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Women In The Sacred Laws
Kulapati's Preface The Author
Foreword Prologue
The Dharma Sutras Contemporary Evidence
The Manu - Samhita The Later Law-Books
Digest On Hindu Law Espirit Des Lois
Major Sections

ESPRIT DES LOIS

It may now be asked at the end of our survey, what was the spirit of the laws? Were they meant to crush woman-hood to nothingness or were they framed to give greater protection and safety to woman in the changing times. The motive justifies the end: to commit murder is a crime, but when it is done for self-defence or to save an unfortunate innocent victim, it amounts to a virtue.

True it is that anyone who has witnessed the pathetic condition of women in India at the dawn of British rule cannot but be shocked at it: the enforced child-marriages, the exposure of female children, putting to death female children by throwing them at the junction of the Ganges and the sea, the violence used to make women follow the Sati rite and thus end their miserable existence, the shameful treatment accorded to a widow, the famous kulinism which made marriage a profession rather than a sacrament, made woman not only an object of pity but many a woman sighed in the secret recess of her heart and wished that she had never been born a woman in this unfortunate country.

But were the laws to blame for this state of affairs or the customs of the time? The later commentators while sanctioning a particular custom peculiar to their age, used all the force of their argument and ingenuity of scholarship in reconciling the new with the old. They had always to revert to the Vedas and even modify the words of the sacred texts for enforcing the new law. A glaring instance is the Sati rite. When this was sanctioned by law the authors got the highest sanction of the Rig-Veda (X. 18), the only hymn which describes the, disposal of the dead.

Kaegi has clearly mentioned how it happened: " The well-known custom of burning of widows for thousands of years demanded by the Brahmins-is nowhere evidenced in the Rig-Veda; only by palpable falsification of a hymn has the existence of the custom been forcibly put into the texts which, on the contrary, prove directly the opposite-- the return of the widow from her husband's corpse into a happy life and her re-marriage". 1 this is just an example of the gross injustice done to our traditional and authoritative texts!

Back ] Women In The Sacred Laws ]

Women In The Sacred Laws
About Esprit Des Lois
You are Here! Page1
Page2
Page3
Inscriptional evidence..  Pg.1
Inscriptional evidence..  marriages: Pg.2
Inter-racial marriages Pg.1
Inter-racial..  Pg.2
Inter-racial..  Pg.3
Inter-racial..  Pg.4
Inter-racial..  Pg.5
Inter-racial..  Pg.6
Inter-racial..  Pg.7
Inter-racial..  Pg.8
Inter-racial..  Pg.9
Inter-racial..  Pg.10
Inter-racial..  Pg.11
Inter-racial..  Pg.12
Inter-racial..  Pg.13
Inter-racial..  Pg.14
Inter-racial..  Pg.15
Inter-racial..  Pg.16
Notes

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