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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


It must not be forgotten that the authors of later Smriti and commentaries were not entirely responsible for the new changes. Times changed and with it the requirements of society. The fifth century B.C. saw the birth of Buddhism, which influenced the laws of the time to some extent. The equality of status and the freedom given to a woman demoralized the general condition of society as we find it pictured in the Jatakas.

Hence Apastamba and others of his time had to make more rigorous laws for women. During the early centuries of the Christian Era hordes of foreign tribes poured into India through the North-western gates and to give greater protection to women from the foreigners, still more rigorous laws were framed and a woman was placed under the protection of man in all the stages of her life. Laws had to be revised; ordeals by fire which are immortalized in the Ramayana to prove the purity of a person were first codified in the Vishnu and Narada Smriti ascribed to the fourth century A.D.

The tenth and eleventh centuries saw the advent and later the firm establishment of Mohammedans in this Country. When Hindu culture came into clash with a culture far different from its own, the leaders of society began to frame rules and laws to safeguard their interest -specially the position of women. Rigorous restrictions were imposed on them. But even while restricting the freedom, the law-givers, did not forget to make provision to welcome the abducted women back to their homes !

We find at this stage child marriage, firmly enforced. The death of a widow was preferred to her falling into evil hands. Hence self immolation of a widow was enjoined by the law codes giving the unfortunate victim the hope of heavenly bliss. Such and several other customs were introduced which curbed the freedom of woman to a very large extent. This was done perhaps to save her from the foreigners and to preserve the purity of the race.

Women In The Sacred Laws ] Up ] Next ]

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

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