nor I am aware of any time in ancient India where Manu Smriti was enforced as the official State Law
  • Can any tell me how many of Hindu households have a copy of Manusmriti, read it and practice in their daily life?
  • Manu Smriti was a work used to argue and debate social theories, alongside numerous other social theories and points of view
  • Its existence was falsely assumed by colonial scholars as a canonical “law” of the Hindus. It is not Hindu “law”, and never was
Caste System:
  • Caste as we know today is a product of colonial racism; They blamed it on Manu
  • A jati was a multi-varna group consisting of its own priests, business and political leaders, and its own low social demographic people
  • Manusmriti only classified Varnas based on the deeds just as hierarchy is designed in an organisation
  • Indian Constitution, foolishly, turned it into law. The Constitution is colonized in its approaches on many matters (after all, we copied it)
Conclusion:
  • Caste is now a corrupted institution. This is getting worse as a device for political exploitation of the masses, with blame being placed on Hinduism or “Indian culture” – Reservation is a tool to woo votes and divide Hindus perennially
  • Caste must be abolished
  • All those below a certain level of income and other factors like physical handicap, should be placed in a status for special assistance
  • RSS and most modern Hindu guru movements do NOT practice caste differentiation at all
  • Manu himself says that his smriti is amendable ad must be applied in the context of time, place and situation; and not a history-centric absolute like the “holy books” of several faiths
  • Finally, please note that Manu Smriti is not considered by Hindus to be “God’s commands” by any stretch of imagination, nor was it treated as such in the past. It is a smriti, making it a human work and subject to rejection, amendment, debate, etc. – like any work of intellectual freedom today

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Gopalakrishnan Narasimhan

Common man
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Navneet Bakshi
Navneet Bakshi
1 year ago

First of all as you have said, Manu smriti is not It is not a gospel or the bible of the Hindus or even any of the main books as Vedas. By that stretch of imagination even Kamasutra should be called a religious treatise. As I have mentioned in the comment to this post in Face Book that both Maharishi Vedyas and Maharishi Vakmiki were Dalits. So, the argument about as to what they were seen as or what they could do in the society, should end there. Casteism and class differentiation exists in every society. It is worse in Britain. If you look at the way they for centuries in the past and their descendants till today, feel superiority on the grounds of fairer skin colour, they have no moral right to criticize Hinduism for it. People who have to criticize will always do that. They won’t even read what you have written. In any case, it is true that ours is a caste based society and the people don’t want to make any compromise, but at least it should not used as a weapon by the state to further divide the people and create animosity between them, but for the vote bank politics, we know caste equations are the key factors, so I don’t see thing improving for long time to come.

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