While the Mitakshara is adopted in all parts of India as authoritative,
the Dayabhaga and other commentaries of the Bengal school reverted to an older source,
viz, Katyayana and Yajnavalkya , though instances of their-agreement with the Mitakshara
law are not wanting. The connecting link between the Mitakshara and Dayabhaga
law, as Prof.
Jolly has pointed out, has been lost and, when the commentators of
Bengal wrote their
expositions of the texts, they often protested against the Mitakshara law, though they
conformed to the injunctions of Yajnavalkya and Katyayana, and in course of time
proved themselves formidable rivals to the Benares school.
The South maintained an unbroken tradition of Vedic culture, and hence
the books and commentaries of the South came to be considered as the most authoritative
treatises and were accordingly adopted all over India. The position of woman, as gathered
from these commentaries, is pitiable. Many of the older institutions, giving woman
greater freedom in society, are now abolished; and in their place child- marriage,
polygamy, Sati rite, seclusion of women and such customs that helped to stagnate the life
of a woman came into force. She had, however, some right over the Stridhana;
find the commentators trying to restrict its value as far as they possibly could.
Katyayana limits a woman is property to 2,000 annas only.
Finally, it can safely be asserted that, though the commentators
claimed to base their rules and laws on the Sruti, and maintained that their expositions
were in accordance with the Vedic injunctions, we can clearly see how much they diverged
from the old texts and laws, The woman of the age of the commentaries is the product of a
mixed civilization, in which the Aryan, the Semitic, the Mongolian and the Dravidian
cultures are blended together.